In the early months of 1915 World War 1 was raging in Europe and the Ottoman Empire which today is known as Turkey. Turkey had joined forces with the Germans in order to keep the Russians at bay. At dawn on the 25th April 1915 forces from France, Great Britain and the British Empire including Australian and New Zealand landed at a number of places on the Gallipoli peninsula. The campaign aimed to open up new fronts for the allied forces and a trade route to Russia.
The allied forces did not have a hope. They were met with fierce resistance from the Turks and suffered heavy casualties. The war continued until the end of 1915 when the allied forces were evacuated. Both sides had suffered enormous losses and hardships. Over 8 000 Australian soldiers had been killed and they had failed in their effort to open up a trade route to Russia. The last forces withdrew from Gallipoli on 20th December 1915. This battle was seen to be the start of the Anzac Legend. This was an Australian ideal based on the mate ship and enduring suffering that the forces showed throughout this campaign. This spirit had been captured earlier by the “diggers” of the Eureka Stockade.
The 25th April was officially named ANZAC day in 1916. It was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies and services in Australia and a march through London with over 2 000 troops from Australia and New Zealand. A sports day was held in the Australian camp in Egypt. Marches were held all over Australia and in Sydney wounded soldiers accompanied by nurses were carried in a convoy of cars. During the 1920’s ANZAC day was established as a national day of commemoration for the 60 000 Australians who had died during World War 1. ANZAC day also serves to commemorate the lives of Australian who died in World War 11 and subsequently Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan.
Australians commemorate ANZAC day with Commemorative services which are held at dawn – the original time of the landing. Later in the day ex-servicemen and women take part in marches in the major cities. The most opportune time to attack the enemy is at dawn and the soldiers were woken in the dark before dawn so that by the time first light crept across the battlefield they were awake. This is known as “stand-to”. Dusk is equally as favourable to “stand-to”.
There are claims that a dawn requiem mass was held at Albany on 25th April 1918 and a wreath laying and commemoration took place at dawn in Toowoomba the following year. Today the dawn services include the presence of a chaplain, but not the presence of dignitaries such as the governor general. In many cases the dawn service was restricted to veterans while the daytime ceremony was for families and other well-wishers. Before dawn the veterans would be ordered to “stand-to” and two minutes silence would follow. At the end of the time a lone bugler would play the Last Post and then conclude the service with Reveille, the bugler’s call to wake up. In most recent times families and young people have been encouraged to attend the dawn services.
During World War 1 and 11 the wives, mothers and girlfriends were concerned that the soldiers were not getting good nutrition. The food was often on ships with no refrigeration for up to two months. The answer was “ANZAC” biscuits which were first called Soldiers’ Biscuits but were renamed after the landing in Gallipoli.
ANZAC day is also a public holiday and day of remembrance in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga. It is also commemorated with special services and events on or around April 25 in a range of countries across the globe. These include: the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Canada and the United States (including Hawaii).
“Two-up” is a traditional game which is true-blue Australian, invented in old Australia, and allowed to be played legally in public only on special days, such as ANZAC Day since it’s actually gambling. Of course you can gamble and play it any time in an Australian casino. A smooth area of 3 meters diameter is used with any number of players participating.
Anzac Day is the one day of the year where two-up is legal in Victoria, while in New South Wales, two-up can be played on not only on Anzac day, but any other designated commemorative days. In contrast, people in Queensland who are participating in games of two-up any time of the year will be breaking the law. In the last couple of years two-up has now been legalised in Queensland after the State Government passed legislation.
“Lest we forget”
“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.”