Seal, Graham: Inventing Anzac

Seal, Graham

Inventing Anzac: The Digger and Modern Mythology, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 2004

Anzac and the digger lie at the centre of Australian national identity. Separate but intertwined, their respective traditions have generated and maintained a potent mythology that becomes more embedded in Australian culture each April 25. Through an examination of the folk traditions of the digger and the institutional tradition of Anzac, this book traces the origins and development of that mythology in the culture and everyday life of Australia in both war and peace.

Inventing Anzac draws on a variety of documentary, folkloric, literary and media sources to present a fresh view of the national mythology. This includes excavating the origins and development of Anzac Day itself, the distinctive culture of the digger and the continuation of digger lore into World War Two and Vietnam. The book concludes with a contemporary case study of the continuing power of Anzac to connect everyday Australian life and belief with the long-ago but not forgotten landings at a place called Gallipoli. (blurb)

‘Myths of any kind can only live when they produce meaning’, the author concludes. ‘The invented tradition of Anzac and the folk tradition of the digger continue to mean a great deal to the Australian peoples’. The strength of the book is in its distinguishing an ‘official’ and a ‘popular’ version of Anzac.

A review of the book by Captain Lachlan Mead. An extension of the material in the book about Amzac Cottage in Perth.


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