Australia’s Vietnam Moratoriums.

It was a time of great upheaval in Australia, when the ordinary people said “enough is enough”, and went out into the streets to protest.
The conflict in Vietnam was going poorly because the American and Australian Governments  had so badly underestimated the strength and purpose of the North Vietnamese people.
The Vietnam Moratorium held in Melbourne on 5 May, 1970, was huge with veteran Labor Politician Jim Cairns taking centre stage in a stinging rebuff to the Coalition Government for its blind support of the American Government’s policies in South Vietnam.
FXJ272193Leading the Moratorium March Jim Cairns and Tom Uren (Front Row: fourth and third in from the right).

‘Bill the Bastard’ – A courageous World War I Horse.

Photo: Sculptor Carl Valerius touching his statue of WW1 war horse Bill the Bastard.
Sculptor Carl Valerius enlisted the help of a vet to build a skeleton for Bill’s statue to ensure accuracy.
The little-known story of Australia’s greatest war horse will be enshrined in the Anzac legend with a life-size bronze statue.Bill the Bastard is widely considered Australia’s finest equine export of World War I.

Photo: Major Shanahan and Bill the Bastard get much needed rest under a date palm. Supplied: Terry Shanahan
Serving in the Middle Eastern theatre of the conflict, the 17-hand-high stallion was notorious for his unrelenting stubbornness, endurance and courage.Bill became a legend at the Battle of Romani, where he and Major Michael Shanahan rescued four Tasmanian troops from certain death on the battlefield.
Sculptor Carl Valerius is honouring Bill and Major Shanahan’s legacy with a true-to-scale statue depicting their rescue effort during the battle, in which Major Shanahan lost his left leg.
Mr Valerius said the statue would help to educate Australians about a widely overlooked part of Anzac history.
Read on via Source: Remembering Bill the Bastard — Australia’s greatest war horse – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Armistice: The origin of the minute’s silence.

The little-known origin of the minute’s silence
Photograph by Miyuki Jokiranta
Soldiers stand to attention at the Remembrance Day ceremony in Melbourne, November 11, 2015.
Using silence to remember war is now an ingrained tradition, but few know its origins are Australian.
Across the road from the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, a humble plaque set in a constellation of rocks reads: In memory of Edward George Honey who died in 1922, a Melbourne journalist who while living in London first suggested the solemn ceremony of silence.
Honey, who served during World War I, was the first to publicly suggest silence as a vessel to hold the sorrow and loss of war — and even thoughts of triumph.
The idea came to him after November 11, 1918 — when news of the Allies’ victory sparked rowdy euphoria in the streets of London. Rather than celebrating, Honey’s thoughts turned to the colossal cost of the Great War.
“The world [had] been torn to pieces and he [was] clutching for a new vocab of remembrance,” says historian Bruce Scates from the Australian National University.
Close-up photo of Edward Honey plaque in Melbourne.
Edward Honey isn’t a household name — but his legacy lives on in memorial ceremonies today.
Photograph by Miyuki Jokiranta
Honey found a vocab more powerful than any words: silence.”Silence can mean something to everyone,”
Professor Bruce Scates says.”It’s an empty space you can fill with any thought you need to.”But most important for Honey, what it’s saying is we can share this silence, even if you haven’t lost someone immediately close to you
The moment of silence filled a deep need in people to make sense of what had happened to them.
Source: The little-known origin of the minute’s silence – RN – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Australia’s Sikh Heroes of WWI.

