ANZAC: Two Essays
Why is Gallipoli Worthy of Commemoration 100 years after the event?
What does Gallipoli mean to Australia today?
By Kate Thomson
One hundred years ago, on the 25thof April, 1915, the men of the Australian Imperial
Force landed at what was to become known as Anzac Cove. At one a.m. they were
woken, for many they ate a last meal then slipped quietly onto ‘tows' which would
carry them to shore. Some would fall before they could even reach land, shot while
sitting huddled on those low boats. Others would fall wounded or stumble over sea
washed boulders or the bodies of their fallen comrades. The weight of their uniforms
and weapons would drag them down to join "the carpet of dead men who had been
shot getting out of the boats." These men would come to be known as the ANZACS,
men from Australia and New Zealand, many of whom would lay down their lives in a
foreign land half a world away from home. Australia was seen at the time to be a
young nation, an English colony which had begun life as a penal settlement. The
people of that colony had withstood drought and famine, flood and hardship and had
developed tenacity, ingenuity, independence and the beginnings of pride. They rushed
to the call of ‘The Motherland.'
In August 1914 the requirements for enlistment were that men be between 18 and 35
years of age. They should be no less than 5 foot 6 and have a chest measurement of 34
inches. By June 1915 age requirements were 18 to 45 years and height 5 foot 2. By
April 1917 the minimum height was lowered to 5 foot. So keen were Australians to
prove their loyalty that many boys put up their age to enlist. James Charles (Jim)
Martin was 14 years and 3 months old when he enlisted and had not turned 15 when
he died on the hospital ship, The Glenart Castle on the 25thof October.
A "tough, northern NSW canecutter" named Joseph Stafford was the first man to
reach shore at Anzac Cove. He struggled onto the beach, charged a Turkish machine
gun and bayoneted two Turks before falling over them, "riddled with bullets."
The words of Philip Schuler express his sense of pride and comradeship with his
Anzac brothers. "In one day_ 25thApril_ Australia attained nationhood by the
heroism of her noble sons." He was even able to admire the courage of the Turkish
forces. "The Turks showed a desperate courage; for this attack on the Nek was but
sending troops to certain destruction; yet the men never flinched."
Is there an Australian who has not heard of the bravery and self sacrifice of Corporal
John Simpson Kirkpatrick, the ‘man with the donkey?' He would, "Sing and whistle,
seeming to ignore the bullets flying through the air, while he tended to his comrades."
On May the 19th1915, Simpson was struck by machine gun fire and died during the
third attack on Anzac Cove.
One of the greatest successes of Gallipoli was in the withdrawal of the troops. The
ingenuity of Lance Corporal William Charles Scurry of the 7thBattalion, AIF with
help from Private A H Lawrence saw the construction of the drip or pop off rifle.
Through the use of kerosene tins, string and in some cases candles, rifles were
arranged to fire sporadically, convincing the Turkish force that the Anzac frontline
was still occupied. This allowed some 80,000 men to evacuate with only a very few
The Gallipoli campaign was considered by many to be a disaster. 8,709 men never
returned to their loved ones. There were 17,924 Australian casualties. It is not the
glory of war that Australians commemorate. When Australians hear the word
Gallipoli or the acronym ANZAC we associate them with the qualities of bravery,
loyalty, endurance, self sacrifice, compassion and mateship that the men and women
of that campaign have become known for.
Australia's Defence Force has a proud tradition of carrying on these qualities and the
tradition of the ANZACS. I have witnessed first hand my brother's Marching Out
Parade at Kapooka. The boy I grew up with came back this Christmas as a man. He
knows he will be expected to lay down his life in defence of his country if that is what
is needed. The Defence Force is giving him the skills to defend innocents, to combat
evil, to ease pain and address injury. I know how proud he is to be carrying on the
ANZAC tradition. I think Gallipoli today has become synonymous with the qualities
of bravery, endurance, loyalty, sacrifice and compassion. I think that what the
Gallipoli campaign means to Australia is respect.
‘Why is Gallipoli worthy of commemoration one hundred years after the event? What does Gallipoli mean to Australians today?
100 years, a century, a lifetime ago, Australia landed on the shores of Gallipoli.
This landing, a mistake and a horror is still commemorated today, because even though they were defeated, the fact that they found the bravery and courage to keep going, even when all hope was lost, saw these men create the essence of Australia- of who we are today.
