Yesterday (25 April) was Anzac Day in Australia. Ceremonies are held across the country at dawn and throughout the day.
There are parades too, of veterans and serving military personnel, and family. And bands, of course. The “massed pipe bands” march past is always a crowd pleaser.
What did we ever do without camera phones?
Something that strikes me about these bands is their make-up. Old and young, male and female, military and civilian, they all come together as one. I think you can really see that in these next two photos.
The particular band that I know (through a friend) is the Sydney Thistle Highland Pipe Band. They played at a separate ceremony in Martin Place at 12:30pm.
Friends and family often join them after the official proceedings, as the band visits a few pubs for some well deserved refreshment. They play at the pubs, too, which always draws a crowd!
Bagpipes in a pub window.
The band is 100 years old this year.
I have other Anzac Day posts here.
All my other shots for April have blue skies and sunshine, so I thought I’d start off with some rain to be sure you didn’t get the wrong idea. No cruise ship for you this month: the season is winding down but they are still visiting, but I didn’t get down to Circular Quay when a new one was in. In fact, I was very lazy this month, so have only two things to highlight for the April Monthly Challenge.
The Biennale of Sydney is an art festival held every two years in several venues around the city. I checked out the displays on Cockatoo Island. This small selection gives an idea of the art and also the buildings. (You can see more of my photos about this island here.)
25 April is Anzac Day, when Australians and New Zealanders remember the hardships of WWI and honour their military service people. The day begins with a dawn service — “pre dawn”, actually, as it’s held at 4am, long before the sun rises! It is wildly unlikely that you will ever see photos by me of that service. 😉
The highlight is a three-hour parade with marching veterans and current serving personnel.
The small children marching with their grandparents, or in place of a relative, look uncharacteristically solemn.
And what’s a parade without marching bands?
Anzac Day is one of the few days in the year when “two up” can be legally played in pubs. The rules are simple: three coins are tossed into the air, and the winner is the person who has bet on which face (heads or tails) lands UP on TWO of the coins. In the image below left, the man in the background is holding $50 and $20 bills — more than I would bet on coins!
There’s not even a hint of sun now in Martin Place at 5:30pm, and look how long the shadows are now at 1pm in Sandringham Garden.
25 April – Anzac Day – is the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War I. “In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula … [they] landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders … At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated from the peninsula, with both sides having suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships.” (source)
The Australian Turkish Friendship Memorial Sculpture, known as “Seeds of Friendship” (artist Matthew Harding), was erected in Melbourne to mark the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, and those shared “great hardships”.
These words from Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (a Turkish divisional commander at Gallipoli, and Turkey’s first president after WWI) appear around the base of the sculpture:
“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours … you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”
2014 marks 100 years since the beginning of “the war to end all wars”.
Next year will mark 100 years since the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War I: they landed on Gallipoli on this day, 25 April, in 1915.
25 April was officially named Anzac Day as long ago as 1916. It is still observed now, with pride by some, with sorrow by others, with indifference by a great many more. As with Easter or Christmas, the Queen’s Birthday or Labour Day — all official Australian holidays — the significance has generally been diminished and it has become little more than a extra day off work.
Yet thousands of people will have set their alarms for 4am or 5am this morning in order to be at the Sydney Cenotaph for the Dawn Service. Hundreds of others, such as the members of the various pipe bands that mass for the service and march throughout the morning, will have woken even earlier. They will all have stood in silence on a pedestrianised thoroughfare overlooked by looming glass-sided office towers, as a grey dawn broke and wind drove rain into their faces — and they held their private thoughts.