Commemorate Differently this Anzac Day

The last time official Anzac Day services were not held was in 1919 due to the Spanish Influenza pandemic. This year we have many ways you and your family can commemorate differently and invoke the spirit of Anzac Day through the stories of Queenslanders in our collections and your participation.

Photographer unknown
Anzac Day procession through the streets of Brisbane, 1916
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
Negative no: 39805

Explore some of our significant First World War resources and collections such as the story of the Constance Mabel Keys, one of the first four Queensland nurses to embark for the First World War; or the digitised collection of Maurice George Delpratt, who was captured in Gallipoli and remained a prisoner of war until armistice, building the Baghdad railway and writing letters home posted by the Red Cross.

Delve into our digitised collections of the Second World War, with Lieutenant Mark Müller’s photographs of Americans in Queensland during the Second World War, and 460 photographs, mostly identified with captions, recording the entire wartime service of 2nd Lieutenant John Thomas Castles of H. Battery, 2nd Battalion, 94th CA (AA), United States Army. Lieutenant Castles’ service took him to Charleville, Townsville, Magnetic Island (Yunbenun) and Thursday Island (Waibene) with over 100 photographs of Horn Island (Ngurupai) in the Torres Strait where Castles was stationed for some time. Or fast forward to 1958 and watch rare footage of an Anzac Day parade on Manus Island, filmed by Ellen Jensen. Ellen and her husband Percy were from Mount Morgan and lived in Papua New Guinea, where Percy was the District Education Officer before serving there during the Second World War.

War correspondent Earl Crotchett getting his cast signed on the steps of the Queens Hotel in Townsville, 30 November 1942.
Mark Müller
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
Negative number: 99779

The Anzac Square Memorial Galleries team has compiled ideas for you and your family to commemorate differently and still mark the occasion with respect. Recite the ode, make a poppy or bake some Anzac biscuits with a recipe from 1921, and see the vintage 1930s Anzac Day covers of The Queenslander pictorial magazine. You can explore the Memorial Galleries online through a carousel of images showcasing the Word War I, World War II and Post World War II galleries.

ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee (Queensland)
Remember Anzac Day 25th April poster, ca.1950
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Browse the photographs in this Anzac Day Flickr Commons album, including images of Australians landing at Anzac Cove on that fateful day, and footage of Anzac Day marches in the 1930s held in Warwick and Brisbane. This album of Picture Postcards of the First World War  provides the intersection of two collecting manias, WWI memorabilia and deltiology - postcard collecting. They contribute to Queensland's social and photographic record of the conflict and the messages written on the back provide glimpses of the war on a personal level.

Unidentified photographer
Outback Anzac Day ceremonies, Boulia, Queensland, 1954
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
Image no: lbp00239

Did you know at least 1,250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people enlisted in the First World War, and around 300 of them enlisted in Queensland? Research during the centenary period uncovered many of their stories and this work continues. Join our free Black Diggers webinar on 24 April with Des Crump, Coordinator, Indigenous Languages, as he shares his research and resources of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in WW1.

You can also watch a filmed simulcast of the smash hit play written by Tom Wright and directed by Wesley Enoch, Black Diggers, performed by the Queensland Theatre Company in 2014. The performance of perfectly paced interweaving vignettes and narratives reveals the largely untold story of Indigenous service in the First World War.

Unidentified photographer
1st Reinforcements Queensland to Egypt, 1918
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
Negative no: 12532

Watch digital stories created especially for the Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a new generation project, a five year legacy initiative funded by the Queensland Government to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Watch the digital story recognising 33 nurses from Central Queensland who enlisted and served in Egypt, India, Pakistan, England and theatres across Europe. Discover the key role Queensland played in the origins of Anzac Day, which began with an underlying need to reassure the public that Australian losses had not been in vain despite the failure of the Gallipoli campaign, and has evolved into a day to reflect on the lives and liberties of our servicepeople, and our own.

We have stories in the collection sharing Queensland experiences, past and present. Lorraine Hatton is a Quandamooka woman who served for twenty years in the Australian Army. Lorraine talks about the difficulties in joining the army in the 1980s and her enjoyment being Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Memorial for Queensland. See army life through the lens of Sergeant Troy Rodgers from Townsville via 141 photographs documenting his experience serving in Afghanistan and East Timor.

Troy Rodgers
Young Afghan boy rides his bike past Townsville soldiers on foot patrol through the township of Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, 2009
31926, Troy Rodgers collection, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
Image no: 31926-0001-0028

Since 2014 we have held an annual Q ANZAC 100 symposium, exploring the impact of the First World War on Queensland life, and recordings of each one are available online. Experts gathered for presentations and panel discussions re-examining our understanding of the Great War, the impact on the homefront and the Anzac legacy. If you’ve wondered what Anzac Day means today, the How we Remember sessions brought together leading thinkers and commentators to discuss what we are choosing to remember and commemorate, and how new generations will identify with these stories.

Many of us feel a connection to Anzac Day as it’s an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by our loved ones. State Library of Queensland’s Find your Soldier resource will help you find names, portraits and other materials of over 30,000 Queensland soldiers.

Young soldier standing during the Anzac Day dawn service in Brisbane, Queensland, 2014
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
Image no: 29474-0001-0009

Though it will not be marked by crowds at dawn services or marches this year, Anzac Day remains our opportunity for personal and collective remembrance of those Queenslanders who have served and died in conflict. Explore the digital legacy of their lives through State Library of Queensland collections.

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