ANZAC Day has come around again, and it’s become something of a tradition for me to mark it by blogging on the topic and finding some appropriate poem or piece of prose or quote to finish things off. It’s not that it’s a public holiday and I can have a lie in and a break from work, but because I have huge respect for the people whose sacrifices over a century ago led to April 25th being set aside for their recognition. As I’ve said more than once over at my own blog, Australians seem to get this in a way we Brits do not – one does not have to approve of this or that war to honour those who were sent to fight it and who gave time and blood doing so. And as Banjo Paterson reminds us below, Brits have also been among those who died for Australia, so it seems appropriate for this Brit, and I’d hope most other ex-pats here, to stand up as we hear the opening notes of Advance Australia Fair and to spend the two minute’s silence reflecting on those who have been maimed and those who have been silenced forever for the sake of others.
Australia takes her pen in hand,
To write a line to you,
To let you fellows understand,
How proud we are of you.
From shearing shed and cattle run,
From Broome to Hobsons Bay,
Each native-born Australian son,
Stands straighter up today.
The man who used to “hump his drum”,
On far-out Queensland runs,
Is fighting side by side with some
Tasmanian farmer’s sons.
The fisher-boys dropped sail and oar
To grimly stand the test,
Along that storm-swept Turkish shore,
With miners from the west.
The old state jealousies of yore
Are dead as Pharaoh’s sow,
We’re not State children any more
We’re all Australians now!
Our six-starred flag that used to fly,
Half-shyly to the breeze,
Unknown where older nations ply
Their trade on foreign seas,
Flies out to meet the morning blue
With Vict’ry at the prow;
For that’s the flag the Sydney flew,
The wide seas know it now!
The mettle that a race can show
Is proved with shot and steel,
And now we know what nations know
And feel what nations feel.
The honoured graves beneath the crest
Of Gaba Tepe hill,
May hold our bravest and our best,
But we have brave men still.
With all our petty quarrels done,
We have, through what you boys have done,
A history of our own.
Our old world diff’rences are dead,
Like weeds beneath the plough,
For English, Scotch, and Irish-bred,
They’re all Australians now!
So now we’ll toast the Third Brigade,
That led Australia’s van,
For never shall their glory fade
In minds Australian.
Fight on, fight on, unflinchingly,
Till right and justice reign.
Fight on, fight on, till Victory
Shall send you home again.
And with Australia’s flag shall fly
A spray of wattle bough,
To symbolise our unity,
We’re all Australians now.