ANZAC – a day to remember

ANZAC Day is poignant reminder of the freedoms and lifestyle we enjoy.

The bravery of those involved in the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War One and other arenas of war will be marked all around the country, from the National War Memorial in Canberra to Adelaide’s War Memorial and local RSL sub branches in the suburbs.

The public holiday is an opportunity to acknowledge and remember the ANZACs’ contributions, as well as other Australian military and civilian war efforts past and present.

“Most of us have a family member or war story to reflect upon on 25 April,” says Flinders historian Sandra Kearney, whose honours thesis covers the stories of 100 South Australians soldiers who served in the Great War and what happened to them and their families in the aftermath of war.

College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences PhD candidate Ms Kearney will showcase her thesis Unley’s Own – Returning Home in the Flinders University-supported City of Unley exhibition exploring the personal stories of  15 returned soldiers of the 27th Australian Infantry Battalion, or ‘Unley’s Own’, as they came back into the community after service on the front.

The collection of photos, stories, objects and treasured souvenirs will be on show until 3 October, after Ms Kearney’s launch address 5-7pm on 9 May.

“One of the articles on display returned from France as part of a box full of history – including detailed diaries of the battles and a German postcard he found in No Man’s Land,” she says.

Some of these items will be part of the new exhibition opening at Unley Museum (80 Edmund Avenue, Unley) during SA’s History Festival. She also will also give talks at the Unley Town Hall in June and at the Naval, Military and Air Force Club in August.

Meanwhile,  ANZAC Day commemorations also include the forgotten or ignored efforts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers.

In a timely tribute, Flinders University-based First Nations Unbound Collective – featuring dedicated storytellers Dr Ali Gumillya Baker (Mirning), Faye Rosas Blanch (Mbararam/Yidinyji), Dr Natalie Harkin (Narungga) and Associate Professor Simone Ulalka Tur (Yankunytjatjara) – will give a special Anzac Day performance of their research, video and performance series Bound and Unbound: Sovereign Acts at the Samstag Museum of Art (Hawke Building, North Tce, Adelaide).

The performance coincides with the opening of two Australian War Memorial touring exhibitions, Reality in flames: modern Australian art and the Second World War’ and ‘For Country, For Nation’ – focusing on Indigenous people who contributed to military service and the front lines of war – on show at the Samstag museum (25 April until 19 July).

In the often-cited words of Rudyard Kipling’s Recessional … ‘Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget — lest we forget!

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