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Video clip synopsis – General John Monash strived to ensure soldiers that had fought in the Great War received due honour, recognition and assistance. He played a pivotal role in creating Anzac Day commemorations.
Year of production - 2008
Duration - 3min 14sec
Tags - ANZAC, Australian History, defence, documentary, Gallipoli, heritage, historical representations, leadership, media influence, Monash, representations of war, World War 1, see all tags


Anzac Day

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About the Video Clip


Anzac Day is an excerpt from the documentary Monash – The Forgotten Anzac, produced in 2008.

Monash – The Forgotten Anzac One of the most brilliant generals of World War I and an architect of Anzac Day, Sir John Monash helped create the Anzac legend by ensuring the courage of his men was enshrined in Australian history. Today he is all but forgotten. Monash – The Forgotten Anzac explores the character and achievements of an extraordinary figure in Australian history, the battles he fought both on and off the battlefield, and the prejudice he overcame to help win a war. Monash – The Forgotten Anzac is a Screen Australia Making History Production in association with 360 Degree Films. Produced with the assistance of Film Victoria. Developed and produced in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Special Thanks to the Australian War Memorial and the National Film and Sound Archive (of Australia).

Background Information


Sir John Monash (1865-1931) commanded troops during some of World War One’s most famous battles. He gained a reputation as a great military planner and strategist, which led to battlefield victories in France and Belgium and a knighthood.

These successes, however, were preceded by the terrible defeat suffered by the Australian and New Zealand forces under British command at Gallipoli, Turkey, now commemorated on Anzac Day.

Monash was a most unlikely Digger hero. Of Prussian-Jewish extraction, cultured, fussy, an organised, methodical disciplinarian to the point of obsessiveness, he was a middle-aged, overweight citizen-soldier with no active war experience when hostilities broke out in 1914. Yet he was the leader Australian soldiers needed both during and after the war.

With the withdrawal from the Turkish peninsula, Monash and most of the Australian forces were sent to the western front in France. They thought after Gallipoli the fields of France would be a picnic. They were wrong. The reality of industrialised warfare became apparent; mile upon mile of trenches, barbed wire, mud and extraordinarily heavy artillery. Through many trials and errors, the Australian Divisions were starting to become the hardened, intelligent fighting force which would prove so effective by 1918, when Monash and the AIF (Australian Imperial Forces) played a crucial role in defeating Germany on the western front.

After the war, when Monash and the AIF returned home to relative neglect, Monash strived to ensure soldiers received due honour, recognition and assistance. As part of his campaign he played a pivotal role in creating Anzac Day commemorations. Without Monash, this annual commemoration would most likely have faded into obscurity.

Classroom Activities

  1. Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War 1. On the morning of 25 April 1915 troops landed in Gallipoli, Turkey. There are no longer any living survivors of this campaign, but it is commemorated each year as ANZAC Day with parades, services and rituals.
    1. What is the meaning of the acronym ANZAC?
    2. Think about the most recent ANZAC Day. Brainstorm what you know about it.
      * How was it commemorated?
      *Who was involved and how?
      *Where did ANZAC Day events take place?
      *What key words do you hear during ANZAC Day by those involved in commemoration activities and by the media?
      *What symbols and music are associated with ANZAC Day?
    3. Imagine you are explaining the meaning of ANZAC Day to an overseas visitor. What would you say? Role play your exchange with a partner and then swap roles.
  2. In recent years the media has highlighted the ceremony in ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli. Increasingly young people are taking part in the Gallipoli ceremony. How is ANZAC Day relevant to people of your age group?

Further Resources


Screen Australia

Reserve Bank of Australia

Monash University Archives Online Exhibition

Australian War Memorial

Australian War Memorial – General Sir John Monash

Monash University