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Posts tagged ‘ANZAC’

Canberra: Remembering Gallipoli at the Atatürk Memorial Garden

In Canada, places like Ypres, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, and Flanders Field resonate in the collective national history.

For Australia and New Zealand, it is Gallipoli, known in modern Turkish history as the battle of Çanakkale.

On 25 April 1915, Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) troops stormed the Turkish Gallipoli peninsula in support of the British Empire’s efforts to secure the high ground over the narrow Dardanelles strait and approach from the eastern Mediterranean into the Sea of Marmara and beyond to the Black Sea. The Turks repelled the advance and the British retreated from the region eight months later after suffering great losses. In total on all sides, there were up to 400-thousand casualties.

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Canberra: Remembering ANZACs at Australian War Memorial

ANZAC Day is held annually on the 25th of April to commemorate Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) from the First World War and ANZAC military personnel in subsequent service around the world.

The day also marks the 1915 anniversary when ANZAC troops landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. The attempted move did not end well for the ANZACs, as the Ottomans successfully repelled the invasion force. The land invasion stalled after eight months with subsequent withdrawal from Turkey to Egypt.

ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand has surpassed the commemoration of Remembrance Day held annually on the 11th of November in Commonwealth nations, including Canada and the United Kingdom.

In the Australian capital city of Canberra, the Australian War Memorial is a grand structure, housing an impressive collection of historical artifacts, collections, and documents, outlining and describing Australian action at home and overseas. One day or an afternoon makes for a great introduction, but multiple visits are required to plumb the depths of their extensive archives. At the end of every day, the War Memorial closes its doors with a farewell to visitors in the “Last Post” ceremony, beginning at 455pm local time.

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ANZAC Day, Martin Place, Sydney, Australia

My Sydney: meet Ken Curran, OAM JP

ANZAC Day parades continue to march through the streets of Sydney’s Central Business District, but I depart from the crowds and wander over to Martin Place. Dressed in a green suit jacket, green tie, and a green beret, an elderly gentleman is describing the Commando Memorial to a number of curious visitors.

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Sydney: ANZAC Day (2013)

The guns are silent.

In Australia and New Zealand, ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance to mark the 1915 landing at dawn of ANZAC troops at Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey in World War 1 (WW1). The Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) saw their first WW1 military action in Gallipoli as part of an Allied expeditionary force whose aim was to free passage for allied shipping through the Dardanelles, a narrow strait connecting the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara, and onwards to Constantinople (now Istanbul). Instead, months of heavy fighting became a stalemate with major losses on both sides.

The importance of this date for both countries has ensured that ANZAC Day takes place annually on the 25th of April. In the present, ANZAC Day is a day to remember Australians and New Zealanders who have represented and served their countries in combat and peacekeeping efforts around the world.

Most veterans from the two great world wars of the 20th-century are gone, and soon, they’ll all fade away; the last surviving Australian participant at Gallipoli died in 2002. If ANZAC day has become an excuse for consumption and frivolity, the historical context for present-day commemoration is in danger of becoming lost. Michael Brissenden wrote for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation :

… It’s clear now that Anzac Day has grown to become our most important commemorative day. But is that in itself enough? Should it also spark more of a national conversation? And shouldn’t we at least try and invest the day with what historians like Clare Wright call “historical authenticity”? Along with the mass patriotic sentiment, the huge crowds and even the football grudge matches the day now inspires, some are still searching for more.

The photographs below reflect a small cross-section of people and their memories. By chance, I meet with Ken Curran, Australian World War 2 war-veteran and member of the Order of Australia; I write about him here.

I made all of the photos below on ANZAC Day (25 April) 2013 in the Sydney CBD with a Canon EOS450D/Rebel XSi. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as

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Canberra: Poppies at the Australian War Memorial

The word “poppy” in Germany is associated with the delicious poppy seed filling (“Mohn”) commonly used in cakes and pastries. Elsewhere, poppies are unfortunately associated with the production and consumption of hard drugs.

It’s easy to forget another representation associated with the flower: a commemoration symbol for the war dead.

Wild poppies grow in Belgium, and in particular, in the Ypres salient, one of many places where bodies, blood, and mud were the norm in close-contact trench warfare in World War One. Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was serving in the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, and after burying his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer who died of injuries sustained during the Second Battle of Ypres, McCrae wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields” as he took the scene before him. Moved by McCrae’s poem, American Moira Michael began in 1918 the practice of wearing poppies on Remembrance Day.

It’s why you may see people sporting poppies on their lapels in the days leading up to November 11; the tradition is encouraged and upheld mostly in Commonwealth countries. In Australia and New Zealand, the big day of commemoration is ANZAC Day on April 25.

At the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, over one hundred thousand names are inscribed on the walls at the Roll of Honour; these are the names of people killed in action since 1885. A paper poppy is placed next to each name for relatives or direct descendants.

Roll of honour, west, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT, Australia
Roll of honour, east, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Roll of honour: west (top), east (bottom) : Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

I made the two photos above at the War Memorial’s Roll of Honour on 6 September 2012; this post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at

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