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Anzac Day 1916

 As Anzac Day approaches for 2013, the Library has acquired a souvenir in commemoration of the first Anzac Day in 1916, held on the anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli in the First World War.

This fragile souvenir, printed on tissue paper, includes a description of the march by Australian and New Zealand troops through London to Westminster Abbey where a memorial service was held. The service was attended by King George V and Queen Mary, whose portraits feature on the souvenir. The proceedings for the day then included an address by the Prime Minister Billy Hughes to the troops and the awarding of medals to Australian soldiers for distinguished conduct.

The souvenir makes special mention of the fact that General Sir William Birdwood, described as the “soul of Anzac”, would be in attendance during the day. Birdwood had been the commander of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli and later the commander of the Australian Imperial Force. The souvenir is interesting in that Birdwood’s portrait is more dominant than those of the King and Queen.

The Library holds a rich collection of ephemeral objects from the First World War, and this is a valuable addition to that collection. It is located in the Mitchell Library at F/2080.

Simon Cootes
Collection Development Librarian