It is now just ten days to the Centenary of the Gallipoli landings. It is said that Australia, as a Nation, was born on the shores of Gallipoli and that our proud identity as Australians largely stems from the bravery of our diggers there.
Of course we lost more brave souls in France during WWI and Australians had fought in the Boer War. But April 25 has become our Baptism of fire – the birth of our Nation; a mix of courage, sacrifice, patriotism, honour and enormous loss.
The Centenary therefore is a huge event and I thank all those local people – in particular members of our local RSL Sub Branches – who have been working hard for more than a year to make sure it is commemorated in the most appropriate and solemn manner.
While much of that work will be most apparent on April 25, plenty is happening prior to ANZAC Day. For example, tomorrow night I will open the exhibition Camera on Gallipoli at Maitland’s Brough House, a project undertaken in a partnership between Maitland Regional Museum and the Australian War Memorial.
On Friday I will launch Maitland & District Genealogical Society’s publication “Maitland’s Gallipoli Campaign”, funded using the Government’s ANZAC Local Grants Program. On Friday night I will attend the Cessnock RSL Sub Branch’s Centenary of ANZAC Dinner.
Recently I travelled to Murrurundi to watch local primary school students benefit from a local innovation. A national initiative, ‘Honouring Anzacs” is an interactive website which allows school children to track their rural heritage and any family links to the ANZACS.
It also allows students to “Adopt an Anzac” and undertake a project by researching that Anzac’s military service records. It’s a national platform developed by local historian Rodney Swansborough.
The website is a great way to raise awareness within the younger generations and another fantastic way of keeping the memory of ANZAC alive. Make sure you visit http://www.honouringanzacs.net.au/
So it’s all happening, of course every Council is doing its best as are other community groups. The various displays of photos and other memorabilia are wonderful and I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks when we will ensure that all the sacrifices of all conflicts are appropriately remembered and commemorated.
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