So you weren't "honoured", Deb? I checked the list, but AGAIN, I wasn't there!
I didn't make it either - but a friend of mine got a lower level of gong - much to his embarrassment. He felt he should refuse, as others have done much more than he has (according to him), but, after talking about what was in his citation, I feel positively pedestrian, and socially useless! Who knew he'd done all those things. I thought he was just a crap tennis player - like me!
It DOES sound exactly like that on my radio, which is playing in the background right now ...
Taditionally, Oz residents who aren't yet citizens often choose Australia Day to make the commitment. This year was no different: Lots of New Australians.
Monday is the ANZAC Day holiday in Australia. A seemingly ever growing number of Australians will commemorate this disastrous WW1 event at the dawn ceremony at Gallipoli, Turkey:
The khaki legend grows stronger
By James Button
April 23, 2005/the AGE
It will be the largest dawn service ever held at Gallipoli. By 4am on Monday, an estimated 20,000 people will be standing at the ceremony site on North Beach, just above Anzac Cove, where the Anzacs landed on April 25, 1915.
Most people will be Australian - among them Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kim Beazley - but there will also be New Zealanders and Britons, including Prince Charles. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may attend for the first time, along with up to 4000 Turkish Scouts.
Hundreds of tour buses will line the newly paved road and car parks that have caused the Australian Government such embarrassment over claims that it initiated roadworks that uncovered human bones.
As thousands gather, it is hard to believe that as recently as 1984 the ceremony attracted just 100 people.
Now there is even a new commercial element, though not at the service. Operators for the Red Bull and Heineken companies are planning two dance parties in the nearby town of Eceabat in the next two days. While Anzac Day is special, it is also "a day to drink beer and dance", says Red Bull's Emis Durak.
Why are more and more people coming to Gallipoli the further the Anzac campaign recedes into the past?
About 10 years ago Robert Cussion, a 45-year-old Adelaide maintenance worker, noticed his family name on an honour board at the Adelaide War Memorial. No one had ever told him about his two relatives Wally and Colin Cussion, his great uncle's sons, who came ashore in the pre-dawn darkness and gunfire of Anzac Cove on April 25, 1915.
The discovery started a passion. After saving for five years to get to Gallipoli, he has spent much of the past two weeks sitting in cemeteries, climbing steep hills and eating his lunch in old war trenches.
"I wanted to experience what the diggers experienced," he says. "No one is shooting at me, I'm not carrying a pack or a rifle, I don't have to dig trenches and I get to have a beer at the end of the day - and still I'm exhausted. I'm amazed at the character of men Australia produced back then."
In his hand he has a copy of a letter Colin wrote to his mother from a hospital in Egypt in 1915. It describes the April 25 landing: "We fixed bayonets and charged them, singing, swearing and shouting at the top of our voices." It tells how Colin was wounded by shrapnel in his shoulder and how his brother Wally dressed his wound. It is a cheerful letter, written without the knowledge that Wally was six weeks dead.
"It was such a terrible waste of human life, not just for us but for the Turks," Mr Cussion said. "Look at these graveyards." But he added that "these men don't want to be forgotten and I'm trying to let them know they are not forgotten".
As the sun set over Anzac Cove on Thursday, seven Australian school students wandered among the graves at the Ari Burnu Cemetery. The students are in Gallipoli as winners of the Simpson Prize for writing essays about the meaning of Anzac.
Kristy O'Brien, from Toowoomba in Queensland, knelt to read the words engraved on the headstones. Sergeant D. B. M. Adams of the Australian 10th Battalion was 18 years old: "A bright young life, sacrificed on the altar of duty so dearly loved." Kristy, 16, found that especially moving. "He was nearly my age. So many people our age gave their lives for our country."
Turkish interest in the Gallipoli campaign is growing, says Kenan Celik, a tour guide who also lectures in English at nearby Canakkale University. He thinks Turks have been inspired by Australian enthusiasm.
"Every year on TV we see thousands of Australians coming here from 17,000 miles away. They come to respect their fallen soldiers. Turkish people appreciate that. In a way we are jealous of them (Australians)."
