Resources for Anzac Day lessons


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Issues related to Anzac Day


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Anzac Day controversies or disagreements on this page:

Is the Anzac story a MYTH?

The NEGATIVE side of the Anzac story


ISSUES generally

The FOCUS of Anzac Day

Should an Aboriginal FRONTIER WARS group participate in Anzac Day marches?

CHILDREN participating in Anzac Day MARCHES


WOMEN and Anzac Day

The FLAG debate and Anzac Day

Anzac history in the school CURRICULUM

Gallipoli, Sir Keith Murdoch and WIKILEAKS

Who was the LAST ANZAC?

What is Anzac Day ABOUT?

The MENTAL ILLNESS suffered by many Anzacs was deliberately ignored

Paying too much attention to GALLIPOLI?

COMMERCIALISATION: Profiting from Anzac Day

Commemoration FATIGUE

"Outrage" over NEW ZEALAND ANTHEM being played in Queensland schools
God Save the Queen dropped

Australian and New Zealand DIFFERENCES

Is Anzac Day now Australia's alternative RELIGION?



Issues covered on other pages of this website:

Aboriginals and war: Issues
Anzac biscuits
Anzac or ANZAC?
Anzac Centenary: Issues
Anzac Day Clash
Gallipoli 2015: Issues
Simpson: Should he have been awarded the Victoria Cross?
Women in war


Is the Anzac story a myth? Fact or fiction: 5 common Anzac myths put to the test (
Did the Anzacs land in the wrong place? Were the British to blame for the failed landing? Were the Anzacs natural athletic soldiers? Did Simpson save lives with his donkey? Did the "drip rifle" enable a safe evacuation to take place?

The making of the Anzac Myth (archived from
Lateline, 23 April 2001
Transcript of an ABC Lateline program.

What lies beneath a national legend (
Much of what we commemorate on Anzac Day is a journalist's construct." Christopher Bantick argues that much of what you read and have been taught about the Anzacs is a myth.

How much of the Anzac legend is truth and how much is a myth? (
Author Peter FitzSimons says the Australian identity arose out of Gallipoli, but researcher Caroline Holbrook says Australia bevcame a nation at Federation in 1901.

The meaning of Anzac Day (

From On Line Opinion, "Australia's e-journal of social and political debate".
Examines the issues raised in What's Wrong with Anzac (see above two items) and concludes: "
... regardless of the importance of Australian wartime stories, we should take seriously claims by Marilyn Lake and others of a “militarisation” of Australian history."

The first casualty (
The Australian, 24 April 2010
Newspaper article and review of several books by Paul Ham: The Australian, 24 April 2010.
I chose the books under review on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of Gallipoli because they tell us things we may not -- or prefer not to -- know about Australians at war."

Reconsidering Gallipoli: Review by Bill Gammage [pdf] (archived at
Review of a book by Jenny Macleod in which she compares the British and Australian views of Gallipoli - 'the myth of Gallipoli in Britain, and the legend of Anzac in Australia'.

Charge of the rewrite brigade (
Also titled Dr Peter Stanley speaks about Gallipoli myths.
Reproduction of an article by Jonathan King in The Australian, with added highlighting in bold to support the argument that the Anzac legend is a myth

Gallipoli - legend versus reality ( - scroll well down)
Scroll well down to the sub-heading Gallipoli - legend versus reality. (Note that many links are not accessible as this material was produced for users of the Parliamentary Library computer facilities.)
(If the web page is unavailable, you can find the information under "Gallipoli - legend versus myth" in the archived pdf file: Anzac Day Kit [pdf, 3.9MB].)

See also Negative side of the legend (next section, below).

Negative side of the legend Beyond the Legend of Anzac (
ABC Hindsight program: "
Professor Marilyn Lake explores whether the Anzac legend as a foundation story for the birth of the Australian nation has run its course." Audio and transcript provided. (The book What's Wrong with Anzac? The Militarisation of Australia's History by Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds with Mark McKenna and Joy Diamond is available commercially.)
See also:
- Pride in the past isn't necessarily a lost cause (The Australian, 24 April 2010), and
- Evolving History (ABC's The Drum Unleashed, 23 April 2010).

Also see the following related item.
Myths and Legends (archived from SMH, 25 April 2010)

We must fight free of Anzac, lest we forget our other stories
The Age, 24 April 2009.
"Australia's identity shouldn't be built on deaths in foreign fields."
Also see the above related item, "Beyond the Legend of Anzac").

See also Is the Anzac story a myth (previous section, above).

