Tuesday, October 13, 2015

100 years ago today

One hundred years ago today the words 'Anzac Day' were used for the first time. For the year 1915 South Australia's Eight Hour Day Celebrations were renamed 'Anzac Day'. The name had been suggested by a Prospect draper, Robert Wheeler. All money raised was donated to the Wounded Soldiers Fund. The word 'Anzac' was only just starting to be commonly used.

The day began with a procession that included injured veterans back home from Egypt and Gallipoli and 5000 new AIF recruits. But as the main goal was to raise funds and attract a large crowd there were also a lot of entertaining activities at Adelaide Oval after the procession. Up to 20,000 people attended those activities at the oval.

Although this is not the ANZAC Day we know today it did have a number of elements that are still a part of our current commemoration. 

"ANZAC Day is a binary of death and sacrifice, and a celebration of life and survival"
Dr. Janice Pavils.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Great Tramway Smash

The First Anzac Day was held in Adelaide on 13 October 1915 replacing the traditional Eight Hour Day holiday for one year only. A long procession was the central commemorative activity of the day. The procession was lead by the Naval Brigade followed by wounded veterans home from Gallipoli and Egypt and nearly 5000 new AIF recruits.
 
After the march concluded people gathered at Adelaide Oval for sports and entertainment. The main focus of the day was raising funds for the wounded soldiers and in an effort to attract a large crowd to the oval The Great Tramway Smash had been promoted in the newspapers as "the biggest sensation ever seen in Adelaide".  The crowd in attendance was estimated to be 20,000.

From the Advertiser 14 October 1915 "Extensive arrangements were made to arrange the smash - a real American novelty. When it was proposed the general manager of the Tramways Trust (Mr. W. G. T. Goodman) offered to assist in the matter. Two obsolete horse tramcars were hooked at either end on platforms about 30 ft. high. The track over which they were to speed dipped from each platform, and was almost level with the ground in the middle. Thousands of eyes were strained on the cars as they were started on their last run. As each second passed the cars gathered more speed. The huge crowd waited in suppressed excitement, as the cars bolted towards each other at a speed of about 16 miles per hour. The effect of the collision was startling. Explosions of detonators placed on the rails added to the din. The cars burst into flames immediately the impact took place, this having previously been arranged for. Fifteen thousand people were thrilled by an incident rarely seen.  Extensive damage was done when the cars were piled against each other. Nearly eight tons of wood and iron were involved in the collision. To the ordinary   eyewitness it was like watching two tramcars melt into a shapeless mass of twisted iron and splintered wood. The flames completed the total destruction of the cars."

                              Photographs from South Australian State Library collection.


 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

100 Year Anniversary Film Screening and Public Forum

On 13 October 1915 the people of South Australia voted to rename celebrations for the 8 Hour Day 'Anzac Day' in honour of soldiers wounded in the First World War. The event included a procession through Adelaide and carnival at Adelaide Oval. Now in 2015 we remember that first Anzac Day.

Join RSL SA, The University of Adelaide and History SA for a forum and film screening reflecting on the 100 year anniversary of the first Anzac Day. Drill Hall, Torrens Training Depot, Victoria Dve., Adelaide South Australia. Free car parking from 5pm

Bookings essential: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/first-anzac-day-tickets-18709352176 
  
Tuesday 13 October
5.30pm - Forum - Keith Conlon - MC
Vesna Drapac, Department of History, The University of Adelaide - Welcome
Allison Russell, History SA - A World Away: South Australia's War
Janice Pavils, Author & Historian - Patriotism Before Politics: Labour's Loyalty
Bernard Whimpress, Writer & Historian - Adelaide Oval beyond Sport, 1915-1918
Ash Starkey, film maker - The making of the film The First Anzac Day
Q&A discussion
Performance - 'Song of the 10th Battalion', by Hooper Brewster Jones
6.50pm - Interval for drinks & nibbles


7.20pm Screening of The First Anzac Day
(Those attending the film screening are asked to give a gold coin donation to RSL-SA)


Enquiries can be directed to RSL-SA, ph: 8100 7300 or History SA, ph: 8203 9888



Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Great War at Home - History SA event

For those in Adelaide, this Saturday I'll be screening some excerpts and talking about 'The First Anzac Day' for half an hour at 11.30am, 9 May 2015. 
My presentation is part of a two day event, 'The Great War at Home', presented by History SA in the Drill Hall, Torrens Parade Ground. Lots of informative activities, all FREE! 

