Just before dawn on 25 April 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers rowed towards Gallipoli’s shores, and the history of ANZAC Day began. Of the 138 men from the Surf Coast Shire who landed on Gallipoli, 24 landed on the first day. Jacob Fuller (Connewarre), Leslie Bailey (Torquay) and Robert Wilson (Winchelsea) were the Shire’s first casualties of the campaign, losing their life at Lone Pine. Fuller and Bailey served in the 5th Battalion, and Wilson in the 8th Battalion. By the end of the Gallipoli campaign, 21 men never left the peninsula.
As the sun rises across the nation on ANZAC Day, we gather in special locations or in our driveways to remember the Anzac legacy.
A year after the Gallipoli landing, the first ANZAC Day marches and ceremonies allowed the country to mourn the loss of the young men. In true Australian fashion, those camped in Egypt had a commemorative sports day to remember their fallen mates.
Canon David Garland, a Brisbane Anglican priest, laid out the order of service that is still mainly observed today. He created a framework for a non-denominational commemoration to honour the fallen – the march, wreath laying and one minute’s silence to say a silent prayer in line with one’s own beliefs.
ANZAC Day has become our most solemn day of commemoration, where, since 1915, we have reflected on the sacrifices of all Australian service people and peacekeeping corps.