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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 - ANZAC, Australian History, heroism, identity, soldiers, war, 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


Students explore how and why civic and political rights, government policies and national identity have changed over time in Australia.

Students consider the influence of key events and ideas in Australia’s development as an independent, self-governing democracy from colonialisation to the present

Students identify ways in which Australian governments have been influenced by and responded to regional and global movements and events.

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, discuss with students their understandings about ANZAC Day. When is it? What do some people do on this day? Why? Why do some ignore/ disagree with ANZAC Day? Is this a reasonable attitude? Ask students to make some ANZAC biscuits for tasting in class.

2. Then, using the video clip, the internet and other sources, students investigate the historical background to World War 1 and especially ANZAC Day to develop a firm understanding of the event.

3. Using the video clip, discuss Jack Hazlitt’s experiences and the images created about the event. What is the most moving element of Jack’s experience? How useful and interesting are interviews of people, like Jack Hazlitt, who have experienced, first hand, a major event? First think of some other events where people have been interviewed. Are people able to give an accurate/ objective/realistic account of the event? Does it matter what interpretation they give?

4. Analyse how and why ANZAC Day is still celebrated in Australia and in Turkey. How is it celebrated? Undertake an internet search to investigate how our Australian government has responded to ANZAC day and the recent comments about ANZAC Day made by our Prime Minister. To what extent has ANZAC Day contributed to our national identity? How has it done this? Why? How and why has the remembrance of ANZAC Day contributed to debates about interpreting our history?

Further Resources


Alistair Thomson, Anzac Memories, Oxford University Press, Australia, 1995.

Go to Australian Biography