Peace, not war It's also brave to stand for peace (
History teacher Peter Jones writes about pacifists' opposition to war in general, and their strong support for the development of international bodies to settle disputes between countries instead of going to war. He also points out that the Gallipoli story would not be recalled with pride by Australians if it had involved the even worse horrors of trench warfare that other soldiers suffered on the Western Front.
Issues generally What young Australians think about Anzac Day ( 25 Apr 2019 New
Five young people (at least, people aged in their twenties) give their views on Anzac Day:
- It hides Aboriginal history.
- It allows us to pay respect to our soldiers.
- It is now a glorification of war.
- It is a time to appreciate the role of the Defence Force.
- It is an opportunity to think about the individuals involved in war rather than the military itself.


Articles on Anzac Day (
Approximately 30 articles on Anzac Day and the Anzac tradition written by academics but designed to be read by the general population.
Anzac Day and multi-culturalism Dollars fly in Anzac report debacle (
Herald-Sun, 26 March 2012
A second report on the Anzac centenary says that multicultural people were not consulted for the first report.

Gallipoli anniversary could divide Australia (
Herald-Sun, 26 March 2012
A report has warned the Federal Government that celebrating the Anzac Day centenary could provoke opposition from people of some cultures and divide multicultural Australia.

Stay true to unifying Anzac spirit (
Herald-Sun (Editorial), 26 March 2012
This editorial from the Herald-Sun, on the prospect of Anzac Day centenary celebrations being divisive, argues that the tradition of Anzac is to unify Australians, not divide them.

In remembering Anzac Day, what do we forget? (
To what extent does the Anzac legend of today ignore or over-emphasise multiculturalism and a diverse Australia?

Profiting from Anzac Day 'Brandzac Day': Historian criticises 'new low in the commercialisation of Anzac' ( 20 Apr 2015
Some retailers now stock up on Anzac-themed products in the same way they do for Easter and Christmas.
- story includes an embedded link to video of a relevant 7.30 (ABC) segment (which includes a sexualised T-shirt image).

Woolworths poster: ANZAC 1915-2015 Fresh in our memoriesWoolworths takes down Anzac 'Fresh in our Memories' website after social media backlash ( 20 Apr 2015
Supermarket chain Woolworths, which promotes itself as "The fresh food people", has abruptly removed an online picture generator that placed the words "Fresh in our memories", the Woolworths logo and the word "Anzac" on uploaded images of soldiers (and anyone else).

Woolworths did not have permission to use the word 'Anzac', says Minister ( 15 Apr 2015  
Minister for Veterans' Affairs Michael Ronaldson says the 'Anzac' campaign by Woolworths was inappropriate.

Target removes Camp Gallipoli products from sale ( 18 Apr 2015
Retail chain Target has been required to remove from sale an "Anzac spirit" drink can holder, a beanie and a child's hoodie from its product range because these items "inappropriately" used the word "Anzac". Even Australia Post has been marketing Gallipoli-themed souvenirs.

The cynical selling of the Anzac tradition (Editorial) ( 18 Apr 2015
The Anzac tradition appears to have been embraced by many businesses as a marketing opportunity, using the theme to sell teddy bears, sweatshirts, rosemary-scented candles, beer and other products.

Gallipoli 2015: Lest we forget to turn a buck (Opinion) ( 16 Apr 2015
The body of the text includes many links to examples of commercialisation of the Anzac tradition, including a link to a beer promotion. It is followed by an extensive collection of reader comments.

● See also Applications to use the word 'Anzac' (
● See also our Anzac Biscuits issues section.

Commemoration fatigue 'Gallipoli fatigue' causes poor ratings for WW1 TV shows ( 24 Apr 2015
The blanket and commercialised coverage of Anzac centenary commemorations appears to be creating a negative reaction in many people, yet we are seeing record numbers attending Anzac events.

Australia's commemorations risk loving Gallipoli to death ( 24 Apr 2015
Australians are facing 'Anzac fatigue', and the heavy pilgrimages to Gallipoli could contribute to a deterioration of the very landscape Australians revere. One historian likens the recent commemorations to a 'military Halloween'.

Shifting demography leading to 'commemoration fatigue' ( 23 Apr 2015
With increasing Anzac news and other media coverage, decreasing numbers of people who personally knew their Gallipoli veteran relatives and increasing numbers of immigrants with no connection at all, a 'commemoration fatigue appears to be developing in Australia. [If this link becomes inaccessible, please send us an email to let us know.]

● See also Focus on Gallipoli, below, above
Focus on Gallipoli
Western Front heroics lost in Gallipoli myth ( 11 Nov 2013
The focus on the story of the defeat at Gallipoli comes at the expense of recognising the achievements by Australians at the Western Front.