Follow this link for more information:


Part of the procession on the first Anzac Day. Photograph: State Library of South Australia collection.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

10th Battalion casualties 29 April 1915

After four days of continuous fighting following the Gallipoli dawn landing, the 10th Battalion was relieved during the night of April 28th 1915.  In the book 'The Fighting 10th' Cecil B. Lock wrote "The men of the 10th were utterly exhausted, and required proper food and rest". 

In the early hours of the morning of the 29th the 10th Battalion bivouacked at Shell Green. Close to half the men were listed as casualties.  
Lest We Forget.



Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Morphettville Racecourse Training Camp

The 10th Battalion was the first infantry battalion raised in South Australian for service during the Great War. On August 19th 1914 the Morphettville Racecourse Training Camp opened. The first recruits of the 10th Battalion arrived that day and the only food available to them was bread and jam. Training was carried out at the camp until the battalion departed for Egypt on 20 October 1914.  The men didn't know where they were headed and most likely many of them would never have heard of Gallipoli.

Known as The Fighting 10th, the 10th battalion was one of the first ashore at Gallipoli and fought in many of the worst battles of the Western Front.  Their story forms part of The First Anzac Day
documentary.

One of my goals in making this film was to highlight the efforts of South Australians during World War 1, many of which I was unaware of. When I first started work on the film I had no knowledge of the Morphettville Racecourse Training Camp, I only live a few hundred metres from it.
Thank you for your interest, Ash Starkey.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Free premiere screening of The First Anzac Day

 
Free premiere screening of 'The First Anzac Day' in the historic St Peters Town Hall, 101 Payneham Rd, St Peters at 7.00pm on Thursday 23 April 2015.

This hour long documentary follows the formation of South the 10th Battalion AIF, what became of the Section 1 10th Battalion scouts and explores The First Anzac Day.
For further information or to register to attend the 7.00pm screening please email Ash Starkey ash@starkey.net.au contact  0417 814 521.
This screening is presented by the City of Norwood, Payneham & St Peters Cultural Heritage Program.
 
The First Anzac Day was produced by award winning South Australian filmmaker Ash Starkey of Starkeyz productions with support from the ANZAC Day Commemoration fund.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The First Anzac Day film trailer

The 10th Battalion was the first infantry battalion raised in South Australia for service during The Great War, they were at the head of the covering force for the Anzac Cove (near Gaba Tepe) landing and amongst the first ashore, they fought in many of the worst battles of the Western Front. During the early days of the war the battalion became known as 'The Fighting 10th'.

In the darkness and chaos of the landing two 10th Battalion scouts, Arthur Blackburn and Philip Robin, made it across the peninsula to their unit’s objective Scrubby Knoll. No allied soldier would set foot there again during the entire campaign.

Meanwhile Australians were finding ways to raise funds, care for the wounded and honour the dead. On the 13th of October 1915 South Australia's Eight Hour Day was renamed Anzac Day. A huge procession was held that included wounded veterans and 5000 AIF soldiers. Proceeds from the day’s events were donated to the Wounded Soldiers Fund. In an effort to attract a big crowd a number of sports and novelty events were held on Adelaide Oval after the procession. The day culminated with two obsolete horse drawn trams being crashed into each other and exploded in front of a crowd of 20,000.
 
This 66 minute film follows the formation of the 10th Battalion, what became of the scouts and explores The First Anzac Day.

DVD extras (28 mins) 
1) Arthur Blackburn V.C.
2) John Gordon M.C.
3)Dardanelles Cenotaph (the first ANZAC memorial in the Commonwealth )
4) The Trams and the Lost Film of 'The First Anzac Day'

Purchase on DVD using Paypal



Or contact me directly for an invoice or EFT bank details
click here to email Ash Starkey.  
Watch the trailer 



The First Anzac Day was produced with the support of the
ANZAC Day Commemoration Fund.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

10th Battalion Scouts Gallipoli

The 10th Battalion was the first South Australian infantry battalion to serve in The Great War. The 10th Battalion Scouts (No. 1 section A coy.) where amongst the first men to set foot ashore at Gallipoli.

This photograph from the South Australian State Library was taken at the Morphettville Racecourse Training Camp around September 1914.  It shows nine of the ten 10th Battalion No.1 section scouts. 

Thomas Whyte, Francis Stokes, Malcolm Teesdale-Smith and Philip Robin were all killed in action during the first three days of the Gallipoli campaign.  Erich Meldrum survived the landing, but took his own life when he returned home shortly after. Jose was killed on the Western Front.  

