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Lockhart, Greg: Anglicans, ANZAC and the nation

Greg Lockhart

Anglicans, ANZAC and the nation‘, Pearls and Irritations, 10 June 2022

There has been a change in the way we understand the ANZAC tradition. Since 1945, the literature on ANZAC has led us to think of its ‘classical’ and ‘stoic’ sources as a ‘secular’ national religion. Darren Mitchell’s important Sydney University PhD Thesis ‘Anzac Rituals’ (2020) more reasonably demonstrates its British imperial religious ethos …

Mitchell’s study further leaves us in no doubt that the making of ANZAC Day embodied the colonial nation’s reflexive participation in a British imperial war … By recovering the Anglican and, in parallel, British imperial foundations for ANZAC Day from the secular nationalists [historians Geoffrey Serle, Ken Inglis, and Bill Gammage], Mitchell’s work confronts us in the fundamental arena of values both spiritual and strategic with the much deferred need to decolonise the nation.