Gallipoli is now on the Turkish school excursion circuit, in part because Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - founder of modern Turkey - led his country's forces against the Anzacs.
The ANZAC experience in Gallipoli inspired Eric Bogle to write this song:
The Band Played Waltzing Matilda - Eric Bogle
Now when I was a young man I carried me pack
And I lived the free life of the rover.
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback,
Well, I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915, my country said, "Son,
It's time you stop ramblin', there's work to be done."
So they gave me a tin hat, and they gave me a gun,
And they marched me away to the war.
And the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
As the ship pulled away from the quay,
And amidst all the cheers, the flag waving, and tears,
We sailed off for Gallipoli.
And how well I remember that terrible day,
How our blood stained the sand and the water;
And of how in that hell that they call Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk, he was waitin', he primed himself well;
He showered us with bullets, and he rained us with shell --
And in five minutes flat, he'd blown us all to hell,
Nearly blew us right back to Australia.
But the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
When we stopped to bury our slain,
Well, we buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs,
Then we started all over again.
And those that were left, well, we tried to survive
In that mad world of blood, death and fire.
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
Though around me the corpses piled higher.
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head,
And when I woke up in me hospital bed
And saw what it had done, well, I wished I was dead --
Never knew there was worse things than dying.
For I'll go no more "Waltzing Matilda,"
All around the green bush far and free --
To hump tents and pegs, a man needs both legs,
No more "Waltzing Matilda" for me.
So they gathered the crippled, the wounded, the maimed,
And they shipped us back home to Australia.
The legless, the armless, the blind, the insane,
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla.
And as our ship sailed into Circular Quay,
I looked at the place where me legs used to be,
And thanked Christ there was nobody waiting for me,
To grieve, to mourn and to pity.
But the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
As they carried us down the gangway,
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared,
Then they turned all their faces away.
And so now every April, I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march,
Reviving old dreams of past glory,
And the old men march slowly, all bones stiff and sore,
They're tired old heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask "What are they marching for?"
And I ask meself the same question.
But the band plays "Waltzing Matilda,"
And the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear
Someday, no one will march there at all.
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong,
Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?
The song Waltzing Matilda was written by A.B.(Banjo) Patterson in 1895. It remains an icon of Australia's cultural heritage.
The Murray River is Australia's longest river. It is 2600 km long and crosses three States. It was a major transportation artery in the late 19th century.
The war that led to an unusual mateship
By James Button
April 25, 2005/the AGE
Turks Mehmet Kurtdere, left, and his cousin Emin Yasin, from the village Bigali, which is 10kilometres from Anzac Cove, talk about Kurtdere's grandfather who fought at Gallipoli.
Photo: Julian Andrews
"We have a great sympathy for the Anzacs," says Mehmet Kurtdere. "People have always talked about what happened between our soldiers and yours. Turks call it the war of gentlemen. What the world is seeing in Iraq - the torture - didn't happen here."
...Do Turkish people resent Australians for the Gallipoli battles? Mr Kurtdere shakes his head. "We believe you were used by the British. The Gurkhas, Indians, Australians, New Zealanders - they were just pieces in the game."...
A dusty field is sown with oats in the hope of rain soon.
Photo: Nick Moir
...Forty-five per cent of agricultural land in Australia is drought-declared.
And about 2000 farmers told state and federal politicians that many farming families and country communities were on the brink of collapse because of drought and mounting debts. Many farmers are entering the fourth year of what is believed to be the worst drought on record. ....
Sheep graze on what little feed is left on a farm at Fairview, NSW.
Photo: Nick Moir
Michael Milne surveys his the parched fields on his property at Fairview, NSW.
Photo: Nick Moir
Wow, sounds pretty bad over there. One of my sisters who has lived in Perth for Donkeys years, came to visit us a couple of years ago. It started raining outside and she insisted on going for a walk, just to make the most of it!!
We take water for granted too much over here in the UK.
I hope it rains good and steady for those farmers soon.
Me, too, Lord Ellpus. Things are looking decidely grim.