No Gallipoli Fatigue. The People Speak: In Australia, Our ANZAC Day Matters

Posted on Sat 04/25/2015 by

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Bolt New 01By Andrew Bolt ~

We’ve too often left our traditions and institutions in the hands of a class that that does not properly respect them, and every Anzac Day we’re reminded of the gulf between some of those custodians and the public.

AustralianRisingSunBadge

The original Badge of the Australian Army, worn on the hats of every Australian soldier. This is known as The Rising Sun Badge.

Take Peter Stanley. Here he is last year:

Peter Stanley, a former senior historian at the war memorial and now a research professor at the Australian National University, criticises what he calls “Anzackery” and questions the special commemoration of the war dead. “Arguably more Australians have been touched by the trauma of car accidents killing loves ones, friends or neighbours,” he writes.

To single out those who died in defence of their country is “peculiar at best and grotesque at worst”.

The Anzac tradition is an “essentially minority interest” that excludes “non Anglo-Saxon Australians”, he writes.

Here is Stanley this year, taking up a new theme that was very popular among some ABC and Fairfax commentators this time:

Blanket coverage of the centenary of the Gallipoli landing and changing demographics are leading to “commemoration fatigue” and raising serious questions about the future of the Anzac legacy,former Australian War Memorial principal historian Professor Peter Stanley says.

Stanley argues there were fewer and fewer people with direct links to the Anzac campaign or World War I and vast numbers of new immigrants are simply either not interested or have been ignored in promoting the day’s significance.

“This year is probably about as good as it gets for Anzac Day but there are already signs of commemoration fatigue,” Stanley told AFR Weekend.

“Some of the Anzac and war-themed TV series have been failing and the producers have been left scratching their heads,” Stanley says.

And more blah blah before the day:

Some historians have warned of “Anzac fatigue”. Others have suggested the people making the pilgrimage to Turkey to the crumbling Dardanelles cliffs risk literally loving Gallipoli to death.
‘Military Halloween’

University of Melbourne historian Marilyn Lake says Australia needs to recognise the multiple stories tied up with its WW1 participation such as what it means for women, for Australia’s Turkish community and its Indigenous people, including Aboriginal soldiers.

“If we let go the image of the [Australian soldier], what is left?” she said at a recent BBC-British Council event held in Sydney.

Lowy Institute analyst and former soldier James Brown, who has written a book about Anzac commemorations, says they have become akin to a festival of the dead or a “military Halloween”. He notes that Australia is spending far more money on Anzac Day ceremonies over the next four years than it spends on treating the mental health of soldiers returning from war.

They wish.

In fact, as I said on Channel 10’s Brisbane news yesterday, Australians are not fatigued by Anzac Day. They revere it and are merely fatigued with fake Anzac, make-believe Anzac, alternative Anzac and anything other than authentic Anzac. The day itself is sacred, and so it’s proved again on the day made huge not by academics, playwrights, artists, ABC broadcasters, historians and activists – so many of whom long scorned the day – but by the men and women of Australia, and their children especially.

Sydney:

MORE than 30,000 people flooded into Sydney’s Martin Place for the Anzac Day dawn service this morning.

The crowd, believed to be a record number, began arriving before midnight to secure a position close to the Cenotaph for the commemoration the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings.

Melbourne:

In Melbourne, record crowds of around 100,000 have gathered at the revamped Shrine of Remembrance for the dawn service that started at 6am.

Brisbane:

Thousands of people have packed Brisbane’s Anzac Square and nearby vantage points for the dawn service marking the centenary of Australian troops landing on Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula.

Crowds spilled out of Anzac Square and onto the city’s streets to remember the fallen. Screens were set up in the square and in nearby Post Office Square, King George Square and the Queen Street Mall to offer a view to the large crowds assembled.

Canberra:

A record crowd of 120,000 have gathered for the Anzac Day dawn service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra marking the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.

Adelaide:

A record crowd of up to 20,000 has braved the cold for the annual Anzac Day dawn service at the State War Memorial on North Terrace in Adelaide.

And at my youngest son’s school last night, a truly marvellous tattoo to commemorate Anzac Day, and a most inspiring speech by Captain Brian Schlegel.

Today, I’m off to the Melbourne parade to watch my son’s band march and play. You can imagine how enormously proud I am. I’ve never felt so connected to the legend – the tradition – as when my sons have played the Diggers to the Shrine of Remembrance.

UPDATE

Reader Rose:

I walked two kilometres in the dark through poorly lit roads to attend the Anzac ceremony here in beautiful Camperdown and was privileged to stand among many, many dozens – may have been a couple of hundred – in the half light. It seems there were many and the number of parked cars parked stretched right through town. It was very moving for me to hear the names of those long lost boys and men. So many names of one family repeated over and over. Camperdown in 1915 must have had a very small population at that time and the town decimated in its loss.

Reader Bill:

Andrew, I agree that the Anzac legacy is getting larger. Go to the WIN news Ballarat Facebook page and you will see what a regional town has done at their local cemetery. Every service men and women has an Australian flag flying over their grave. There are estimated to be over 600 flags flying and has created so much interest that over the last few days you cannot get a park near the cemetery and there have been hundreds of people strolling around the cemetery every day remembering all their local diggers. Very moving and a great touch.

Reader Ian:

Record crowd in Darwin. Response of long term attendees was “wow”

Reader DarrylG:

Regarding Anzac Day dawn service numbers, you left out Currumbin. Estimated crowd was 25,000. Revised figure this morning according to news reports 30,000 but I was there and I refuse to believe there was less than 100,000. The closest I could get to the ‘Rock’ was about half a kilometre with standing room only as far as you could see in each direction. And this was from about 4:00 am. Anzac Day fatigue? Really?

Reader Hector:

AB, 2-3,000 at Port Noarlunga 5.30am dawn service. Against the ochre cliffs, darkened crisp sky and the raw of the waves made for a very moving service.

Reader Greg3095:

Approx 80,000 at Kings Park for the dawn service in Perth.

Reader Judy:

I attend the Forth Valley (Tas) Anzac Day Service and it was the most moving service I’ve been to. With a record crowd of children & adults taking part to honour our history, it didn’t glorify war but reminded us of what others have sacrificed & what we need to do for each other to stay free – Lest We Forget.

Reader The Original Observer:

Certainly no fatigue here in Hervey Bay Qld, Andrew. It was the biggest crowd I have seen at a 10am Anzac Day Service in the ten years that I have been attending here. In that time, I have seen a big increase in the number of children participating or attending the Service.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book  Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

Read more excellent articles from Andrew Bolt’s Blog . http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/