A brief Anzac history

In 1915, a year after the ‘Great War’ had begun, a collection of soldiers from Australia and New Zealand (later known as the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps or ANZACs) travelled across the world for what was intended to be a straightforward expedition to capture the Gallipoli peninsula to open the area to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and an ally of Germany.

As we now know, this expedition did not go as planned and the ANZACs faced strong resistance from the Turkish defenders. The battle became a stalemate and lasted for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated from Gallipoli, with both sides suffering heavy losses. More than 8,000 Australian soldiers died in the campaign, and many more suffered lifelong consequences due to the conflict.

Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the actions of the ANZACs during the campaign left a powerful legacy. The Anzac campaign became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the way in which we view both our past and the future.

Today, we count Turkey among our friends in the world, and it is reassuring to know that our fallen soldiers now rest in friendly lands. Many Australians and New Zealanders travel to Turkey to remember those who were lost on the anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, being warmly welcomed by the Turkish people.

At CGGS we also remembered them during our Anzac Assembly, which was run by our Defence Students.

Our guest speaker, Brigadier Ana Duncan AM, CSC (Commandant of the Royal Military College, and Director General Army Leadership), spoke about the history of the ANZACs, and why Australia and New Zealand commemorate this date. She spoke of the value of service and reminded us that true service requires us to put others ahead of ourselves. Brigadier Duncan noted that the values of CGGS are not dissimilar to those of the Army – Inclusion (Respect in the Army), Courage and Integrity. Her stories of women in the armed services were a poignant reminder that women can work in any field.

The address illustrated the spirit of the ANZACs and provided our students the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices given by our Defence personnel for our country.

Ms Joanna Leaman
Acting Deputy Principal (Head of Senior School)