from Canberra Times Wednesday 26 April 2000
A new generation gathers at Gallipoli to pay respects to Diggers
GALLIPOLI, Tuesday: They came from all parts - Australians and New Zealanders, mostly young and nearly all with backpacks.
On a cold, calm morning they gathered on the shore at Gallipoli to pay homage to the men who fought and died in the bloody Dardanelles campaign.
Up to 15,000 made the pilgrimage - more than one for every Anzac killed in the eight-month fight at Gallipoli - to mark 85 years since the original Anzac Day.
And like the Diggers they came to remember, most of the crowd were in their mid-20s, representing a new generation of Australians seeking to pay their respects to the soldiers who helped forge a sense of national identity back in 1915.
Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kim Beazley led the Australian dignitaries, alongside New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark, at the first service at a new commemorative site on North Beach, a few hundred metres from the first landing site at Ari Burnu.
The new memorial had to be built because of the growing popularity of the Gallipoli pilgrimage.
It was here in 1915, below the rocky outcrop known as The Sphinx, that waves of 16,000
North Beach was also the place where Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick - the man with the donkey - began his dangerous task of ferrying the wounded back to safety.
More than 600 Anzacs died on that first day and a further 1000 were injured. By the time they evacuated in December, more than 8700 Australians and 2700 New Zealanders were dead and almost 100 allies were wounded.
Today, about 200 people who wanted a better view of the Dawn Service climbed the steep ridges the original Anzacs tried to scale 85 years earlier.
With only two Australian survivors of the Gallipoli campaign, Mr Howard said the Anzac legend was now passing into history.
"Only now, from the sheltered safety of our time, can we comprehend what was dared and what was done here," he said.
Later, the Prime Minister paid tribute to the 2700 Australians killed in the battle of Lone Pine. "In the faces revealed through fading photographs, we see our friends, our workmates, our neighbours and our sons," he said.
"We are the same people, possessed of the same courage, the same determination, the same spirit. Within us all is carried the seed of Anzac."
For London-based Australian backpackers Alan Bate, 24, and Karina Maddison, 23, the pilgrimage to Gallipoli was something they always wanted to do.
"I was always hoping for the opportunity to come and look around to try and get a sense of what happened here," Mr Bate said.
For Vietnam veteran Dennis Gist, of Melbourne, the pilgrimage had a more personal link. He came to find the grave of his great-uncle, who landed on Anzac Day and died two days later at Quinn's Post.
After four days at Gallipoli, he has achieved his goal. "I found his grave and went up there to lay some flowers," Mr Gist said. "It was quite extraordinary."
Neville Fowler, 28, of Darwin, typified the attitude of many in the crowd. "I think this is something we all should do," he said. Mr Fowler was keen to follow another Anzac tradition when he pulled a two-up stick from his backpack after the service.
"I'm looking for any takers now," he said. - AAP