Friday, April 24, 2009

Australian History 102 - ANZAC Day

My Mama is very upset! The NSW government has decided that ANZAC Day is no longer a public holiday. This year, 25th April falls on Saturday, therefore Monday should be declared a holiday. But not this year. There goes the long weekend, she said. Brad and I love having Mama at home. We'll spend the day cuddling on the sofa, especially when it rains. Now, back to the history lesson.

Anzac Day is a national public holiday in Australia and New Zealand, and is commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I. Anzac Day is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga.

Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzacs. Anzac Day remains one of the most important national occasions of both Australia and New Zealand. This is a rare instance of two sovereign countries not only sharing the same national day, but making reference to both countries in its name.

The Gallipoli campaign:
When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a Federal Commonwealth for only 13 years. In 1915, Anzacs formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, under a plan by Winston Churchill to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The objective was to capture Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire and an ally of Germany. The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish Army commanded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk . What had been planned as a bold strike to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stale-mate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian and 2,700 New Zealand soldiers died. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war.
Though the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives of capturing Istanbul and knocking Turkey out of the war, the Australian and New Zealand troops' actions during the campaign bequeathed an intangible but powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as an "Anzac legend" became an important part of the national identity in both countries. This shaped the ways their citizens viewed both their past and their future.

Here's an interesting bit that has come out of everything Anzac. The ANZAC Biscuits!

There are a few theories on the origins of ANZAC biscuits (or ANZAC Cookies for Americans) but it is certain that they came about during the First World War, around 1914/15.

Some say that they started as biscuits made by the troops in the trenches with provisions they had at hand to relieve the boredom of their battle rations. And some say they came about due to resourceful of the women on the "home front" in an endeavour to make a treat for their loved ones that would survive the long journey by post to the war front.
There is even the suggestion that they originated from Scottish Oatmeal Cakes which is entirely possible. Whatever the origin, they have won the hearts of all Aussies the globe over as the pseudo National Biscuit.
And here is how to make them, it is dead simple. If I can make them, anyone can!
• 1 cup plain flour
• 1 cup rolled oats (regular oatmeal) uncooked
• 1 cup desiccated coconut
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup butter
• 2 tbsp golden syrup (or honey)
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 2 tbsp boiling water
• Combine the flour (sifted), oats, coconut and sugar in a bowl.
• Melt the butter and Golden Syrup (or honey) in a saucepan over a low heat..
• Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the water and add to the butter and Golden Syrup.
• Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and mix well.
• Spoon dollops of mixture, about the size of a walnut shell, onto a greased tin leaving as much space again between dollops to allow for spreading.
• Bake in a moderate oven, 180oC/350oF, for 15-20 minutes.
• Cool on a wire rack and seal in airtight containers.

For a little variety you may wish to add 2 teaspoons of ginger spice or even Wattle Seeds, a recent addition but don't ask me where to get them.

Mmmm, enjoy!

1 comment:


hi there, pussycat,

thank you for visiting my blog and left a paw print!

hope to see a lot of you!

take care!