Images of the ANZAC Legend


The Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) was the regiment of soldiers sent by their countries to serve the British Empire during WWI. They fought most notably in the Battle of Gallipoli, where they faced crushing defeat by Ottoman forces in 1916. Although the ANZACs were defeated in this battle, the memory of those who lost their lives in the war is remembered each year on ANZAC day. Pride and honor of the ANZACS has formed a significant part of Australia’s national identity

Image 1: Caption Writer

Australian troops resting in the Egyptian desert WWI Source

Caption Writer Icebreaker: Does this photo have a caption? If so, how successful is it in providing context to the photo? Then, create your own caption for this photo.

Context: Many ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) soldiers travelled through Egypt during WWI, especially on their way to Gallipoli.

Expected Student Response: The caption of this image reads “Troops resting in the desert.” This caption seems a bit vague. It helps me to understand that these are soldiers (supported by the many guns in the photo), but it does not give much context as to who these men are and why they in front of the Egyptian Pyramids. I would recaption this photo “ANZAC troops rest near Egyptian Pyramids during WWI.”

Image 2: Anomalies

WW1 postcard showing a kangaroo mascot with Australian soldiers in Egypt. Source

Anomalies Icebreaker: Analyze this image. What surprises you about it? What seems out of place?

Context: The ANZAC forces brought a young kangaroo with them from Australia as a mascot. This was primarily to lift spirits and remind the soldiers of their home. This photo depicts the mascot with the soldiers while they travelled through Egypt.

Expected Student Response: Is that a kangaroo? With the Egyptian pyramids in the background?? This seems like an anomaly because kangaroos are only native to Australia. Also, the people in the photo are carrying arms and dressed in soldiers’ uniforms, yet they are stopping to play with the kangaroo. It is very interesting that a small animal like this would be on its way to a warzone!

Image 3: Missing Pieces

“A Siege Battery in action, firing a Howitzer – WW1.” Source

Missing Pieces Icebreaker: Analyze this image. What seems to be missing from this siege photo? How do the missing pieces affect how we understand the context of this image?

Context: This photo is a print from a WWI ANZAC book dated 1917.

Expected student response: This photo shows several ANZAC soldiers preparing to fire a Howitzer. It takes at least 7 men, and several others are watching vigilantly. What is not pictured in this photo is who/what they are firing at. We cannot see their enemy forces, which would provide context to the photo. The setting of the image also seems unclear, as there are no clear indicators of the terrain besides the large trees overhead. Also not pictured is the aftermath of the blast. I do not think these things were left out intentionally. The soldiers are focused on their high-stress task and probably did not have time to consider what was left out of the photo.

6 Replies to “Images of the ANZAC Legend”

  1. Great images! I’d love to know more about the kangaroo picture, did they bring a kangaroo to Egypt? Why would they have done that? It would be interesting to analyze how this event formed national identity in Australia and New Zealand. I believe Indian troops were also utilized, and it would be interesting to explore if their involvement in a war in a far-flung continent on behalf of their colonizing power helped shape their national identity as well.

    1. Hi Nicolas! Yes the ANZACs actually brought a kangaroo with them for moral support during the war. From what I know, it was significant in forming Australian and New Zealand national identity because it was really the first major way that these places were able to contribute militarily in a world conflict. It was a point in which these “colonies” were able to prove themselves, and although they were largely unsuccessful, they idolize the fallen soldiers as the first men who put their homes on the map. I agree analyzing a similar concept in India would be very interesting!

  2. Francesca, I love wide array of images you’ve used in this post. You’re right, the kangaroo is quite an anomaly, I can’t remember the last time I saw soldiers bring such a unique animal with them to war. That being said, have you ever heard of Wojtek The Bear? He was a rescued cub that was raised by army troops that grew along side them and even helped them to carry ammunition. Once again, great assortment of WWI photos.

  3. Great collection of images and prompts. I especially like the last two sets. BTW – I think ear protection was missing.

    As you noted the operation were critical to Australia and New Zealand’s national identity. It’s also interesting to note that the Turkish commander was Atatürk. When the Ottoman Empire was getting carved up, he built on his Gallipoli victory to rally support for creating Turkey based in his stronghold – Ankara. I’ve been there many time to visit my family in US State Dept. Atatürk is considered the Father of Modern Turkey and his memory dominates public spaces in the city.

    Also ironic to note that that commander calling the shots for the losing side at Gallipoli was Winston Churchill. Lots of intersecting historical threads from that campaign.

  4. Francesca, good stuff. How did you even find out about this? What was their route to Europe like, did they take a boat all the way to Egypt or did they trek through east Africa or the Middle East? I agree with Professor Pappas, missing pieces is a good ice breaker in this case.

  5. Love the focus on the ANZAC forces! I went to a museum in NZ that featured an exhibit all about their participation in WW2 which was fascinating. Have you seen the famous bullets that collided during that battle in Gallipoli?
    I don’t remember learning about the kangaroo though! That photo gave me a lot of questions too so I think that was a good choice for an icebreaker.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.