World War 1 began in August of 1914 and ended in November 1918. 16 million lives were sadly cut short, and 21 million more were injured, which is why it is known as ‘The Great War', due to its vast scale and the shockingly large toll on the lives of the people who were affected.
It was during this war that the story of the ANZACS- short for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, who fought at Gallipoli on April 25th, 1915, became an inspiration.
100 years on, that is why we continue to remember the selfless and courageous actions of others, some of whom paid the ultimate price.
Why is Gallipoli worthy of commemoration one hundred years after the event?
Because it still teaches, inspires and most importantly, gives us the responsibility to pass this story on in order for the memory of Gallipoli to live on in the hearts and minds of every new generation.
Remembering and acknowledging the soldiers is just as important now, as it was 100 years ago.
Gallipoli is worthy of commemoration one hundred years after the event because Gallipoli teaches us to have gratitude today, in our own lives. This gratitude is for those that gave their lives for the benefit of others.
Gratitude for me, as a teenager, is being grateful for what I have. It is an understanding that the world does not revolve around me.
I am grateful to the ANZACS for the rights and freedoms that I now have, and enjoy, as a citizen of a free and democratic country. I have the freedom to think, act, speak and go anywhere I want.
As a 13 year old girl, I have the right to get an education, the right to vote and the right to choose a career of my choice.
This is not the case for some girls in other parts of the world.
We owe a time of recognition- a moment of commemoration and gratitude for our safe and democratic society.
Therefore, Gallipoli is important to Australians today because of its ability to teach gratitude to every new generation.
Gallipoli is worthy of commemoration one hundred years after the event because Gallipoli inspires us to be brave and find courage in our own lives, actions and attitudes today.
Can we imagine what it would have been like to land on the beach at Gallipoli? Can we imagine bodies littering the trenches around us? Can we imagine wet feet, infected with gangrene? How brave the soldiers must have been.
Bravery for you and I today might be about finding courage to overcome nerves in presenting a speech, challenging a bully, or standing up to an issue in your community, such as domestic violence.
Rosie Batty, Australian of the Year for 2015, is recognised today because she bravely stood up against domestic violence following the tragic loss of her son in 2014. Her award shows that bravery and courage are equally important to Australians today.
In recognising the courage of the ANZACS in the past, we are able to stand up and find courage in our own lives now. Therefore, Gallipoli is important to Australians today because of its ability to inspire courage to every new generation.
Gallipoli is worthy of commemoration one hundred years after the event because the courage shown by the soldiers lives on in the hearts and minds of all Australians, even after 100 years have passed.
It is our responsibility to pass on the memory of Gallipoli.
This memory must live on in our hearts and minds, because it commemorates the soldiers' selfless actions during the eight month campaign.
It would be wrong to no longer acknowledge the courage shown.
In my family, I remember Hugh Kerr Burns, Albert Carl Cameron and William James Howell. My three great grandfathers fought in World War 1, at the age of 18 through to age 41. Their trades were plumbing, carpentry and farming. They lived from Binnaburra, NSW, to Yambuk, Port Fairy, Victoria.
They were three ordinary men who left behind their precious loved ones to protect the future.
This future in which I now live.
Luckily they all came home. I have never met them.
As their great granddaughter, I feel it is my responsibility to commemorate them. Their memory must live on. It would be wrong to forget. It is important to my family, and our nation's memory that they are not forgotten.
Today, my great grandfathers are kept in my heart and my mind. Anzac Day helps you and I to recall what others selflessly gave up for us in the past, so that we could have this future.
Gallipoli is important to Australians today because of its ability to pass on the responsibility of commemoration, in our family, and as a nation.
In conclusion, World War 1 is an important reminder to us all of the courage, bravery and selflessness of the ANZAC soldiers.
To quote author Sophie Mason in her novel, ‘Australian Story- My Fathers War': ‘Commemoration is not just about remembering the past, it is a living tie.'
We are given a chance to reflect on how we are all tied to Gallilpoli today as individuals, and as a whole nation.
We are tied to the importance of having gratitude in our lives because of the actions of others. We are tied to the importance of being brave and standing up for what we believe in, and, we are tied to the importance of memory and the legacy of our individual families and their role in the First World War.
Lest we forget.
Colbie Cameron – Year 8/Age 13