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ANZAC Day: The Local Soldiers of Hawthorn

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

108 years ago sixteen ships left from Station Pier, Melbourne Victoria (17th October 1914), heading for Albany, Western Australia, to join the first Australian/New Zealand convoy of 38 ships departing on November 1st heading for Egypt.

Victorian infantry embarking on HMAT Hororata (A20), at Station Pier, Port Melbourne, 1914. At left is HMAT Orvieto. Reprinted courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

ANZAC Day - 25 April marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. On 4 August 1914 Great Britain declared war on Germany. At that stage Australia had only been a federal commonwealth for 13 years and were keen to establish their reputation among the nations of the world.

A guard of the 5th Battalion on board A3 HMAT Orvieto, 1914. Reprinted courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

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.

ANZAC Day has now grown to become perhaps the most important national day in Australia. In addition to recognising the service and sacrifice of all Australians who have served in war or on peacekeeping operations, ANZAC Day has become core to the identity of Australia itself, a day on which Australians reflect on the Anzac spirit and its place in Australia today.

Hawthorn's ANZAC Locals

Amongst the first Australian convoy that set out for Word War One were over 100 local residents and traders from the Glenferrie and Hawthorn area. Glenferrie Traders Association will commemorate the 100 year anniversary of ANZAC Day with a display of “Ode of Remembrance”, an ode taken from Laurence Binyon’s poem, “For the Fallen”, which was first published in The Times in September 1914.

The Hawthorn soldiers of the first Convoy.

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