The Gallipoli landing was a turning point in Australian history. Our recently born country had been thrown into war, and thousands of our patriotic younger generation were joining England in fighting for the British Empire.
Australia and New Zealand were at war from 4 August 1914 when Britain declared war on Germany. Young men were exhorted to help the Mother Country, 'confronted by the deadliest peril she had ever experienced'. It wasn't long before South Australians enlisted to fight in Europe, many from the Lefevre Peninsula area signing on at Fort Largs.
By 1915 Russia was under attack and threatened by German forces, and Russia appealed to the British to attack Turkey to create a diversion. English commanders despatched a force of Australian and New Zealand soldiers to attack well entrenched Turkish positions on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
On April 25 1915 the Australian and New Zealand troops (later known as ANZAC's) disembarked at the Gallipoli landing. They met heavy opposition from the Turks, and by the end of the day more than 2,000 of our troops had been killed or wounded. Many Turks also died.
When the news of the horrendous casualties reached Adelaide, there was much grief and consternation but South Australian women rallied to support their men on Violet Day in 1915.
This year we celebrate the centenary of the Gallipoli landing by the first ANZACs, and also the centenary of the first Violet Day around the state.
A Replical of a Gallipoli Dugout at the Army Museum of South Australia
The Army Museum of South Australia is holding a unique Centenary of Anzac - Gallipoli Film Festival on Sunday August 2. Three movies will be screening at the Art Deco Regal Theatre (former Chelsea) during the Gallipoli Film Festival:
Gallipoli (1981) - an Australian film directed by Peter Weir and starring Mel Gibson, which was filmed primarily in South Australia. Gallipoli focuses on a group of young Australian men sent to Gallipoli, where they encounter a resolute Turkish army.
Beyaz Gelibolu - (White Gallipoli), a Turkish film with a voice over by Jeremy Irons
Hero of the Dardanelles - a rare Australian film produced in 1915 which includes actual wartime footage. The Hero of the Dardanelles is the first surviving feature film depiction of Australian troops in the First World War and includes images of a real army camp and real soldiers in training.
Festival attendees will be welcomed with a musical performance supplied by 10/27 Royal South Australian Regiment Band. During the interval tea, coffee and platters of food will be served, and drink will be on sale during the Festival which runs from 1pm-5.30pm.
Proceeds from this all ages event will benefit the Army Museum of South Australia Foundation, which helped by many enthusiastic volunteers proudly maintains displays of Australia's wartime history.
Tickets for this special event cost $25 each and can be booked online here. It promises to be a unique afternoon of entertainment and will benefit a very worthy organisation. More information can be found here and on the Army Museum of South Australia website.