Australia and New Zealand are fast approaching the centenary of Anzac Day, a day widely considered by many as both countries’ truly national days.
Despite its centrality in our foundational national mythologies and despite the widespread popular observance of the day itself, a history of Anzac Day is yet to be written.
We have little understanding of how Anzac Day has changed over the years or how its observance has differed in city and country, across different regions and in the different cultural landscapes of Australia and New Zealand. What does this ever changing, ever renewing ritual say about ourselves?
Equally important, no one has attempted to analyse what Anzac Day means outside Australia – the messages our national observance on the day sends to the outside world; and how its mass commemoration in the UK, France and Turkey has fostered a sense of belonging for Australian communities abroad.
Amongst the intended aims and outcomes of this project are:
- A website recording the popular memory of Anzac Day in the lead up to the centenary of the landings, designed to bring the day’s history to life for schools and the general community
- A series of public forums explaining the changing meanings of Anzac Day. Connecting scholars with the wider community these forums will be hosted by Victoria’s Shrine of Remembrance
- A major public exhibition offering snapshots of how the day has been commemorated, revealing the ways individual communities lived with the aftermath of conflict and examining the role state, national and local memorials played in the making of Anzac memory
- A purpose built E-research facility, enabling the scholars across Australia and the world to pool their research findings and co author a definitive history of Anzac Day
- A partnership between Australia and Turkey, bringing both countries togetherin a shared research collaboration
- An international conference, debating the day’s significance, purposes and future
- Four PhD scholarships detailing the day’s observance and exploring change and continuity, innovation and tradition
- A series of collaborative articles in journals advancing the study of history, heritage and memory
- A major history of Anzac Day to be published by Cambridge University Press and designed to reach the widest possible audience.