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It’s a century since the first Anzac Day services

April 25, 2016

Matthew Wright

It’s Anzac day today – the day New Zealand and Australia remember the dead of all their wars.

Graves of New Zealand Division soldiers at Tyne Cot - a photo I took in 2004. Graves of New Zealand Division soldiers at Tyne Cot – a photo I took in 2004.

In a way it’s timing is odd. Many nations, certainly Britain and around her former Empire, mark the moment on 11 November, the day in 1918 when the guns finally fell silent on the First World War.

Here in Australasia, by contrast, we remember the dead on 25 April – the day when our forces invaded the Ottoman Empire, landing on the coast at Gallipoli.

The reasons have a good deal to do with the way these events were entwined with the sense of nationhood in both Australia and New Zealand. For the first time, both Dominions were engaged in overseas action for Britain – asserting their own identities as something more than a mere colony…

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