THE ANZAC 'REMEMBER' ARTWORK (2015)
The Remember artwork by Dr. Julie Gross McAdam
April 25th 2015 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the dawn landing of the allied expeditionary forces at Gallipoli. This artwork commemorates the supreme sacrifice made by forty-three local men during the Great War and, more than five thousand Australian and New Zealand soldiers during the ill-fated Dardanelles campaign.
When Dr. Julie Gross McAdam began researching for this commemorative memorial, she was both deeply moved and inspired by the poignant but familiar words written by the war poet, Lawrence Binyon.
In Poems for the Fallen, he wrote:
They went with song to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted.
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning.
We will remember them.
The Remember artwork takes its name not only from Binyon’s memory of these courageous young servicemen and women, but also from the poet’s remembrance call to arms. Remember is a memorial to forty-three young local soldiers who left Nathalia and the district to serve overseas. Three of these young men gave their lives at the dawn landing on the first ANZAC Day. The youngest soldier from Nathalia to be killed in action that day was only nineteen years old.
The other forty souls perished later at Gallipoli and in the numerous bloody offensives that took place on the Western Front, in France and Belgium, over the next three years.
The work is divided into three sections. The middle section is dominated by three life-sized figures standing in front of the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces badge. These figures represent the men of Australia’s naval and military forces and the “Roses of No Man’s Land” - the women who served in the Australian Medical Corp. Above, the newly formed Royal Australian Air force is represented by three by-planes circling the sky. A young man’s hands rest on a rifle butt, whilst a weary old soldier’s face is respectful but sad. Perhaps this old soldier remembers his lost cobbers as he reflects on his own lucky, and often remarkable, story of survival.
The scene depicted behind the sailor is of Anzac Cove and the lone pine at Gallipoli. The barren, gas-filled quagmire that was Flanders’ fields is depicted to the right of the nurse. The soldiers, nurses and horses faced this living death for months on the Somme and at Passchendaele. The soul of a dead soldier flies home, to find peace and rest under a river red gum, on the banks of the Broken Creek.
The left-hand section is a wattle and grevillea floral tribute where the names of the Nathalia fallen are recorded on forty-three red poppies. The right hand section extols each observer to remember the sacrifices made by each of these men for Australia. We must also remember the many sacrifices made by our allies.
This work also has a personal dedication by the artist to the memory of her Grandfather, whose sad world was shaped by the horror of his experiences on the Western Front – “the hell where youth and laughter” went.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM - LEST WE FORGET
Dr. Julie Gross McAdam