Banjo Paterson wrote as an open letter to the troops in 1915 a poem he titled “We’re All Australians Now”
Australia takes her pen in hand,
To write a line to you,
… To let you fellows understand,
How proud we are of you.
From shearing shed and cattle run,
From Broome to Hobsons Bay,
Each native-born Australian son,
stands straighter up today.
The man who used to “hump his drum”,
On far-out Queensland runs,
Is fighting side by side with some
Tasmanian farmer’s sons.
The fisher-boys dropped sail and oar
To grimly stand the test,
Along that storm-swept Turkish shore,
With miners from the west.
The old state jealousies of yore
Are dead as Pharaoh’s sow,
We’re not State children any more
We’re all Australians now!
Our six-starred flag that used to fly,
Half-shyly to the breeze,
Unknown where older nations ply
Their trade on foreign seas,
Flies out to meet the morning blue
With Vict’ry at the prow;
For that’s the flag the Sydney flew,
The wide seas know it now!
The mettle that a race can show
Is proved with shot and steel,
And now we know what nations know
And feel what nations feel.
The honoured graves beneath the crest
Of Gaba Tepe hill,
May hold our bravest and our best,
But we have brave men still.
With all our petty quarrels done,
We have, through what you boys have done,
A history of our own.
Our old world diff’rences are dead,
Like weeds beneath the plough,
For English, Scotch, and Irish-bred,
They’re all Australians now!
So now we’ll toast the Third Brigade,
That led Australia’s van,
For never shall their glory fade
In minds Australian.
Fight on, fight on, unflinchingly,
Till right and justice reign.
Fight on, fight on, till Victory
Shall send you home again.
And with Australia’s flag shall fly
A spray of wattle bough,
To symbolise our unity,
We’re all Australians now.
ANZAC Day – 25 April – is probably Australia’s most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
What does ANZAC stand for?
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.
When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only 13 years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.
The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers had been killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli had made a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.
Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as the “ANZAC legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways they viewed both their past and their future.
The RSL Motto:
The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance
The motto of the RSL has an interesting history.
In the fourth century BC Demosthenes enunciated the spirit of the motto although he used these words:
“There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust”
In 1770 the following words were apparently first used by John Philpot Curran in his speech upon his election as Lord Mayor of Dublin:
“The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”
Then Wendel Phillips, in an address before the Massachusetts Anti Slavery Society in 1852 said:
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”
Some people have attributed this also to Thomas Jefferson but no one has found any records of Jefferson using the sentence.
In the early 1920’s the Victorian Branch of the League suggested that the League should have a motto, and the NSW Branch of the League recommended:
“The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance”
In November 1923 the 8th National Congress of the RSL agreed on the motto recommended by NSW.
From the Movie Gallipoli
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Thanks to Mark Bridgewater who was the source of some of this information