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Lest We Forget – the Spirit of the ANZACs

War Memorial Garden at suburban train station

I was only in primary school when I left Hong Kong to come to Australia.  I knew nothing of Australia’s history or the “ANZAC spirit” but to this day, I will never forget my first introduction to Australia’s involvement in WWI.  It was a rainy day in 1983 and our class was gathered in the school library.  There were a few beanbags scattered around the open space on the floor and some of us were quick enough to have been able to dive for one.  As we settled down, our teacher told us we were going to be watching an Australian film called “Gallipoli“.  Neither the title, nor the film’s now-famous director (Peter Weir) and stars (Mel Gibson and Mark Lee) meant anything to me, but as a TV and movie addict even way back then, I was happy to watch anything.  But by the end of the movie, I was sobbing, and as I looked around the room, so were my classmates, including the boys.  My appreciation for Australian history and its involvement in WWI would never be underestimated again.  In the 1980s, the Australian film and television industry was in love with the Aussie war stories and I devoured every film and mini-series that was made on the subject including “The ANZACs“, “The Lighthorsemen” and A Fortunate Life” based on the autobiography of A.B. Facey.

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