Ashlea Carr
Mount Barker High School
Winner – South Australia

‘We Will Remember Them’

How and why have Australians commemorated the ANZAC experience?

Every Year thousands of people of all ages come together on ANZAC Day and at War Memorials to commemorate the ANZAC Experience. Over the last 87 years the significance of commemorating Australia’s war-dead has changed many times, which has influenced the way that Australians have observed ANZAC Day and paying tribute to the men and women, who have helped shape Australia as a nation. ANZAC Day and the thousands of war memorials across Australia are important to many different people for a multitude of different reasons. For some people it is a day or a place to remember fallen relatives, for others it is a tradition that spans back through generations and for others it is just a desire to understand what the ANZAC’S did and why they play such an important part in Australia’s heritage and our history.

In the 1920’s ANZAC Day was growing because "The huge loss of life meant that most Australians were directly affected by the war" . Australians wanted to pay tribute to what their Brothers, Fathers, Sons and Uncles had achieved during WWI, while the effects of the war were so evident amongst the community. Ceremonies continued to grow during the 1930’s and 1940’s, with returned veterans from WWII joining the marches . However, during the Vietnam War public support fell to an all time low as people started to "question the relevance of ANZAC Day" . The play by Alan Seymour "The One Day of the Year" written in 1959, "conveyed the essential hollowness of the ANZAC Day maunderings" . Many people had decided that there was "no glory in war" and were no longer wanting to commemorate a day that was seen as the "same old clichés in the papers year after year" , as written in the play "The One Day of the Year".

The 75th anniversary of the landing marked the revival of ANZAC Day. The values that the ANZACS had fought so hard to keep alive were stimulated to create a mass revitalization of this special day. For the first time in years the ANZACS were recognised as "national treasures" . From small town to big city the outcome was the same, commemorating the soldiers that had died and the ones that were still alive, was back in fashion. Evidence of this can be seen in many places especially in Meadows (South Australia) where, on the 75th anniversary of the landing they held the first ANZAC Day service to take place in the small country town since 1976. Another turning point in the way ANZAC Day was viewed was when the government sent the remaining 50 Gallipoli veterans on a voyage of closure, back to the place where they lost so many of their mates and brothers . It was a moving journey, covered widely by the media, which made the ANZAC story accessible to everybody. A lot more people were trying to get involved in remembering the soldiers. People wanted to find out what happened and how it has affected the way they live today. This combined with the thirst to learn about our heritage has created a nationwide understanding of how important ANZAC Day is to our history and future. By 1999 the ANZAC Spirit was running high yet again and Alan Seymour acknowledged that he had "felt a squirm of embarrassment" on seeing his 1959 comments . People have realised that it is "no longer fashionable to mock returned soldiers and the memories they honour" this is just one example of how public opinion has influenced how and why a day like ANZAC Day is commemorated .

ANZAC Day is not the only way that Australians honour the ANZAC Experience. The ANZAC Experience is remembered across Australia through memorials, honour rolls, and commemorative buildings and there are ‘Avenues of Honour’ all over Australia. One of the most visited Avenues is in Port Arthur, Tasmania. There were originally 3,900 trees planted - one for every soldier, sailor and nurse who served in WWI from the town. The Avenue, opened in 1918 also has an inscription cut out of a granite slab at the beginning of the walkway. It reads: "All ye who tread this Avenue of Life, Remember those who bowed beneath the strife, Each leaf a laurel, crowns with deathless fame, And every tree reveals a hero’s name" . An unusual memorial is ‘ANZAC Cottage’ which is located in Mount Hawthorn, Western Australia. The cottage was constructed by the community for wounded veteran, C J Porter who was wounded in the Gallipoli landing. Mr and Mrs Porter were handed the keys on the 16th of April 1916. In order to retain the house Mr Porter agreed to raise an Australian flag on the flagpole outside of his cottage, on April the 25th at 4:30am every year. The ‘ANZAC Cottage committee’ and the ‘Vietnam Veterans Association of WA’ recently restored the cottage .

With powerful verses like "So now every April I sit on my porch, And watch the parade pass before me, I see my old comrades, How proudly they march, Reliving past days of glory" , the song "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" sounds like the perfect song for Australians to use as one of their unofficial ‘wartime anthems’. This song lifts people spirits, helps them to remember a time long ago and inspires them to do their best. Ironically, this song is one of the most powerful anti-war songs ever written. The song "And the band played Waltzing Matilda’ was written in 1971 by Scottish migrant, Eric Bogle. After purchasing a 12-volume set of WWI illustrated he found that he had an interest in WWI and the Anzac’s. He wrote the song to display the stupidity of war and to inspire people to take a stance against war. This is evident when he sings " I see the old men all twisted and torn, the tired old heroes of a forgotten war, and the young people ask me ‘what are they marching for?’, and I ask myself the same question" or when he sings "Year after year, their numbers get fewer, someday no-one will march their at all" . Yet, people still draw inspiration from these sombre words and they use it to commemorate the war, the men and women that died in it and to signify how important the war is to Australians and our history.

