Anzac - The Anzac Ceremonial Site

The Gallipoli Houses



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the first authentic hotel on the Gallipoli peninsula

The Anzac commerative site with Gökçe (Imroz) Island in the back

In 1961, Betty Roland visited the area on Anzac day, she gives a full account of this visit in her book “Lesbos, the Pagan Island”.  Hereafter a few extracts :

The previous day had been overcast, with grey clouds and a melancholy wind that whipped the Narrows into angry waves, but April the 25th was bright with sunshine and the wind had died. I had carefully considered the clothes that I should wear this Anzac Day.  In Australia it is a day of solemn dedication and I was going to the place where men had died, yet I could not bring myself to dress in black. The men who had died in 1915 had been little more than boys, and youth flowed hotly in their blood.  They were not of the breed to relish mournful faces and funeral clothes, so I had packed my prettiest and most becoming dress and was grateful that the day was warm enough to wear it. I tooks special pains about my make-up, using lipstick and mascara, feeling sure that this was how they would have liked it, and I added perfume. I wished that I was younger but felt sure “the boys” would understand.
Captain McMann and his interpreter John were waiting on the wharf. Mac had got the necessary permit for me so we lost no time in boarding the launch that was to take us across The Narrows. ...

... John drove rapidly and we were soon at the top of the ridge.  Behind lay the Dardanelles with Chanakkale across The Narrows.  John paused to let me look, and then continued for another mile or so along the red dirt road, stopping before a low wooden gate in a thick screen of pines.  Mac got out and held it open for me. “This is Lone Pine”, he said. “I thought you’d like to come here first.”
I looked around. On every side the silence and a brooding sense of loneliness. “Am I the only one to come here on this day ?” I asked. “Aye lass, you are,” said Mac. “The only one.” And then he turned away,  ...

... The jeep swung round another headland and Mac signed John to stop.  We looked down on a small sandy bay, tranquil in the morning sunlight. “And there it is.  That’s Anzac Cove itself,” Mac told me quietly. A shallow beach between two points, not more than ten yards deep, perhaps a quarter of a mile in length, empty and deserted now with the rusty remains of an old water-condenser lying on the sand.

"Lesbos, the Pagan Island", (Melbourne 1963), Betty Roland, p. 57-60:

A bird eye's view of the Anzac commerative site

the Gallipoli Houses



memorials and cemeteries of gallipoli





On 25th April 1990 Professor A. Mete Tunçoku witnessed the following :

On that day, I met a very old Turkish veteran and an Anzac veteran standing side by side.  The Turkish veteran was trying to stand up right with help of his walking stick.  The old Anzac was looking around with tears in his eyes.  Surely both of them were thinking of the terrible days of the war and of the friends they had lost.  At one moment, I saw the Turkish veteran gently putting his conspicuously veined big boned hand on the shoulder of the Anzac who, weeping silently, watched the hills and slopes.

"Johnny Turk through the Anzacs' Pens", (Ankara 2005),  Professor A. Mete Tunçoku, p. 209


This is the ANZAC Commerative Site, constructed in 2000 to accommodate the growing numbers Australians and New Zealanders who come here every year on April 25 to attend the commemorative ceremony that is known as the "Anzac Day Dawn Service".  Before the construction of the new area, this ceremony was traditionally held in and around Arıburnu Cemetery itself.  As the number of visitors grew from a few hundred to many thousands the cemetery proved too small a site and was suffering damage from the extensive crowds that gathered there.  As a consequence,  the need for a new ceremonial area arose.

"Gallipoli Battlefield Guide", (Istanbul 2006), Gürsel Göncü & Şahin Aldoğan, p. 97








Anzac Cove on Anzac day, 1923

Anzac Day at the Ariburnu cemetery in 1923






Anzac Day ceremonies in 1923 at the Cove

Ceremony in progress at Anzac Cove on 25th April 1915








"Anzac Cove on Anzac Day in 1923", reproduced from period postcards (Başar Eryoner - private collection)






















That has now changed.  Each year on Anzac Day there are more Australians and New Zealanders at the Dawn Service than there were on the original Anzac Day, and every day there is a steady trickle of visitors doing the daily tour before moving on.  You rarely saw Turks visiting the Peninsula and this has been the greatest change over the last 10 or so years.

... They reclaimed an area that we see as our own to be a site now for Turkish commemoration and it is perhaps on Anzac Day alone that Australians and New Zealanders have a brief ascendancy.

"Gallipoli Revisited" (2006), Christopher  Pugsley.




In 1980 and 1983 when Christopher Pugsley was here there was hardly any change to 1961 :

During my first visit in 1980 the only people I saw on the Peninsula other than my companion, Sabri, who Osman, then uncrowned king of Eceabat, directed to be my guide because he was the one English speaker in the village, were some forestry workers planting pine on the slopes above Anzac Cove and the gardeners of the Commonwealth War Graves Commision.

Even when I went back in July 1983 with the TVNZ film crew there were relatively few visitors to Anzac other than the occasional backpackers. 

"Gallipoli Revisited" (2006), Christopher  Pugsley.


Harvey Broadbent was here in 1987 made the following observation :

On visiting the battlefields for filming in 1987 we found it had virtually become a place of pilgrimage for young Australians and New Zealanders. Twenty to thirty young Antipodeans were arriving in the area daily and wandering in reverent silence through the various cemeteries.

"The boys who came home", (Crows Nest-1990), Harvey Broadbent, p. xii.


"The RAN Fleet Band at the Hell Split Cemetery, 25 April 1990, with HMAS Sydney off the coast" reproduced from "The Shores of Gallipoli", (Alexandria 2000), Tom Frame.

The RAN Fleet Band at the Beach Cemetery on 25 April 1990

Dawn Service 2003


Lone Pine (Australian) Ceremony - Anzac Day 2003

New Zealand Ceremony - Anzac Day 2003





Dawn Service 2003

ANZAC and Turkey's national flag - Anzac Day 2003




Last updated : 01/12/06


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