Honest History has tracked the tortuous path of Camp Gallipoli (background or use our Search engine) which, like the original Gallipoli venture, may have started with the best of intentions among at least some of its promoters – though even that is hard to establish – but has irretrievably (surely) now come a gutser. Perhaps the final nail in the Camp Gallipoli coffin has been hammered in – this story deserves more than one metaphor – by the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission, which has revoked Camp Gallipoli’s charitable status, which affects its ability to claim tax breaks. (Official paperwork from the Commission.)
Previously Camp Gallipoli had been investigated by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, deserted by board members, done over by Adelaide commercial television, been sued by a former associate, been accused of pocketing money that should have been donated to charities, and been found wanting by many of its customers. It had lots of celebrity support, some remunerated, some not, and drew good numbers of people to its events, though less than it hoped.
Camp Gallipoli remained of interest to Honest History because of the apparent passion of its founder, Chris Fox – who seemed convinced in our conversations with him and in media remarks that the moral fibre of young Australians would be given a boost by an expensive dose of Anzac under the stars – and because the Australian War Memorial had a passing acquaintance with it, an acquaintance which it must surely now regret.
Gallipoli and Anzac as concepts have persisted. Camp Gallipoli, on the other hand, should not persist and it should not be missed. But, you never know, Mr Fox remains confident …
20 December 2016