Anzac Day commemorations will look very different this year, as traditional gatherings are cancelled and people stay home to stop the spread of covid-19. But the day is still an opportunity to reflect on Australia's wartime history and its legacies. On the University of Sydney website, you can find links to ways to engage with this history from home. Below, we've gathered some SUP titles that offer new perspectives on the Anzac experience.
This month we publish an updated edition of Stephen Garton's The Cost of War. Garton looks at the experience of Australian veterans from a range of angles, offering a more nuanced understanding of the effects of combat on individuals, communities and public life. He shows how war and its aftermath have shaped Australian politics and culture, and what this history can teach us about the needs of returning servicemen and women. You can read an extract from The Cost of War here.
Camouflage Australia by Ann Elias tells the once-secret story of how a group of artists, designers, architects and scientists, led by zoologist William Dakin, developed a plan to camouflage Australia during the Second World War. Artists including Max Dupain and Frank Hinder collaborated with scientists and military authorities to deploy optical tricks and visual illusions, many of them borrowed from the animal world. Elias draws on previously unpublished documents and photographs to reveal this hidden history of wartime creativity and collaboration.
When Count Your Dead by John Rowe was first published in 1968, it made front-page news and led to Rowe's resignation from the military. The first novel to be written about the Vietnam War by a serving soldier, it was based closely on real events and challenged official accounts of the war's progression. The story follows the fortunes of an American officer, Bill Morgan, who finds himself at odds with his commanders and ultimately disillusioned with his country's conduct. Fifty years on, it remains a powerful story of an individual's experience of combat.
The 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq led to more than a million people being killed, displaced five million people from their homes, and shattered countless more lives. Ending War, Building Peace examines why this was allowed to happen and how we can prevent it from being repeated. The contributors imagine more peaceful ways to engage with conflict and crises in the future.
The University of Sydney's War Memorial Carillon, consisting of 54 bells inside the clock tower of the quadrangle, was dedicated on 25 April 1928, thirteen years after the landing at Gallipoli. It commemorates the university students, graduates and staff who died in the First World War, many of whose names are inscribed on the bells. Today the carillon is still central to the life of the university, heard daily as a living memorial to the fallen.
Anzac Echoes, composed by Geert D'hollander, was commissioned to mark the centenary of the landing at Gallipoli. It was first performed by Amy Johansen at the Anzac Day dawn service in 2015. This year, you can live-stream Johansen's Anzac Day concert from 6am at the university's YouTube channel.
Carillon bells, shipped from England, are transported along George Street, Sydney, towards the University in 1928. (University of Sydney Archives)