The Emergence of Anzac Day

Anzac Day procession, Brisbane, 1916.

Each year Australians and New Zealanders observe Anzac Day on 25th April.  ANZAC Day  is a day when Australians and New Zealanders remember their war-dead and the terrible suffering soldiers endured while carrying out what they were ordered to do.  25th of April was chosen for Anzac Day in recognition of the day when Australian and New Zealand troops landed on the shores of Gallipoli in Turkey during World War One.  This did not lead to victory but to a stalemate costing the lives of many men on both sides.  Anzac Day is not a celebration of military victories, nor is it a remembrance confined to memories of World War I.  It is a commemoration of the devastation wreaked by all military conflicts.

This post started with the question; how and when was the first Anzac Day commemorated?  I thought I knew the answer but as the process of writing for publication requires writers to carefully justify opinions and facts I did some further research.  The application of this discipline quite often leads to surprises for the writer on the way and this was certainly the case for me.
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Know Your Database

If you are interested in reading more about digital humanities, check out my other blog at http://stumblingfuture.wordpress.com

Over the last week I finally got a chance to try out the tools that Wragge (aka Tim Sherratt) has devised to mine digitised historic Australian newspapers accessed through Trove. This post is about the results of applying his tools.  If you want to do this yourself check out Wragge’s posts, Mining the Treasures of Trove (Part 1) and (Part 2). Firstly let’s look at Wragge’s graph of a topic that I have been writing about this year – floods.

Graph of the occurrence of the word "flood" in Australian newspapers, from the early 19th century to the late 1950s

Wragge's graph of the occurrence of the word "flood" in Australian newspapers since the early 19th century.

Wragge has produced the graph above  showing the occurrence of the word “floods” in Australian newspapers digitised and accessible on the Trove website.  As we would expect the word is mentioned more in years when there was severe flooding such as 1893.

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