"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

ANZAC Day 25th April

For my ANZAC Day post this year I decided to gather together a few
bits and pieces that when viewed collectively give a picture of
and Australians.

BTW there is another poem at Poetry Galore which has lots of links
to Aussie terms etc.

April 25th is the day we commemorate ANZAC day here in Australia and New Zealand, this is one of the most reverent days on our calendar.

ANZAC stands for; “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps” and was first used during World War 1 to describe the troops from our two countries, it was worn proudly by the survivors of that “war to end all wars”, and to describe the 60,000 who died so bravely.

The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand and Australian soldiers “the ANZACs” on the Gallipoli peninsula in 1915. The aim was to capture the Dardanelles, the gateway to the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. At the end of the campaign, its Turkish defenders still held Gallipoli.

The ANZAC Ode.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

For any of you who don’t read Robyn’s blog she has a very interesting post about “two-up”, go have a look.


On Tuesday 24th April in Washington USA there is a function to honor the “Australian War Brides”, the ladies who married American servicemen and went to live in America, I do not have accurate figures for the number of people this involves but I believe there were “thousands” of war brides and I have heard estimates of 65,000 descendants of these unions now exist (children and grand-children).

This is one of the many ties that bind our two countries together as friends and allies.

The link below will give further information.


Bloody has been termed the great Australian adjective. It is pretty bloody well used every-bloody-where by just about bloody well everyone. Bloody oath it is.

I refer to this word "bloody" that has been mentioned. I am an Australian. "Bloody" is a colloquial Australian term. It may well have been a swear word prior to World War I. It may well have been a swear word in 1910. However, it is not today.

Peter Beattie, Premier of Queensland, 24 August 1999.

Australia was only an infant nation when WW1 broke out in 1914,
the "Commonwealth of Australia" having been created in 1901.

From a population of only 4 million we committed 325,000 troops
60,000 of whom were killed in action.

On June 24th 2005 the last surviving digger died aged 107.


Australia came of age, it's said, by many learned scholars
who frequent halls of learning in starched and stiffened collars
on one bleak day in World War I when on a foreign stage
our finest and most gallant wrote another history page.

Dinkum Aussie Diggers, many of them teens,
had donned the Aussie slouch-hat to discover what it means
to men throughout the ages, from every place on Earth,
called on to fight for loved ones and the country of their birth.

The twenty-fifth of April (we know as Anzac Day)
is a crucial part of national life and our Australian way.
While the campaign was a blunder, the Diggers showed such valour
they surely have an honoured spot with Gods in Valhalla.

Remember Simpson and his donkey who helped the wounded back,
ignoring bursts of enemy shells, and sniper's rifle crack ?
Simpson was but one brave man at the Turkish Dardenelles
just doing what he had to do without fanfare or bells!

Back home in all the papers, the death lists showed a need
for frontline reinforcements to be sent with urgent speed
and those who led Australia, like Mr. Billy Hughes,
knew the impact on the country of such devastating news.

People were dismayed at what the war reports were saying
about the carnage and the horror. Mothers all were praying
for a speedy end to killing and all the senseless shooting,
and strong resistance reared its head to campaigns for recruiting.

Enlistment was declining. The Army needed men.
Whatever could the Pollies do? Nothing worked! And then
one tiny, rustic, wheatbelt place out on the Darling Downs
brought the Private Simpson spirit to all Queensland country towns.

The township known as Warwick saw a score of its brave men
head off en route to Brisbane, each one with fierce yen
to answer to the nation's call, and protect their land of birth
as good men have been wont to do since first put on this earth.

They headed for Toowoomba. Recruiting was their aim,
new troops to join the cause with them, not glory, gold nor fame.
It was Aussie calling Aussie, one mate calling mate,
across the Range to Laidley, to Ipswich and their fate.

"Coo-ee!" they called in every town: "Coo-ee! Coo-ee! Coo-ee!"
That word is dinki-di, for sure, just like "Corroboree",
"Gum Tree", "Black Stump", "Digger", "Dungaree" , "Didgeridoo".
No wonder men came running. What else would Aussies do ?

And on that March to Brisbane, the Anzac spirit grew
and spread across the outback and in the cities, too,
It was mateship, call of country, sense of duty, obligation:
it was spirit of the Anzacs everywhere across the nation.

Those Dungarees from Warwick - just a score of them in all,
all nondescript Australians, some short, some fat, some tall -
stirred the conscience of the nation. They knew just what to do
without fanfare or flashy fuss, as befits good men and true.

It's hardly ever mentioned in Australian history books
but the story's worth a few more words than many of the crooks
who consume the time of schoolkids each boring bloody day.
Let's tell 'em how those Warwick men showed all of us the way.

Written by Dan O'Donnell

Following footsteps of brave Dungarees.

This is the story behind the “Dungarees” referred to in the
poem above "Spirit of ANZAC


Twenty-eight volunteers will re-enact the March of the Dungarees in April. To begin in Warwick on April 13, the march will trace the route of the original march which took place in 1915.