ANZAC Day has had a long journey, from the small crowds at services in the earlier years, the two backpackers at the dawn service at ANZAC Cove in 1975 and to today where there are thousands upon thousands making the journey to ANZAC Cove to commemorate the enormous loss of life but also the birth of a nation. Although why we commemorate this special day will probably change, how we commemorate it should always stay the same. Whether it is a visit to the local war memorial once a year or becoming one of the thousands of people at the marches and ceremonies across the country we should always be there reminding people what the day is about and paying tribute to Australia’s first heroes.

"Lest we forget"

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The subsequent Primary sources and Secondary text played a major part in the formation of my essay and are footnoted throughout my research essay.

Primary Sources
Interviews

1) Interview with Graeme Beveridge, Australian War Memorial- 24/06/2002

This interview was very informative and interesting. Unfortunately I could only use one quote within my essay but the interview was filled with fascinating information and quotes.

2) Interview with Rob Fitzgerald, Department of Veterans Affairs- 23/05/2002

Rob Fitzgerald had a very interesting point-of-view on where the future of ANZAC Day lies and also knew a lot about ANZAC Day. Regrettably I could only use a small part of the information he gave me, within my essay.

Newspaper Articles

1) "ANZAC Day: An unfinished story" The Age, April 23rd 2002

This article was perfect for demonstrating how much public opinion can change the way a sacred day like ANZAC Day is viewed. Within the article the playwright, Alan Seymour acknowledges how much the day has changed over the last 50 years, this made for a very interesting interview and made it easy for me to include in my research essay.

2) "Editorial Opinion" – The Courier Wednesday 25th, 1990- page 2

This Editorial opinion was very interesting as it raised many questions with thought provoking statements. I was only able to use one quote from the article, as a lot of the content didn’t really fit in with the question.

3) "Plaque Unveiled"- The Courier, Wednesday April 21st 1990- Pg 3

I liked this article because it was well written and had a lot of information in it; I used some of the information to back up a point.

Play

1) "The one day of the year" Alan Seymour

This play was an excellent source as it clearly showed how ANZAC Day was viewed at the time. It had a lot of quotes that showed how the public were reacting to it at the time and combined with the 1999 article, ANZAC Day: An Unfinished Story it is an excellent source that shows the change the commemoration of the ANZAC Experience over the last 50 years.

Video

1) "10 Days of Glory" 1990

This video was great because it clearly showed the turn in public opinion that happened when the remaining 50 veterans were sent back to Gallipoli. It also gave a very good account of the actual journey and the way that it made the veterans feel.

Song

1) "And the Band played Waltzing Matilda"- Eric Bogle

This song was definitely one of my most powerful sources. It plays such an important part in the way that Australians commemorate the ANZAC Experience and it is also one of the most commanding Australian anti-war songs ever written. I used some of the Lyrics of the song to demonstrate the ‘two-sides’ to this song.

Ode

1) "Ode to the Fallen" O L Binyon

In relation to commemorating wartime experiences the three words "lest we forget" are probably the three most well known words. That is why I felt that it was important for these words to be in my essay.

Letter

1) Letter From Patrick Walters, "The Australian"- Great nephew of Carew

Reynell (killed in WW1)

This letter is another source that displayed the ‘slump’ in commemorating the ANZAC experience.

Secondary Sources
Leaflet/ Pamphlet

1) The significance of ANZAC Day- Australian War Memorial

This source offered a quote and general information about the rise and decline of ANZAC Day.

Booklet

1) Memories and Memorabilia- Published by the National War Memorial 2001

This book was incredibly helpful. It gave me a lot more information than I could possibly use in my essay. There was a little bit on ANZAC Day but what I mainly used was the information on War Memorials, across Australia.

Background Sources

Although they are not footnoted throughout my essay the following sources were helpful when forming opinions about the commemoration of the ANZAC Experience, they were also filled with information that either wouldn’t fit in my essay or didn’t fit in with the question.

Video

1) ‘Australians at War- Faith enough for all of us’ Episode 8, Directed by Geoff Burton

This video would have been a great source but unfortunately I couldn’t fit any of the information into the essay. It had a lot of information about the art that was produced of and during war and other creative works like poems and songs.

