We’re a proud couple of nations, down here at the bottom of the world. We’re geographically isolated from the rest of our Commonwealth family. As a result, we’re both pretty independent and don’t like being told what to do. We’re often lumped together, even though in many ways we’re quite different. We’re fiercely competitive, and yet – like siblings – we stand up for each other (just don’t ask us who first created the Pavlova!). We both pride ourselves on our loyalty, humour and ‘mate-ship’. And, we both remember the ANZACs every year on 25 April.
ANZAC Day commemorates the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. (ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.) The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli, Turkey on 25 April, 1915 and met fierce resistance from the Ottoman defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight long and gruelling months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian and almost 3,000 New Zealand soldiers had been killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli made a profound impact on both New Zealanders and Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which we remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.
Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as the ‘ANZAC legend’ became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways they viewed both their past and their future. The pride the original ANZACs took in their name endures to this day.
Anzac Day now promotes a sense of unity, perhaps more effectively than any other day on the national calendar. People whose beliefs may be widely different share a genuine sorrow at the loss of so many lives in war, and a real respect for those who have endured warfare on behalf of the two countries we live in. Rather than diminishing with time, today the number of Australians and New Zealanders attending Anzac Day events in New Zealand, Australia and at Gallipoli, is increasing. For most, the day is an occasion on which to formally pay tribute and to remember.
The ANZAC Bridge, a most gorgeous cable stayed bridge, happens to be my favourite bridge in the whole world! I love crossing the bridge, especially on a sunny Sydney day, with the harbour sparkling and views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to my left as I approach the city…
Spanning Johnstons Bay, the ANZAC Bridge is one of Sydney’s outstanding landmarks. Opened in December 1995, at a cost of $170 million, it provides a key link between Sydney City and the suburbs to the west. Originally known as the Glebe Island Bridge, on the 80th anniversary of Armistice Day, the 11th November 1998, the ANZAC Bridge was renamed as a memorial to members from both sides of the Tasman who formed the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps – the ANZACs.
A four metre bronze statue of an Australian World War 1 Digger was placed on the north-western end monument on the 25th April 2000. A handful of sand from the Ari Burnu beach at Gallipoli rests under the foot of the digger as a permanent connection with comrades who fell and remain at the Gallipoli battlefield in Turkey.
The New Zealand soldier statue, placed at the south-western approach, was formally unveiled on 27th April 2008.
Anzac biscuits have always been associated with Australian and New Zealand soldiers in World War I. Legend says that the wives, mothers and girlfriends left at home were concerned that their fighting men were not getting food of any nutritional value, so they cooked up a recipe for treats that they would both enjoy and nutritionally benefit from.
A point of interest is the lack of eggs to bind the ANZAC biscuit mixture together. Because of the war, many of the poultry farmers had joined the services, thus, eggs were scarce. The binding agent for the biscuits was golden syrup or treacle.
Although particularly popular on ANZAC Day, these biscuits are an easy cookie to whip up at any time of the year, and are especially great for hungry boys (big or small).
- 1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup caster sugar (‘superfine‘ sugar for my North American readers!)
- 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup (or treacle)
- 150g unsalted butter, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Preheat oven to 170°C. Place the flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine. In a small saucepan place the golden syrup and butter and stir over low heat until the butter has fully melted. Mix the bicarbonate of soda with 1 1/2 tablespoons water and add to the golden syrup mixture. It will bubble whilst you are stirring together so remove from the heat. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix together until fully combined. Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on baking trays lined with non stick baking paper, pressing down on the tops to flatten slightly. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
(Recipe sourced from Taste.com)
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. (from ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon (1869–1943))