● See also Commemoration fatigue, above
Frontier Wars The Aboriginal group Frontier Wars was allowed to participate in the 2019 Hobart Anzac Day march but the local acting RSL president says it would not be appropriate for them to participate in future marches.
A VC for Simpson? Should Simpson be awarded the Victoria Cross?
See our Simpson and his Donkey page
Focus of Anzac Day The revitalisation of Anzac Day (
The politicisation of, and changing focus on and support for Anzac Day.

Why Anzac Day works as our unofficial national day (
The changing focus of Anzac Day has allowed it to become our unofficial national day, writes Bruce Grant.
Children in marches Anzac Kids - participation of children in marches (
Behind The News
A Behind the News report on the issue of young people participating in Anzac Day marches. Contains video, transcript, activities sheet (Original Word document at apparently unavailable but try this one) .
Flag debate Holding a flag debate on Anzac Day, 25 April 2010.


Anzac Kids 


Curriculum Itís time for parents to have their say on the national curriculum (
The Conversation, 16 Jan 2014
Points out where Anzac Day is explicitly covered in the Australian Curriculum.

Stop tinkering with school history, and start teaching it (
The Conversation, 3 Jan 2014
Agreeing to politicians' calls for greater emphasis on teaching the Anzac tradition will lead to reduced freedom for students to question the historical record and its interpretation, and therefore to reduced engagement with their history lessons, an academic argues.

Students losing Anzac knowledge (, 24 Apr 2013
Australian schools are teaching fewer lessons about the country's involvement in past wars, teachers warn.

Gallipoli and WikiLeaks WikiLeaks has Anzac ancestor (
Sydney Morning Herald, 9 December 2010
The article points out that a writing effort of Sir Keith Murdoch's contained errors and worse.
Who was the last Anzac? Last Anzacs: What kinds were there? (
See the box which lists seven soldiers. Alec Campbell is generally regarded as the "last Anzac". But that depends on how you define "last Anzac".
Discussing war with children ANZAC Day - Talking about war with children (
Anzac Day is an appropriate time to discuss war with children. A Behind the News handout on discussions with children on war and violence in the news make a number of useful points.

Dealing with war and conflict in the media [doc] (archived from
(You might need to right-click on this link and save the document first, before opening it in Microsoft Word.)

A succinct Behind the News (BTN) document to assist teachers and parents in discussing war and conflict with children. Although the four links at the end of the document are now out of date, this is a very useful document.

Talking with children about war and violence in the world (
Lists and examines 32 aspects of discussing war and violence with children.
Women and Anzac Day Anzac Day: is it just for the boys? (
The wartime roles and contributions of women have not been recognised on all Anzac Days.

Women and Anzac Day in Western Australia: newspaper representation in the 1960s [pdf] (
Academic paper presented to a sociology conference. Analyses the representation of women in Anzac Day commemorations.

See also:
● our W
omen in war pages
What is Anzac Day about? OPINION
Anzac Day is about their deaths, not our lives (
The Drum, ABC, 25 April 2012
Jonathan Green expresses his views on the intriguing gap between the trumpeted values of the modern Anzac Day and the down-to-earth values of the Gallipoli diggers themselves. Our feeling for the actual suffering of those diggers is fading in comparison to the convenient uses being made of the commemoration of their day.
Mental illness Healing histories (
The mental illness suffered by many World War 1 veterans was ignored and even denied by the authorities. Professor Alistair Thomson has written about his grandfather, Hector Thomson, who was a soldier in the Light Horse during World War 1. In the second edition of his book, Anzac Memories, Professor Thomson expands the discussion of the mental illness suffered by his grandfather.
NZ anthem in Qld Queensland school Anzac ceremonies may play New Zealand anthem ( 11 Jan 2010
Queensland schools are being told they may play the New Zealand national anthem as part of their Anzac Day ceremonies.

Australia and NZ to sing each other's anthems? ( 11 Jan 2010
Premier Anna Bligh is asking Queensland principals to play God Defend New Zealand at Anzac Day ceremonies. Schools can choose to sing the anthem as well.
God Save the Queen dropped God Save The Queen dropped from Anzac Day service (
ABC News, 13 April 2010
Was dropping God Save the Queen from Melbourne's Anzac Day dawn service disrespectful to Australia's wartime past?
Australian-NZ differences New Zealand: the other half of the Anzac legend ( 7 August 2014
New Zealanders and Australians have different approaches in acknowledging Anzac Day.
Anzac Day a religion? How Anzac Day came to occupy a sacred place in Australians' hearts ( 25 April 2017
Anzac Day apears to have grown beyond a tradition and a legend to become an alternative secular religion in Australia.

See also:

Anzac Day news

Aboriginals and war

Aboriginals in war: Issues

Is it Anzac or ANZAC?

The role of women in war

Anzac Day Clash (football match)





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