Tag Archives: Remembrance

A tribute to the Australian men and women who fought in overseas wars hoping for a safer Australia

Today is a powerfully important day in Australia’s psyche. It is ANZAC Day; a day of remembrance and commemoration. In particular, this year’s ANZAC day represents 100 years since our defence forces arrived on the beaches at Gallipoli, Turkey near the beginning of World War 1. In 1914, an officer created the acronym ANZAC to register the coming together of two sets of national troops: the AUSTRALIAN and NEW ZEALAND ARMY CORPS. From then on and because of the actions of those men and women during the first World War, ANZAC has come to mean mateship and extraordinary personal and team efforts in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. We talk about the ANZAC spirit.

From dawn services, to town and city parades, to commemoration services at cenotaphs, today Australians will watch, march, place floral wreaths or otherwise be involved. We will remember those who have lost their lives, been injured or otherwise involved not only in World War 1 but also in all other arenas of war where Australians have travelled to help out another country.

From the beginning of last century, most towns built cenotaphs or other memorials in prominent places. This blog, during the walk along the Derwent River, has shown photos of structures built for such commemoration purposes. It seems appropriate to reshow a selection.

On Stage 1 when walking near the mouth of the river on the eastern shore, I found the Lone Pine memorial standing proudly.  Today, ex-servicemen will gather there to remember the sacrifices of those who stormed the beaches at Gallipoli and went on to battle it out at Lone Pine. ‘Lest we forget’.

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The South Arm cenotaph.

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The Memorial Reserve at Bridgewater

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The Australian Tracker and War Dogs Memorial at Lowestoft Bay

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The Hobart City cenotaph on the Domain

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One war memorial, which I am yet to see, is located at Gretna a small rural town located inland from New Norfolk. The Gretna war memorial was built after World War I and sits on a hill overlooking the Derwent River. The spectacular photo below is by Lex Prebski and was taken from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-22/11-unsung-war-memorials-to-see-in-tasmania-this-anzac-weekend/6401618

Lex Prebski photo of Gretna war memorial

It is interesting that the two most special days on the Australian calender have an element of doing wrong to others: Australia Day on the 26 January celebrates settlement of Australia by foreigners and the displacement of the local indigenous peoples; and Anzac Day on 25 April commemorates the death and activity of thousands of Australian men and women fighting other nationals in wars outside Australia not of our making. The positive sides of these two days are equally clear to me: Australia Day is the chance for everyone who lives in  Australia to enjoy the fact we have a safe and friendly country; Anzac Day offers the chance to value people who had in the past or have currently, a belief and act on it hoping to make the world a safer place for everyone.

Major milestone achieved on 8th stage of my walk along the Derwent River

Originally, I decided to walk the length of Tasmania’s Derwent River without research, foreknowledge of the challenges, and without determining the possible milestones.

With hindsight, actually starting the walk and reaching the Bridgewater Bridge were my two main milestones held subconsciously and not recognised at the time.

In late August this year I started at the southern tip of the South Arm peninsula (Cape Direction) and today I have not only reached the Bridgewater Bridge but crossed it and started the walk back towards the mouth of the Derwent River on the western shore.

I am rather amazed that such a thing is possible; to walk such a distance in this day and age and to do so for pleasure doesn’t seem quite real. And yet it is truly possible, even when my feet feel permanently crippled and I want to crawl. Just one foot after the other and it doesn’t matter how long it takes me to put one foot in front of the other. It only matters that I keep doing it. And then and only then can such milestones as today’s be achieved.  And celebrated, which I am about to do.

I was also mindful that today Australia marked the ANZAC soldiers killed and injured in the World Wars and others more recently with Remembrance ceremonies and a minute’s silence across the nation at 11am (on the 11th day of the 11th month). I have nothing to complain about and only much for which to be grateful. The photo below was taken close to the Bridgewater Bridge on the eastern shore.

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Over the coming days, I will write detailed postings of today’s walks through the suburbs of Old Beach, Herdsmans Cove, Bridgewater and starting into Granton South; the areas that I have passed and the trails that I have followed. For now it is enough to know that I have walked yet again, and the countryside and cityside has simply rolled along beside me.

Today I was away from home for almost 9 hours partly because the walking area was relatively difficult to access and leave from by public transport. Some waiting and bus changes were required. Of these hours, just under 5 hours were involved with walking from the starting point in Old Beach to the start of the Bridge, and 1/2 hour was involved from the Granton end of the Bridgewater causeway until I jumped on a bus somewhere in Granton South. Including crossing the Bridge, I walked approximately 16 kms.  Approximately 14 and1/4 kms on the eastern shore, and 3/4 km on the western shore by the Derwent River. So far I have walked 93 kilometres.

At the end of the 7th stage of my walk I had covered 34kms of the length of the Derwent River. Add another 4.5kms for today’s 8th stage and the total distance from the mouth of the Derwent River to the Bridge on the eastern shore is 38.5 kms as ‘a crow might fly’ more or less straight down the centre of the River (by my reckoning – perhaps others will argue). The length covered today of the Derwent River from the Bridge southwards on the western shore is about 1/2km.

Before each stage of my walks along the Derwent River, I have been somewhat nervous about how everything will go and how my body will hold up, yet there has never been any event or location that has turned out to be a problem. My walks have been ‘smooth sailing’. This morning I was particularly anxious because of the less savoury activities of some of the people who live in Herdsmans Cove and Bridgewater. I was also thinking about Tasmania’s ‘ice’ epidemic and remembering that some addicts can go for 7 or more days without sleep and therefore can be totally irrational. I was hoping not to encounter any unpleasantness and I didn’t. So I am delighted to report that today’s walk was safe, beautiful and calm. Quite marvellous in its simplicity.

The photo below is a close up of wattle blossom. The seductive heady perfume surrounded me most of the day.

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