Only three of these men survived the Gallipoli campaign. Guy Fisher returned to the war to serve in other theatres. Arthur Blackburn was honoured with a Victoria Cross for his services at Pozieres and John Rutherford Gordon joined the Royal Flying Corps and was honoured with a Military Cross for his ground attack actions during the German March/April 1918 offensives.  A special thank you to John's son, Bruce Gordon.

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The First Anzac Day


On the 13th of October 1915 Adelaide’s Eight Hour Day was renamed Anzac Day for one year. All proceeds were donated to the Wounded Soldiers Fund.  A contest had been run to choose a suitable name to honour the soldiers fighting in the Dardanelles.  Anzac Day was chosen, it had been submitted by a Prospect draper, Robert Wheeler. This event was the first time the words 'Anzac Day' were used.
A huge procession featured 13 car loads of wounded veterans home from Gallipoli and nearly 5000 AIF soldiers who were about to leave for the war marched.
After the procession a crowd of 20,000 gathered at Adelaide Oval for an afternoon of entertainment and sporting events. The day culminated with two obsolete horse drawn trams being crashed into each other and exploded. This had been heavily advertised and billed as 'American style entertainment'. Novel elements such as the tram crash were included to attract a large crowd who would hopefully donate to the Wounded Soldiers Fund.
This photograph of the troops marching in the procession was published in The Adelaide Chronicle.
If you'd like to stay informed about The First Anzac Day documentary
please follow this page or
Click here to email Ash Starkey
 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The first ANZAC memorial in the Commonwealth

On Wattle Day, 7 September 1915, the Dardanelles Cenotaph was unveiled in Adelaide's South Parklands by the Australian Governor-General, Sir Munro Ferguson, who stated, "this inititaive had caused Adelaide to be the first city, in the Commonwealth, to erect a memorial to the landing of the troops at Gallipoli." 

The word ANZAC was not yet part of popular lexicon and the inscription on the Cenotaph commemorates Australasian Soldiers.

Rather than a memorial to war the Cenotaph is a substitute head stone where family members could mourn their dead whose bodies never came home.

The Dardanelles Cenotaph was erected and funded by the Wattle Day League and located in an area known as Wattle Grove. The plan was for a Wattle tree to be planted for each dead soldier. This was kept up for many years but during the 1940s the area had fallen into disrepair and the Cenotaoh was moved to it's current location in the Lundie Gardens, South Terrace, Adelaide.

The Dardanelles Cenotaph has been a neglected memorial for many years, but a remembrance service was held on 7 Sept 2014 to commemorate the 99th anniversary. This photograph combines the 1915 unveiling with the anniversary service.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Arthur Blackburn V.C. and his daughter Margie Forbes

On the morning of the Gallipoli landing two young 10th Battalion scouts, Arthur Blackburn and Philip Robin, where amongst the first men to set foot ashore.  Using old Turkish trench lines and gullies they had soon made it across the peninsula to their unit's objective, Scrubby Knoll on the Third Ridge, and they made it back to the front line.  Shortly after Mustafa Kemal, Commander of the Turkish 19th Division established his headquarters on Scrubby Knoll, no allied soldier would set foot on Scrubby Knoll again during the entire campaign. 
Later, on the Western Front at Pozieres, Arthur Blackburn became the first South Australian to be honoured with the Victoria Cross during the great war.  
In World War 2 Blackburn fought in Syria and was then made a Brigadier in charge of Blackforce in Java. Under-manned and under-resourced he and his men were taken as prisoner of war.  Arthur Blackburn survived approximately four years in prison camps.

Arthur Blackburn and Philp Robin's exploits are part of the documentary The First Anzac Day, during  filming I was honoured to interview Arthur Blackburn's daughter, Margie Forbes (pictured).

If you'd like to stay informed about this documentary please follow this page or
email Ash Starkey Click here to write to me.



Departure of the 10th Battalion 20 October 1914

The 10th Battalion was the first infantry battalion raised in South Australia for service during The Great War. On the 19th of August 1914 the Morphettville Racecourse Training Camp opened.  The first recruits of the 10th Battalion arrived that day and the only food available to them was bread and jam. In late October the men of the 10th boarded the train at Morphettville station and headed for Outer Harbour where they embarked for Egypt on the Ascanius.

The 10th battalion were at the head of the covering force for the Gallipoli (Gaba Tepe) landing and amongst the first ashore, they fought in many of the worst battles of the Western Front.
Their story forms part of the documentary The First Anzac Day

If you'd like to stay informed about this documentary please follow this page
or email Ash Starkey
Click here to write to me.