Stanley, Peter: Anzac and our first war

Stanley, Peter

On Anzac Day, we remember the Great War but forget our first war‘, The Conversation, 25 April 2014

On Anzac Day, Australia remembers its war dead, with one tragic exception. Australia is apparently disinclined to acknowledge the fact or the importance of frontier conflicts.

The article contrasts the commemoration of Anzac Day, currently enhanced with the centenary, and the inadequate recognition of our Frontier Wars, the conflict between Indigenous Australians and white settlers in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. This neglect is particularly notable in the Australian War Memorial, where ‘[s]uccessive directors … have claimed – without foundation – that its governing act only allows it to deal with “overseas conflicts” or with “wars Australia has fought as a nation”’.

The values attributed to Anzac apply just as much to Indigenous warriors defending their land. ‘Accepting frontier conflict does not diminish Anzac, but it would prove that a century on from Gallipoli we had perhaps grown up as a nation.’ There was vigorous comment from readers.

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