The Dungarees were answering a call for troops from Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes following the shocking loss of life and casualty count from Gallipoli. Patriotic marches were probably one of the most spectacular and successful ways of attracting young men into the services. Potential recruits were canvassed from towns and rural communities.

Ten such marches were conducted, the first - and most famous - being the Cooee March which began in Gilgandra, NSW, in October 1915. The south-east Queensland march followed the Cooee example. Leaving Warwick on November 16, the Dungaree march made its way through Allora, Clifton, Greenmount, Cambooya, Toowoomba, Helidon, Gatton, Laidley, Rosewood, Ipswich and Oxley.

The 270k march ended in Brisbane, with 125 young men arriving to a tumultuous civic reception .They had been similarly feted along the way, local communities turning out in force to applaud the young volunteers. The names of the original 28 Dungaree recruits who began the march and the other 97 who enlisted at centres along the way, were faithfully reported in local newspapers at the time

Only one of these volunteers, Eric Abraham, of Brisbane is still alive, having survived the horrors of the trenches of the Western Front. Mr Abraham, who in November 1915 was a telegraphist with the Post Master General's Department at Boonah, attended the Dungaree meeting out of curiosity. He had two brothers already serving and at the age of 17 1/2 he was under the minimum age. But when he heard the local band strike up a stirring rendition of the French National Anthem, the Marseillaise, his blood was stirred and he could not resist the urge to sign up. With his mother's consent, Eric became the third of her five sons to enlist.

Editors note, Eric Abrahams died in 2003 just one month short of his 105th birthday.

All would ultimately volunteer, with two paying the supreme sacrifice and two being severely injured.

The re-enactment is timed to arrive in Brisbane in time to participate in the city's Anzac Day march, and also to mark Eric's 101st birthday. A history of all original recruits is being compiled by the re-enactment association which will use this information, together with an excellent collection of photographs, to record the history of the Dungarees in
book form.

In Flanders Fields.

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them


Val said...

Although I knew nothing about ANZAC until I came to Australia more than 30 years ago, I have come to appreciate the depth of feeling in Australia for ANZAC spirit. Every year I'm usually awake at dawn and listen to the melancholy Last Post played by a lone bugler at a nearby ceremony. It is a moving experience.

Puss-in-Boots said...

Lest we forget.

Great post, Peter. Thank you for linking to my post...bloody goodonya mate!

audrey` said...

Hi Peter

How are you?
Take care =)

Peter said...

Hi Girls.

Val, I keep forgetting that you were not born here, despite that you have fitted in as well as any Aussie.

Robyn, No bloody worries mate.

Audrey, Hi, I'm fine the eye is just about as good as new, it's not as hot as it has been (on and off) still no rain, but apart from that the world is rosy.

Cliff Morrow said...

Wow Peter, what a lesson. I know this was very time consuming. Thanks buddy. It is GREAT!!

Tastewise! said...

Peter appreciate the ANZAC stories especially about the Queensland Dungarees.

I visited the WW1 memorial at Colungra (spelling?) recently near Brisbane, and will put a photo of this on my blog one day soon. I wanted to see the wording as I had been told the Australian WW1 memorials mention all those who served, whereas in NZ the memorials list only those who died. This was a mystery to me until I realised it is probably to do with mandatory service for WW1 in NZ, and voluntary in Australia.

On my blog I am developing a personal poem in memory of my Grandad who served in WW1 - another ANZAC. http://onfull.blogspot.com

Lee said...

Lest We Forget...

Merle said...

Hi Peter ~~ Great post - - we are all early with Anzac posts. My friend
Sometimes Saintly Nick is going to put a post on for Anzac Day. He has the Aussie Love Poem on, so I reckon he must know some Aussies.
Take care, Love, Merle.

LZ Blogger said...

Peter ~ Do I say "Happy ANZAC Day? Well... at least on the 25th! ~ jb///

Peter said...

Jerry, I guess the greeting would be the same as for your Veterans day.

Big Dave T said...

Seems like I read once that "bloody" was thought to have been a corruption of the epithet "by my lady", referring to Mary, mother of Jesus.

Nice tribute to the vets, Peter. My father was wounded in Korea and still honors the veterans of the area, putting flags on the graves of the fallen soldiers and the like.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Very enlightening, Peter.

Walker said...

This was a great post Peter.
History is one of my passions and I know the battle of Gallipoli very well.
Many Australians perished there bravely.
They came so close to winning if they hadnt been held back when they should have pushed but their commanders thought different.
I can almost see their smiling faces as they marched off.

Again, great post.

wazza said...

Gidday Peter,

It's great that the spirit of Anzac is still alive and growing in leaps and bounds.
As more of our diggers pass on, it has been said that once they have all gone, the message of Anzac will slowly dissapear, but no the crowds at the marches continue to grow and the visitors to Anzac Cove in Turkey are now made up with more young people than ever before.
May the light and rememberence of the Anzacs never fade from our memory. For the diggers who gave their all for our independence,
"we shall remember them."

Christina said...

That was very interesting

Anonymous said...

Super post, Peter.