product of a recent resurgence of this ‘Anzaclegend’. According to the legend, during the Great War Australian soldiers proved to themselves and to the rest of the world that the new breed of Anglo-Celtic men from the south was worthy to rank with the nations of the world. Gallipoli, where the Australians first went into battle on April 25 1915, was regarded as the baptism of fire of the new Australian Commonwealth, and the commemoration of Anzac Day on April 25 each year became the Australian equivalent of American Independence Day or Bastille Day in France (without
the Gallipoli massacre in particular became transformed into a story – the Anzaclegend
– that symbolises what are purported to be key Australian national values: courage,
valour and heroic suffering, where war becomes the proving ground of national character and
death in war the ultimate patriotic sacrifice. 15 The pervasiveness of the Anzaclegend is immediately evident not only in
Australia’s national holiday (Anzac Day) but in the numerous war memorials and
monuments found in state capitals and small country towns alike
Disease, conflict and nursing in the British Empire, 1880–1914
professional life to the instigation and expansion of nursing infrastructures
in New South Wales and her ‘frontier experiences’, her links to the
‘old country’ and her military experiences (particularly at Gallipoli),
allow her to be easily assimilated within the early formation of notions
surrounding Australian nationalism. More specifically, her encounters have rendered her an integral part of the feminised reshaping of
the AnzacLegend, the controversial and evolving cultural concept
founded partially upon the apparent personal qualities of the romanticised Antipodean
converted: those who made up the conservative, Anglocentric White Australia of the Old Bully; who voted for Menzies over Ben Chifley's Labor Party in 1949 (see Figure 14.4 ); and who saw in Australia's involvement in Korea a continuation of the AnzacLegend founded in the two world wars ( Figure 14.5 ).
Ted Scorfield, ‘Going my way – on a full petrol-tank?’, The Bulletin , 30 November 1949, p. 5
Growing up in Australia I could
not avoid the Anzaclegend and the Australian pride in the contribution
of their ancestors to both World Wars. These contributions, especially
at Gallipoli, play an important role in Australian national identity in
new and evolving ways. 1 As
an Australian of Cypriot heritage the place of the Great War in the
Australian national script
of remembrance increasingly focused on the memories of bereaved civilians.
They might also display varied and complex reactions to the
mythical representations of their wartime exploits and experiences
that public commemorative culture sometimes embodied. Thus,
as Thomson has shown, a construct such as the ‘Anzaclegend’,
with its celebrations of the fighting spirit, manliness and mateship
of the (supposedly) typical Australian digger, might provide many
veterans with a helpfully positive affirmation of their own values
and experiences and thus with a viable
., p. 769.
78 This is also demonstrated by A. Thomson’s well know example of Fred Farrell and
the Anzaclegend, A. Thomson, ‘Putting Popular Memory Theory into Practice in
Australia’ in R. Perks and A. Thomson (eds), The Oral History Reader (London:
Routledge, 2006), pp. 300–311.
79 P. Summerfield, ‘Culture and Composure: Creating Narratives of the Gendered Self in
Oral History Interview’, Cultural and Social History, vol. 1 (2004), pp. 65–93, at p. 93.
80 L. Abrams, Oral History Theory (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010), p. 47.
81 Todd, ‘Class, Experience and Britain
, in Thomson’s research, to emphasise aspects that
conformed to ‘the Anzaclegend’ as opposed to those that did not. But in
the case of histories that have been entirely hidden, and about which there
is no legend, audiences’ non-recognition of the subject matter is likely to
be profound, and to have a powerful silencing effect that works to the
detriment of memory.
As we have seen, the men of the Home Guard were well embedded
in popular memory as a result of their representation both in wartime
and in late twentieth-century popular culture. Dad’s Army generated a
Oxford, 1983), pp. 1–46.
52 J. Beaumont, ‘The AnzacLegend’, in J. Beaumont (ed.) Australia’s
War, 1914–18 (Allen & Unwin Ltd, St Leonards, 1995), pp. 159–160.
To date, there is no detailed study of Australian troop discipline
during the Great War.
53 J. A. Crang, ‘The British Soldier on the Home Front: Army Morale
Reports, 1940–45’, in P. Addison and A. Calder (eds.), Time To Kill:
The Soldier’s Experience of War in the West 1939–1945 (Pimlico,
London, 1997), pp. 60–76; D. French, Raising Churchill’s Army: The
British Army and the War against Germany
Pakeha imagination: ‘The children played
old-world soldiers at Waterloo, not Rangiriri, and new-world soldiers at
the Wagon Box, not Ngatapa’. 86 By the time The New Zealand Wars was
published, the ANZAClegend had also already shown itself to be far more
adaptable to the myth of war experience, not to mention less
controversial. 87 The
New Zealand Wars had even arguably been surpassed in