On 25 April 1915, Australian troops landed at Gallipoli, where cliffs, rugged country and enemy forces towered above them. The bravery the Anzacs showed at Gallipoli that day, and on hundreds of other days in Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific, left for us a powerful legacy, as qualities of the Anzac spirit – courage, ingenuity, mateship, good humour and endurance – helped to define Australia as a nation before the eyes of the world.
At the top of the cliffs was my grandfather, Hamdi Isteni, who fought at Gallipoli in a battalion commanded by Mustafa Kemal, who later became Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey. My grandfather’s story is but one of millions of individual stories from a war that touched every country in the world. Victoria’s proud and multicultural society is now home to descendants of those who served from countries right across the world including India, Serbia, Egypt, China, New Zealand, Malta, Greece and dozens more. No matter where one’s family might have been in the First World War, the effects were the same: death, destruction, sorrow and heartache. Their stories are now our stories.
One hundred years since World War One, Victorians of all backgrounds are now encouraged to come together to honour those who so bravely served by discovering their own connection to the war: to the people in it, and the people affected by it.
The Victorian Government’s Anzac Centenary website gives a starting point to make your own connections to the war, to understand the stories behind the men and women on all sides of the conflict, and to make sure that the legacy they left behind is not forgotten.
Lest we forget.
The Hon John Eren MP
Minister for Veterans