Sunday, April 26, 2009

#026-365 The Big Event

From the first time I saw the theme list this is what I intended to do for this theme, because this is THE BIG EVENT! These photos were taken yesterday 25 April 2009 which is the 94th anniversary of the Landing at Gallipolli of a combined Australian and New Zealand military force. For more information on the campaign I will bow to the Official Australian Government site or possibly more preferably the Australian War Museum site.

Having given you the opportunity to read the "History" of this event, I would now like to put my slant on the event and how I see its importance. In 1914 (World War I started) and Australia had only been a self governing Nation for 14 years, but we along with New Zealand which had been running it's own affairs a little longer, both readily declared their intention to "Play Their Part" in Britains efforts during the war. Two of the smallest and youngest nations in the world stepped up to the plate to prove they were citizens of the world.

A lot of people have mouthed off that, days like Anzac day glorify war and that is Bunkum, they are 180% off course, it celebrates the sacrifice that many made during the horror of war, yes but also serves to remind us that in war, no one wins, because people die. If the ideal practice of getting the two top generals to fight in single combat could be reinstalled, we would all be much happier. However at a personal level there are situations in war that equate closely to what goes on in a smelter.

The antecedents of a lot of Australians was as prisoners/convicts who were being slowly mixed in with the type of pioneering spirit that would bring people from the comfort of mother England to one of the harshest and most unforgiving of countries to build a new life, the latter spirit was also evident in the troops from New Zealand who stormed ashore at our sides at Anzac Cove Gallipolli in 1915. The battle itself and the reasons for staging it were ignomineous to say the least, but it taught a valuable lesson in comradeship and respect for courage that inculcated itself not only in our fellow troops but in our adversaries as well.

The Psyche of the Anzac troops was forged in this cauldron and it has been imparted to become the psyche of our nations as a whole. Neither Australia nor New Zealand have numbers of men to match the big boys in the game, but in every conflict since the Boer War, we have and will continue to play our part and shoulder the reponsibility that being a world citizen imparts. I was a soldier who in 20 years service was lucky enough never to have been tested in the theatre of war but if I had, I would hope that there was enough of the Anzac spirit in me that I would do honour to their memory.

This brings me back to where this is a big event. and I have put together a collage of shots to show what I mean. There is a good chance that you may have heard of the large ceremonies conducted in our capital cities to commemorate Anzac day as well as the services conducted at Gallipolli and at Villers Bretonneux in France. They were large, well attended and a spectacle to behold, for Aussies and Kiwis alike.

I am going to show you the depth of this feeling from another point though. In January I had considered going into Brisbane to shoot what happened there but thought in the intervening time that it would be better to show how a small community pays its respects, and I have tried to do that here. The Redcliffe Peninsula has a guesstimated population of around 55,000 + or -. So when I attended the Dawn service depicted in these two collages, I was more than pleasently surprised, as was the convener who kept on saying "what a crowd, what a crowd" and impossible as it is to do I would guess between 2 - 5,ooo people attended.

Some idea of the crowds is visible in these photos but the thing that Gob Smacked me and pleased me the most was the little vignette in the top right hand corner of the top photo, these young teenagers were there on their own and were paying respect in a totally laudable fashion. The top photo is a few shots taken prior to the dawn and also depicts the medals awarded to the gentleman named, but there were so many young people there wearing the medals of their parents or Grandparents in an act of rememberance that is so heartwarming.

The second photo has a shot of the sun just rising (Top Left) but is centred around the Anzac Memorial and the sea shot shows the coast guard vessel leaving after having laid a wreath for those lost at sea, people naturally dispersed (although more slowly than you would suspect) and when I left around 6.45 I would guess that there were still around 1,000 people who lingered for a variety of reasons but most seemed to gravitate to and from the memorial.

There was a parade near noon that I got a lot of shots of, in which thousands of school children from schools in the area marched and I will show these as an addendum to this post, when I have had time to process them, I wanted to get this out as soon as I could and I will do my best with the remainder. I don't know but guess there would have been more than half the peninsula population either spectating or marching around noon - Now that in my eyes is A BIG EVENT.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading about the Big Event and especially enjoyed your photos memorializing it.

Chesney said...

What a great collage to pay tribute to this event! Your pictures say it all! Nice!

Anonymous said...

A wonderful pair of collages to commemorate the big event - stirs the soul of patriotism. How wonderful that it drew so many people of varying ages and so important that the sacrifices of those before us are honored. When we lived in Massachusetts we were just a few miles from where the Battle of Lexington Green took place and we arose before dawn one morning to watch the reenactment of the battle. It touches you to your core when you have the opportunity to feel a part of history even in some small way. Your photos and narration bring that feeling to life from the other side of the world.

Anonymous said...

Having lived in NZ for many years now, and learnt how the two nations commemorates this day of remembering those who fought in war for freedom and as such in any war, it is touching. I enjoyed the read and collage. What a great post!

John said...

Lovely collage. Thank you Ron. We're a long way from Australia and Suvla Bay for that matter but our C.B.C always seems to catch me at the radio when they play Eric Bogle's song:
They're tired old heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask"what are they marching for?"

EstherF said...

You are right, this is a big event. It is refreshing to read your narrative and see the collages you made to convey the respectful attendance that day. A history lesson as well. Thanks.

Linda said...

Your commentary bring the photos to life. Thanks.

Rachel said...

The collages are wonderful. Thank you for the history to go along with them.

Sherrie said...

Hi Ron,
That's an awesome tribute to the men and women who served their country bravely! Thanks for sharing! Have a great evening!


DART said...

A big event indeed and deservedly so. Lest We Forget.

Clara said...

Thank you so much Ron for a wonderful story. I have never heard of Australia and New Zealand's part in World War I. It is always wonderful to see people giving respect to those who sacrificed for the good of all.

Anonymous said...

Love the captive story that goes with this Big Event and your photos depicting the day. We went to the Dawn Service here in Melbourne. Very moving. Lest We Forget.