I was very proud that we had so many students and families come to represent us and pay their respects on Anzac Day, especially with such miserable weather. We couldn’t do this without parent support so thank you to all those who gave up snuggling under the quilt covers to brave the unrelenting rain in order to honour our diggers.
I remember when I was a child at school, Anzac Day wasn’t commemorated as it is today and most children didn’t even know why they had a public holiday on 25 April each year. Since that time, culture and education have changed. These days, our children are taught why we commemorate Anzac Day and there is much greater respect for it in our community. It is not a day where war is glorified but a day to remember the cost of war with the hope we don’t have to experience it again.
At Glasshouse Christian College, we teach the history and meaning of this event as part of the curriculum but here are seven little known facts about Anzac Day that I thought you might find interesting.
1. Gallipoli is not a town
Just like there is no town called Noosa, there is no town or city called Gallipoli. Gallipoli is the area where the Anzacs fought and is near the famous ancient ruins of the city of Troy.
2. Anzac biscuits were square
Anzac biscuits were traditionally square and so hard that some men were said to have broken their teeth on them. They were sometimes ground down to make porridge, thicken a stew or fried as fritters. They were first supplied as rations and it was only later on that mums, wives, fiances and girlfriends would make and send the biscuits we are more familiar with today.
3. Aboriginal Australians were not allowed to enlist in WW1
Despite not being legally allowed to serve, many Aboriginal Australians lied about their race to enlist. Sadly, their involvement is still rarely recognised even though it is believed that almost one thousand of them (out of an estimated indigenous population of 80,000) served during WW1.
4. Alec Campbell was the last surviving Anzac
The last surviving Anzac was Alexander William Campbell who passed away on 16 May 2002. Campbell joined the army at the age of 16 in 1915 and served as a stores carrier for two months during the fighting at Gallipoli. He was invalided home and discharged in 1916.
5. All Anzacs were volunteers
Unlike the other countries engaged in World War I, conscription was not introduced in Australia. All the Australians who fought in World War I were volunteers. Prime Minister Billy Hughes made two attempts to introduce conscription: two conscription referenda were held in 1916 and 1917. Both lost to the ‘no’ vote.
6. The word “Anzac” is protected
The word “Anzac” is protected under Australian law and misuse can incur a penalty of up to 12 months in prison or a large fine. The Protection of Word ‘Anzac’ Regulations 1921 (Cth) (the Regulations) broadly state that to use the word ‘Anzac’ (or any word resembling the word ‘Anzac’) in an official or corporate manner, permission from the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs is required.
7. Origin of Anzac acronym
The acronym ANZAC was devised by Major General William Birdwood’s staff in Cairo in 1915.
It is important that our students continue to honour the Anzac Day tradition. I’m hoping that the example you have set in bringing them to parades and services will continue in the future when they have their own children and bring them to Anzac ceremonies.
Mike Curtis, Principal