Stanley, Peter: Anzac Day reflects changing face of the nation

Peter Stanley

Anzac Day reflects changing face of the nation‘, The Australian, 24 April 2023 (pdf from our subscription – excluding comments)

Historian and Heritage Guardian Peter Stanley ranges widely over the significance of Anzac Day, referring to early Anzac Days, how its significance has waxed and waned over the decades, and how more recent arrivals in Australia relate to the day. He also touches on the discovery of the wreck of the Montevideo Maru and AUKUS.

Halfway down the article, however, Stanley suggests Anzac Day should embrace all our wars, including the Frontier Wars, and notes the beginnings of the campaign by him and others to have the Australian War Memorial properly recognise and commemorate the Frontier Wars.

We are also now seeing calls that Anzac Day should embrace all of Australia’s wars, not just those fought overseas, but also the ‘Australian Wars’ fought for the possession of this continent between 1788 and, say, 1928. They brought the deaths of at least as many Indigenous people as Australia lost in one or another of the world wars.

A coalition of informed and impassioned activists (including me) are urging that the Australian War Memorial honours the commitment made last year by its former director, Brendan Nelson, to recognise frontier conflict, perhaps Australia’s most costly war. A recent poll of Canberra Times readers revealed that 68 per cent favoured the change: the question is now ‘how’, not ‘whether’.

This section of the article provoked most of the more than one hundred comments received, which were notable for their vehemence and the familiarity of their tropes (down with ‘woke’, don’t rewrite history, this is the usual stuff from the left and the people who hate Australia, the War Memorial is for commemorating people who fought for Australia, what Frontier Wars?).

On the Montevideo Maru.

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One comment on “Stanley, Peter: Anzac Day reflects changing face of the nation
  1. Leighton View says:

    It’s the “Australian”, so what does one expect? Increasingly that is one extremely ill-named publication.

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