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Historians explore basis of Anzac legend

31 MARCH 2005

A group of distinguished historians will present a range of views on the Anzac legend - and its significance to Australians - at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra on Sunday.

The forum, entitled The Anzac Legend: What Does it Mean to Me? is the first of four events planned at the Museum on successive April Sundays to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli in 1915.

The speakers this Sunday are the principal historian at the Australian War Memorial, Dr Peter Stanley; University of Melbourne historian Professor Joy Damousi; and La Trobe University historian Dr Tanja Luckins.

"They'll discuss how Anzac Day helped shape the way Australians think of themselves and how the legend affects migrants' views of our nation - as well as revealing what April 25 means to them personally," said Museum director Craddock Morton.

Manager of public programs Gabrielle Hyslop will chair the free seminar on Sunday, April 3, from 2 to 4pm in the Studio. Canberra's Sing Australia choir, which will perform at Gallipoli on Anzac Day, will sing in the Hall from 12 to 1pm.

Three more events planned in the Anzac Series are:

  • Film and the Anzac legend: A public symposium. April 10. With the National Film and Sound Archive, the Museum explores the evolution of the Anzac legend on film. Includes screening of a reconstruction of the 1915 film Hero of the Dardanelles, newsreels and Gallipoli. 10am to 5pm in the Visions Theatre.
  • Anzac Pilgrims: Understanding the journeys and the memories. April 17. A panel discusses the lure of Gallipoli, especially for the young. Speakers are Museum curator Guy Hansen; historians Ken Inglis and Michael McKernan; young pilgrims Mike Hughes and Skye Sargeant; and Tony Wright, author of Turn Right at Istanbul. 1 to 4pm in the Studio.
  • The Great Anzac Biscuit Bakeoff. April 24. Celebrity chef Margaret Fulton shows how to make the biscuits, then judges entries from CWA state and territory winners. Curator Kirsten Wehner and CWA national president Myra Pincott discuss changes to biscuit recipes, and cooking during the war years. 11.30am to 1pm in the Hall.

All the events are free. More details: www.nma.gov.au

For interviews or images please contact Sandy Forbes on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or Leanda Coleman on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or email media@nma.gov.au