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Grab your best mate and a swag for a night to remember
It is not often an event is held in a number of cities Australia wide. There are days, very special days to us all, when the majority recognise and will often participate in an activity on the same day. Anzac Day is one such day we all honour, whether we participate in a march or go to the local for a beer, or if we simply watch a story on the television. It is a day that unites us as Australians in a patriotic and proud manner.
Cobber in tent. Photo by Tom Beazley 1941 Image from wikicommons
This year of 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli in the country now known as Turkey, on a beach that was to be come one of the most historic in the world, now named Anzac Cove. Australia will hold many events throughout the year to mark this occasion, with "Camp Gallipoli" being the major event of significance and remembrance for the year.
An artistic concept of how the event will look to participants. There will be displays and military exhibits to see around the grounds. Image from campgallipoli.com.au
Anzac Day commemorates the landing at Gallipoli in the early hours of 25th of April 1915. The battle was crucial in support of the British troops who were fighting further up the coast. It was a tough and dangerous feat as our diggers landed in the water, having to wade ashore in the dark while being shot at. Some hung precariously to the cliffs, not being able to see where they were going. Communication was almost negligible, orders were confusing and for days many troops wandered the beach and nearby hills seeking shelter attempting to locate their regiment. The battle continued on for many months, with the First World War lasting until 1918.
Sleeping quarters for officers and men on Lemnos near Gallipoli WW1 Image from galipoli campaign-experiences of the nurses- creative commons liscence
Anzac Cove 1915 Image from wikicommons
Camp Gallipoli will be held in 7 Australian cities, and Auckland New Zealand, starting on Anzac Eve, the 24th of April. The venues are large showgrounds and will cater to large numbers. The night will be a camp out, sleeping on the ground, along side your mates just as our diggers did. No tents will be permitted, only swags, ground sheets and sleeping bags. There is a strict list of what not to bring, and only one small backpack and your bedding allowed, so check the website before booking. Here you will find more information on the event with links to educational resources for teachers and students. As it is Autumn, there are often a few showers around Anzac Day so I recommend a plastic tarp over your bed, and a raincoat.
This event is planned to be a time for both Australians and New Zealanders to come together to remember in a united way. It will be a solemn and respectful time of ceremony and remembrance, however there will also be entertainment including special guests, sports identities, documentaries, movies, music, and many food vendors, with the programme varying for each city. It will be early to bed for campers who will rise early for a special Anzac Day dawn service. Meals will be served in military style.
Australian soldiers at army camp Enoggera, Brisbane in 1940. Australian War Memorial Collection. Image from wikicommons
Tickets will be selling fast and available through Ticketek. Links are on the event website www.campgallipoli.com.au. Ticket prices are not cheap, however costs would be high to cater to a large event of this size. You can choose a ticket with food and morning breakfast, or no food option.The event is a non profit event and any monies left after costs will be distributed to the RSL and Legacy, a charity that supports families of soldiers killed in action, which still operates today.
Australia was a very different country 100 years ago. Young men were proud Aussies who sacrificed their lives to protect our home and way of life. Being in the army and on the front was arduous. There was no night vision goggles, no two way radios, no portaloos. Attending this event will be helpful to understanding our history, to get together with your mates and for paying your respect.
A Father and Son participate in an Anzac Day Dawn Service. Martin Place, Sydney 1931. Image by Sam Hood, Wikicommons
The event is billed as a family event, however I wouldn't consider it suitable for young children. Upper primary and teenagers may find it interesting and a good way to share the experience with a parent. One of the aims of the event is to pass on the Anzac spirit and traditions onto our next generations, and there will be an educative component to the proceedings. It will certainly be a once in a lifetime event and one to remember for a very long time.