From the Honest History vault for Anzac Day in the time of Coronavirus: Genevieve Jacobs at Wallendbeen 2014

We said earlier this week that the Coronavirus crisis perforce will give us a quieter Anzac Day in 2020. Quiet Anzac Days have not been unknown in the past and one such was at Wallendbeen, NSW, in 2014. Genevieve Jacobs, then an ABC broadcaster, was there and we reproduced her remarks on the Honest History site.

And perhaps we need to pause sometimes for less fanfare – and more silence [said Jacobs]. For less noise and more space. For the small and quiet moments of reflection about the price we all pay and what it is for.

Earlier this month (8 April) was the birthday of my grandmother, Wilhelmina Esther Ferrier, born 1886, who lost a brother and a brother-in-law at Gallipoli and a son in the RAF somewhere in Northern India in World War II. Next week is my mother’s birthday; she lost her brother. We of a certain generation have all got war histories; these histories sit more comfortably with the quiet Wallendbeen style of commemoration than with light-shows, massed flags, political speeches, and wide-eyed children being coached to appropriate levels of ‘reverence’.

The Honest History website contains over 600 posts tagged ‘Anzac analysed’. We welcome comments on any of them or on the current ‘From the Honest History vault in the time of Coronavirus’ post. See also, two more excavations from the vault: Anzackery and Anzac; Norfolk Island 2015.

David Stephens

19 April 2020

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