Book

1) ‘Studies of Society and Environment’ issue 1/2000, Ryebuck media Pty Ltd

2000, pg 7-11

This book had a lot of information about the Gallipoli campaign which I read so that I could understand what the ANZAC’S achieved in Gallipoli.

Newspaper Article

1) ‘ANZAC Day is getting younger’ The post, May 25th 2002

This was helpful when justifying why Australians commemorate the ANZAC Experience. It as showed the rise in the numbers of young people attending the services and visiting then war memorials.

The 75th anniversary of the landing marked the revival of ANZAC Day. The values that the ANZACS had fought so hard to keep alive were stimulated to create a mass revitalization of this special day. For the first time in years the ANZACS were recognised as "national treasures" . From small town to big city the outcome was the same, commemorating the soldiers that had died and the ones that were still alive, was back in fashion. Evidence of this can be seen in many places especially in Meadows (South Australia) where, on the 75th anniversary of the landing they held the first ANZAC Day service to take place in the small country town since 1976. Another turning point in the way ANZAC Day was viewed was when the government sent the remaining 50 Gallipoli veterans on a voyage of closure, back to the place where they lost so many of their mates and brothers . It was a moving journey, covered widely by the media, which made the ANZAC story accessible to everybody. A lot more people were trying to get involved in remembering the soldiers. People wanted to find out what happened and how it has affected the way they live today. This combined with the thirst to learn about our heritage has created a nationwide understanding of how important ANZAC Day is to our history and future. By 1999 the ANZAC Spirit was running high yet again and Alan Seymour acknowledged that he had "felt a squirm of embarrassment" on seeing his 1959 comments . People have realised that it is "no longer fashionable to mock returned soldiers and the memories they honour" this is just one example of how public opinion has influenced how and why a day like ANZAC Day is commemorated .

ANZAC Day is not the only way that Australians honour the ANZAC Experience. The ANZAC Experience is remembered across Australia through memorials, honour rolls, and commemorative buildings and there are ‘Avenues of Honour’ all over Australia. One of the most visited Avenues is in Port Arthur, Tasmania. There were originally 3,900 trees planted - one for every soldier, sailor and nurse who served in WWI from the town. The Avenue, opened in 1918 also has an inscription cut out of a granite slab at the beginning of the walkway. It reads: "All ye who tread this Avenue of Life, Remember those who bowed beneath the strife, Each leaf a laurel, crowns with deathless fame, And every tree reveals a hero’s name" . An unusual memorial is ‘ANZAC Cottage’ which is located in Mount Hawthorn, Western Australia. The cottage was constructed by the community for wounded veteran, C J Porter who was wounded in the Gallipoli landing. Mr and Mrs Porter were handed the keys on the 16th of April 1916. In order to retain the house Mr Porter agreed to raise an Australian flag on the flagpole outside of his cottage, on April the 25th at 4:30am every year. The ‘ANZAC Cottage committee’ and the ‘Vietnam Veterans Association of WA’ recently restored the cottage .

With powerful verses like "So now every April I sit on my porch, And watch the parade pass before me, I see my old comrades, How proudly they march, Reliving past days of glory" , the song "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" sounds like the perfect song for Australians to use as one of their unofficial ‘wartime anthems’. This song lifts people spirits, helps them to remember a time long ago and inspires them to do their best. Ironically, this song is one of the most powerful anti-war songs ever written. The song "And the band played Waltzing Matilda’ was written in 1971 by Scottish migrant, Eric Bogle. After purchasing a 12-volume set of WWI illustrated he found that he had an interest in WWI and the Anzac’s. He wrote the song to display the stupidity of war and to inspire people to take a stance against war. This is evident when he sings " I see the old men all twisted and torn, the tired old heroes of a forgotten war, and the young people ask me ‘what are they marching for?’, and I ask myself the same question" or when he sings "Year after year, their numbers get fewer, someday no-one will march their at all" . Yet, people still draw inspiration from these sombre words and they use it to commemorate the war, the men and women that died in it and to signify how important the war is to Australians and our history.

ANZAC Day has had a long journey, from the small crowds at services in the earlier years, the two backpackers at the dawn service at ANZAC Cove in 1975 and to today where there are thousands upon thousands making the journey to ANZAC Cove to commemorate the enormous loss of life but also the birth of a nation. Although why we commemorate this special day will probably change, how we commemorate it should always stay the same. Whether it is a visit to the local war memorial once a year or becoming one of the thousands of people at the marches and ceremonies across the country we should always be there reminding people what the day is about and paying tribute to Australia’s first heroes.

"Lest we forget"

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