Australia is often dubbed The Lucky Country. There is no doubt that modern Australians are very lucky to be living in this wonderful country but luck is not what has made Australia what it is today. The freedom we enjoy today was hard fought and many brave men and women paid the ultimate sacrifice to uphold the values we hold dear. ANZAC day is one of the most important national occasions and marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by The ANZACs in WWI in 1915. Tomorrow many Australians (and Kiwi’s!) will remember our fallen diggers with a dawn service, a beer or two (or more!) and of course a game of two up. Today I’m sharing a little bit of our history and traditions, some fashion (of course!) and a bunch of Aussie recipes that celebrate the ANZAC spirit. We Shall Remember Them. Lest We Forget. Read on for all the details ….
The First ANZACs
When WW1 broke out in 1914 Australia had only been a federated nation for 13 years and the government of the day was eager to establish a worldwide reputation. The outbreak of war was greeted with enthusiasm and even though the population was only 4.9 million (similar to Sydney today), 416,809 enlisted. In 1914 the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) was established. At dawn on 25 April 1915, the first ANZACs landed in Gallipoli where they were met with fierce resistance by the Turkish. What had been intended to be a easy victory quickly became a stalemate which cost many lives and lasted eight months. The last ANZAC was evacuated on 20 December 2015 and even though the Gallipoli campaign failed its military objectives it had a profound impact on Australians and was the birth of the ANZAC spirit which shaped the way Australians viewed both their past and their future. WWI remains the most costly conflict Australia has participated in with circa 60,000 losing their lives and a further 156,000 wounded, gassed or taken prisoner.
April 25 became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who died in the war. In 1916 marches were held all over Australia and in the Sydney convoys of cars carried soldiers wounded in Gallipoli and their nurses. In 1927, for the first time, every state observed some form of public holiday on Anzac Day. By the mid-1930s all the rituals we now associate with the day – dawn vigils, marches, memorial services, reunions, two-up games – were firmly established as part of Anzac Day culture. With the coming of the Second World War, Anzac Day also served to commemorate the lives of Australians who died in that war. In subsequent years the meaning of the day has been further broadened to include those who were killed in all the military operations in which Australia has been involved.
Poppies – The Flanders poppy associated with Remembrance Day (11 November) is increasingly being used as part of Anzac Day observances. During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium, and were said to bloom so vividly red because of the blood from fallen soldiers which soaked the ground.
1914 – 1918
If you were around at the time of our first ANZACs your clothes would have had a strong Edwardian influence, think lacy shirtwaists and long, narrow skirts ending at the instep. Hobble skirts and tunic effects were popular. Fashion in Australia was still dictated by Paris and war or no war the ladies of the day still managed to show their style. In 1915, hemlines crept upwards and outrageously landed a good 8 inches from the ground! Skirts were fuller and bell-shaped and up top wide collars and sloping shoulders were the norm. Critics denounced the look as unnecessarily wasteful at a time when conversing cloth was encouraged.
On My Menu
Mr SFH is not working tomorrow (for a change!) so I’m planning to cook up a storm. The Enabler and The Co-Conspirator are coming (sans kids Yippee!!!) and I’m serving lamb roast (this recipe call for a leg but I’m using a boneless leg – I wanted back strap but the local butcher’s all thwarted me! And I’m using brocollini rather than peas.) with garlic and rosemary (see significance above), Curtis Stone’s pumpkin and pine nuts (don’t you just love him!) and yummy damper to soak up the gravy. Could it get any more Aussie? Well, yes it could because for dessert I’m going to try my hand at this ANZAC Cheesecake. How good does it look? The crumb for the base is based on an ANZAC biscuit recipe (see below). Oh and I’m throwing in some fab Kiwi Sauv Blanc as a nod to our neighbours across the straight. I’ll add some photos of my creations tomorrow so you can see how it all panned out.
More Aussie Recipes
Tim Tam Cake – Based on the classic Australian biscuit. The Co-Conspirator made this a while back. It is RICH! Yummm!
Seafood Platter – I don’t eat seafood but if you are so inclined Australia is blessed with some of the best in the world. I’m a Sydney girl so couldn’t resist this very local dish of Balmain bugs and Sydney Rock Oysters.
Macadamia Encrusted Barramundi – Both native to Australia and I’m told combine beautifully,
Kangaroo with Warrigal Greens – Not sure I could eat a national icon. What about you?
Beer Can Chicken – Make sure you use Aussie beer!