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Jack Hazlitt - World War 1 Digger

Video clip synopsis – A World War 1 digger reflects on his work as a runner in the trenches at Gallipoli. Hopping across the trenches in full view of the Turkish snipers, the average life of a runner was 24 hours.
Year of production - 1991
Duration - 1min 35sec
Tags - Australian History, heroism, soldiers, World War 1, see all tags


Jack Hazlitt - World War 1 Digger

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About the Video Clip


Jack Hazlitt – World War 1 Digger is an excerpt from the program Jack Hazlitt (26 mins), an episode of Australian Biography Series 1 (7×26 mins), produced in 1991.

Jack Hazlitt: Born in Melbourne in 1897, Jack Hazlitt could be described as a “survivor’s survivor”. When war broke out in 1914, Jack lied about his age and enlisted in the Australian Infantry Forces. He survived the war, serving at Gallipoli and in France and Belgium. Jack Hazlitt was a daredevil, the archetypal Australian of a past era. His interview for Australian Biography was his last. He died in 1993, aged 96.

Australian Biography Series 1: The Australian Biography series profiles some of the most extraordinary Australians of our time. Many have had a major impact on the nation’s cultural, political and social life. All are remarkable and inspiring people who have reached a stage in their lives where they can look back and reflect. Through revealing in-depth interviews, they share their stories – of beginnings and challenges, landmarks and turning points. In so doing, they provide us with an invaluable archival record and a unique perspective on the roads we, as a country, have travelled.

Australian Biography Series 1 is a Film Australia National Interest Program.

Curriculum Focus


This digital resource can be used to achieve the following outcomes:
H.1 A student demonstrates understanding of how relationships between composer, responder, text and context shape meaning.
H.5 A student demonstrates understanding of how audience and purpose affect the language and structure of texts.
H.7 A student analyses the effect of technology on meaning.
H.11 A student analyses and synthesises information and ideas into sustained and logical argument for a range of purposes and audiences.
H.12 A student draws upon the imagination to transform experience and ideas into texts, demonstrating control of language.

This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies website for more information.

Background Information


As part of Australia’s involvement in World War I, in 1915 Australian troops landed as part of an allied invasion force on the Gallipoli peninsula, in Turkey.

The aim was for the troops to move overland to the Turkish capital, Constantinople (now Istanbul) and defeat the Turkish forces. This would have taken Turkey out of the war and allowed the Allies to support Russia against Germany.

The landing was at dawn on 25 April, and the Australians and New Zealanders landed at a place they named Anzac Cove. The Turkish forces resisted the invasion and the Allied troops were not able to progress over the Gallipoli peninsula. In December the Australians were withdrawn.

Though Gallipoli was a military defeat, Australians believed that their troops had shown tremendous skill and courage, and that Australia had proven itself worthy as a nation. April 25 is celebrated each year as one of Australia’s most important national days.

Classroom Activities

  1. Before viewing the video clip, write a 100-word description of your image of Anzac Day and the first Anzacs.
    1. What aspect of the fighting does Jack Hazlitt describe in the video clip?
    2. Look back at your description of Anzac Day and state how Jack’s experiences fit or don’t fit your image.
    3. List five questions that you would have liked to ask Jack about his wartime experiences.
  2. Write a 500-word multimodal presentation on Jack Hazlitt for your class. (visual images and script)
    1. Decide the message you want to convey about Jack Hazlitt and war.
    2. List the words that describe him.
    3. Select ten visual images that tell the story of Jack Hazlitt and war.
    4. Write your script incorporating your visual images.
  3. Imagine that you have to present a 300-word formal Anzac Day address on the theme, ‘Lest we forget’.
    1. Decide your theme or message.
    2. List your main points
    3. Use a quote or description of war action at the start of your speech.
    4. Include a conclusion that makes a strong statement about war.

Literacy Activity: Focus= Listening / Responding

  1. What was the job of a ‘runner’? (1 mark)
  2. Why wasn’t the life of a runner a happy one? (1 mark)
  3. What caused the sound of a bee? (1 mark)
  4. What information given by the speaker is confirmed by the inclusion of the original black and white footage of the soldiers fighting? (2 marks)

Further Resources


Drama Feature
Peter Weir (director), Gallipoli, Australian Film Commission, 1981

George Johnston, My Brother Jack, Harper Collins, Australia, 1964
David Malouf, Fly Away Peter, Penguin, Australia, 1982
John Silkin, The Penguin Book of World War 1 Poetry, Penguin, Australia, 1997

Go to Australian Biography