“Bury the Body – it has served its ends.
Mark the spot, lest ‘on Gallipoli,’
Let it be said he died Oh!
Hearts of friends
If I am worthy, keep my loving memory.”
– J Spent
By FIONA HARDMAN*
THE ANZAC men and women are truly worthy of our memories. This year, as we commemorate 100 years since the landing on the shores of Gallipoli, we as a community are asking “what does ANZAC mean for our community and how do we best honour these men and women?”
THE ANZAC SPIRIT
The legend that we know as ANZAC was born on April 25 1915. Although this military campaign at Gallipoli failed in its objectives, the actions of the Australian and New Zealand troops left us all a powerful legacy. They displayed great courage, endurance, initiative, discipline and mateship – it is these qualities that we as a nation embrace as ‘Australian’.
While ANZAC Day originally started out for the survivors of Gallipoli only, it has grown to encompass all those who have lost their lives in service to their country. The current ANZAC Day services see us remembering all those who fought, endured, suffered and died for their countries and our freedom.During WW1, Brighton Council saw the need for the heroes of war to be publicly honoured and from 1915 the names of all enlisted men were inscribed on Rolls of Honour. When three honour rolls were not enough, a decision was made to erect a memorial beside the main road at Pontville. The memorial was unveiled in 1921. This memorial has long been the site of the Brighton municipality ANZAC Day Service.
While the Pontville Memorial Park has been a fitting backdrop for ANZAC Services to date, a decision has been made to move the service this year to the newly constructed Remembrance Park on the site of the former Brighton Army Camp.
The camp was established when thousands of troops enlisted in the First World War but was unsuitable as a main camp due to lack of water. During WW2 the main training camp was set up at Brighton and by 1941 the huts housed up to 2400 trainees. As the need for training declined, Brighton Camp was used for army bivouacs, and to house prisoners of war (1944–46), migrants from Europe (late 1940s) and national servicemen (1950s). It was then used intermittently for camps for Army cadets and reserves, in 1967 to house victims of the bushfires, and in 1999 Kosovar refugees.
This is a fitting site to acknowledge the diversity and community that ANZAC has grown to stand for. It is a bigger site that will suitably accommodate our growing service attendance numbers and is the perfect location for what will hopefully be the first of many ANZAC Day Sports afternoons.
The conclusion of the formal ANZAC Day Service will see the community come together for an ‘old fashioned’ sports afternoon. The first ANZAC sports day was held in the Australian camp in Egypt, 1916. This was an opportunity for soldiers to relax and recuperate. These sports days became a tradition as returned servicemen ran them for children in their communities.
Back to the question at hand: How do we best honour these men and women? By the unveiling of the new Remembrance Park on a site that is rich in history for the Brighton Municipality. A Park that honours all service personnel in all conflicts. By bringing a community together and honouring the tradition of ANZAC sports.
Hope to see you there.
*Fiona Hardman is Unit leader of Brighton Girl Guide