Resting for an Eternity

IT RAINED at Villers Bretonneux on November 11 as if the leaden skies were weeping, remembering unimaginable horrors 100 years before.

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The long rows of headstones at Australia’s World War I National Memorial are a stark reminder of those horrors and the huge price that a generation paid in the war that was supposed to end all wars.

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Virtual Reality Brings Australian Remembrance Trail to Life

VIRTUAL reality technology and stunning 360-degree drone footage are bringing the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front to Australians across the world, through an Anzac 360 app featuring interactive videos.
download 16The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Darren Chester, today launched the new app at the Sir John Monash Centre in France.
“While Gallipoli will be forever etched in our nation’s history, it was right here on the Western Front that we suffered our greatest losses during the First World War,” Mr Chester said.
“This new app and videos, developed in partnership with News Corp Australia and produced by Grainger Films, will allow all Australians, including our next generation of school children, to experience these sites from their classroom or at home in their living room.
“Most importantly, it allows those who cannot visit these sites in person the opportunity to feel like a visitor, but at the same time inspiring others to travel over here to France, or across the border in Belgium.”
“The partnership with News Corp Australia will allow us to take viewers on a journey by exploring Australia’s story on the Western Front through a present day lens and technology.”
Eight key sites and battles are explained, highlighting the challenges our troops faced some 100 years ago, from the well positioned enemy to the tactical decisions that had to be made, or moments of bravery that resulted in a Victoria Cross.
The clips merge 360-degree aerial and ground footage from the present day with period imagery, graphics and more.
“This year we have seen our nation commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battles in Le Hamel and Villers-Bretonneux, and also mark the opening of the Sir John Monash Centre, which covers just some of the topics and sites featured in these videos,” Mr Chester said.
“I encourage all Australians to download the app and view the videos, learn more about the Australian Remembrance Trail and in doing so, never forgetting our troops and what they did right here on the Western Front,” Mr Chester said.
The app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play- search Anzac 360.

10th November 2018

Who Do You Remember During a Minute’s Silence?

IN the lead-up to Remembrance Day, Australians are being encouraged to take a moment to reflect on who they will be thinking about during the minute’s silence at 11am on 11 November and share it using the hashtag, #1MS (1 Minute’s Silence).

download 16As part of promoting #1MS, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC Darren Chester joined well-known Australians in expressing why they stop for a minute, including Cate and Bronte Campbell, Johnathan Thurston, Dan Sultan, Les Hill, Curtis McGrath and Bree Bailie, a current serving member of the Australian Defence Force.
“Remembrance Day is special to Australians, young and old, for many different reasons and sharing the stories is incredibly important,” Mr Chester said.
“I have been privileged in my role to attend several commemorative services and listen to the stories of veterans and family members, including who they are commemorating and what they think about during the minute’s silence.
“Many Australians have an ancestor or relative who has served or died in wars, conflicts and on peacekeeping operations and it is this deep personal connection that they remember.
“Others don’t have this personal connection, but stand in silent gratitude to those who sacrificed so much for our nation over the last century.”
This Remembrance Day marks the centenary of the First World War Armistice — the day the guns on the Western Front fell silent and the greatest war the modern world had ever seen was all but over.
“While this year marks this significant milestone, as a nation we need to ensure the custom of observing a minute of silence continues now and in to the future,” Mr Chester said.
“Remembrance Day is a time for us as a nation to unite in a minute of solemn respect and admiration for those who served and died in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
“I strongly encourage all Australians to really think about why they pause on Remembrance Day, to attend their local Remembrance Day services and to stop for a minute’s silence.”

Media note
The videos will be rolled out across social media channels, including the Anzac Centenary and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Facebook pages, in the lead-up to Remembrance Day and the centenary of the First World War Armistice.
Media outlets wishing to use these videos to complement their reporting can download them on the Anzac Centenary website.

Remembrance Day

                 Lest We Forget  

Once upon a time on dusty lonely tracks, swagmen roamed

While Drovers by campfires longed for home

Teachers used tools of rote, chalk and black boards on the wall 

Cobbler, miner, farmer, blacksmith, clerk, grocer, nurse and all 

They heard the call to war and stepped forward as one

To serve their young nation until duty was done


To reflect on what was; if not for such heroes, where would we be?

The sacrifice and nobleness of their time to keep us free 

Brave deeds and mateship with a young nation’s flag held so high

To hear them singing “Australia will be there” as their battle cry

Loving families waiting for the casualty lists with hidden fear

An unwelcome knock on the door and a new life of countless tears

The tracks where swagmen trudged are now tar and white lines 

Drovers’ campfires are long gone, thanks to Father Time

A new generation of teachers with computer and flashing screen

Gone are the cobblers and others; yet Florence is still to be seen

Yet their ghosts still mingle with our people who remember    

Never to be forgotten by city and town to beyond the Never-Never

Concentrate and you will hear the rhythmic steps and see them again

Marching in columns, be it searing heat or icy drenching rain

Dreaming of their tomorrow to be home with loved ones once more

Homesick for distant blue mountains and golden sandy shores

Seeking peace, deep sleep, love, laughter and no more sad hooroos

Now the column is fading , yet their genes and spirit are still with you

In a troubled world, we “Down Under” must stay together

As one people, one nations, one flag, today, tomorrow and forever 

Going forward in armour forged with our precious values of life 

Never faltering as we defy storms of discontent or evil strife

New generations follow, learning of our history and soon standing tall 

What better way to remember and salute those who answered the bugle call

                                                  George Mansford © October 2018