I attended one of a number of ANZAC Day ceremonies being held this morning around Ballarat ( Refer photos) ANZAC stands for The Australian New Zealand Army Corp. During the First World War Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an allied (British and French) invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. The object of the invasion was to capture Constantinople and drive Turkey out of the war freeing up the Bosphorus so that the western allies could support Russia and Serbia and encourage Romania to enter the war on the allied side. The invasion was a disaster. it was poorly planned and executed. the Turks fought stubbornly and after over a year of stalemate the allies withdrew. Turkey remained an ally of Germany until the end of the war and Australian soldiers went on to fight on the western front and Palestine. Gallipoli as it is called in Australia and New Zealand was seen at the time as the 'coming of age' of our two countries at a time when the human sacrifice made on the battlefields equated with national pride.
Today ANZAC Day ( which is a public holiday in Australia and New Zealand) is honoured as a day when we can reflect on the sacrifice that Australian's made to protect our families and our country since that first expedition of police were sent to the Maori Wars in the 1840s and NSW artillery went to Sudan in the 1880s to defend the 'Empire'. ANZAC Day went out of favour for a while when people began to doubt its relevance and feared that it was becoming a day for glorifying war.( especially during the Vietnam War ) but today it is generally seen as a day of genuine reflection, an opportunity to 'connect' when distant family members and a chance to give thanks that we live in a free and democratic society.
Since the last of those original diggers ( The landings took place at dawn on April 25th 1915) died ceremonies have encompassed other wars including Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the equivalent of the US Veterans Day although we also honour Armistice Day but we call it Remembrance Day on November 11th.
I usually use ANZAC Day to study not so much the Gallipoli landings at school but to look at other aspects of Australia's involvement in war ( The Australian Navy, the Japanese bombing of Darwin, Australian involvement in the Korean War and the role of peace keepers.) but this year I have decided to do a unit of work on Remembrance Day instead. ( I will post that later in the year)
My son is one of the captains of Ballarat High School and he was involved in a wreath laying ceremony ( pictured below) at the entrance to Ballarat's Avenue of Honour this morning.