Harjit’s passion for breaking down prejudice led him to co-found the organisation Australian Sikh Heritage, which aims to promote the ties Australia has with Sikhs.
“One part of that rich shared heritage is with Anzacs and the Sikhs, and then a very important touch point in WWII being Manmohan Singh,” he says.
Sikh religion branched off from Hinduism around 500 years ago with the concept of the saint-soldier.
As well as a moral code the religion instructs followers to fight for truth and justice. Both world wars provided many Sikhs with a welcome opportunity to practice the soldier side of their beliefs.
“Sikhs are only two per cent of India’s population; however they contributed one-third of the million people that went from India as part of the volunteer army in WWI,” Harjit says.
Sikhs fought alongside the Anzacs at Gallipoli with the 14th Sikh Regiment suffering possibly the highest casualty rate of any force during the Gallipoli campaign, with only 4 survivors.
“379 Sikh officers died on the 4th of June in 1915; it virtually wiped out the 14th Sikh Regiment,” says Harjit.
These Sikhs were mostly from India, but research by Australian Sikh Heritage has also identified ten Sikhs from Australia who served as part of the Australian Imperial Force during WWI.
In WWII Australians and Sikhs found themselves fighting on the same side once again. While the Sikhs’ biggest role in this war was in Europe, they were also active closer to Australia.
But one of the great mysteries for Sikh military history has been traced back to Broome, in North Western Australia.
Manmohan Singh was the first Sikh to train to fly, and became well known before WWI when he participated in a competition to become the first person to fly from India to England.
As an accomplished pilot, Manmohan Singh was one of the first group of Indians to travel to England to join the Royal Air Force in 1939.
After hunting submarines in the Atlantic from a Sunderland flying boat, he was promoted to Flying Officer and given command of a Catalina flying boat in the Philippines.
But as the Japanese forces advanced south through Asia, Manmohan Singh was forced to withdraw south along with other allies. He eventually landed his Catalina on Roebuck Bay at Broome, which was thought by many to be out of range of Japanese planes.
Manmohan Singh was onboard his flying boat moored on Roebuck Bay on the morning of 3rd March, 1942.
Nine Japanese Zeroes fitted with detachable, long-distance fuel tanks strafed his plane along with 22 others that day. Manmohan Singh died during that action.
via Remembering Australia’s bearded, turbaned war heroes – ABC

Black Diggers in WWI.

According to the Australian War Memorial, more than 400 Indigenous Australians fought for the British empire in the first world war. Photograph: Aaron Tait Photography
A century after the first world war, Australia has come to eulogise its Anzac diggers for their supposedly unique capacity for mateship, resilience, egalitarianism and sacrifice.
In the broad Australian consciousness, they have also been defined as white and of European Christian extraction.
But like so much about the clichéd Australian Anzac, this entrenched cultural caricature overlooks the extraordinary experiences of minorities who fought as Australian sons of the empire – not least those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslanders.

More than 400 Indigenous Australians fought for the British empire in the first world war. Photograph: PR
According to the Australian War Memorial, more than 400 Indigenous Australians fought for the British empire in the first world war.
This is probably a conservative estimate: thanks to curious Commonwealth rules about who was eligible to fight – Indigenous volunteers had to prove to recruiting officers that they were, despite appearances, of “substantially European descent” in order to be considered for enlistment – the actual number of Indigenous men who served in that war will remain the source of conjecture.
In late 1914 and 1915, when the first of some 420,000 Australians signed up – 39% of the males aged 18 to 44 from a total population of 4m – Indigenous applicants were often rejected.
Then, after the tragic folly of Gallipoli in which 7,600 Australians were killed came the catastrophe of the European western front where 50,000 more perished.

As domestic Australian support for the war waned, recruitment officers became colourblind.
Ironically for the Aborigines – their land stolen and people massacred after British colonisation in 1788, refused recognition as Australian citizens, voting rights or control of their earnings – it became possible to find emancipation of sorts by joining the 1st Australian Imperial Force and fighting under the British flag against the Germans and Turks.
Source: Black Diggers: challenging Anzac myths | Culture | The Guardian

Landscapes of the Western Front, 1914–1918.

One hundred years ago after four years of unimaginable carnage, the first world war finally came to an end.
In its wake the conflict left tens of millions dead, many more injured, and vast swathes of land decimated by an estimated 1.5 billion shells on the Western Front alone.
The devastation was unprecedented and, thanks to advances in photography, so was its documentation. In addition to the amateur snaps captured by soldiers (despite most militaries forbidding it), and photographs taken for journalistic purposes, photography played a vital military role, specifically in the areas of reconnaissance both aerial and terrestrial.
It is a collection of photographs belonging to the latter camp that we’ve chosen to focus on in this post.
They were found in a collection housed at the Imperial War Museum titled “British Official Panoramas Of The Western Front 1914–1918” which contains thousands of battlefield panoramas, each made by piecing together anything from three to thirty regular sized photographs.
To capture these photographs army photographers would have to have spent long periods with their head above the parapet – a view so dangerous it was only normally witnessed via the medium of a trench periscope or mirror.
Once developed in mobile darkrooms and pieced together, the resulting panoramas could be studied and annotated with information about enemy positions and key locations relating to future operations.
See the Collection via Source: Landscapes of the Western Front, 1914–1918 – The Public Domain Review