Daley, Paul: Indigenous Diggers and Anzackery

Daley, Paul

Indigenous Diggers and the new age of Anzackery‘, Meanjin, 2 April 2015

Contrasts the commemorative festival with the treatment of an atypical Indigenous Digger, caught between cultures. The opening paragraphs are a good summary of the history of the concept Anzackery and how it is manifested today.

In 1967 the historian Geoffrey Serle conjured a superb description of the overblown nationalistic hyperbole that had attached, limpet-like, to Anzac during his postwar youth: Anzackery. What a word for the bombastic myth making that has culturally amplified and enshrined Australia‚Äôs part in the botched invasion and attempted occupation of a small finger of the Ottoman Empire on 25 April 1915 …

During the four-year centenary of the First World War, Australia will spend at least $300 million commemorating its small part, globally speaking, in the conflict rather than considering the wider implications of an international conflagration that killed at least 16 million people. Parochially, Australia calls its festival “Anzac 100” and it is giving rise to all manner of tacky merchandise, from Anzac biscuits and watches to key rings, alcohol and golf balls, not to mention a flood of questionable books, art, poetry and song. There will be re-creations, sporting events and concerts.

The article also has a reference to the use of Anzac as a rallying cry during the Cronulla riot of 2005. A shorter version of this Meanjin article, with relatively more on Douglas Grant, appeared in Guardian Australia and we noted it here (update 26 March 2015).

 

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