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Martin and Heloise Tolar

Martin and Heloise Tolar

Martin Tolar


Hills News article
Australian moved by Gallipoli Visit
30 April 2002

As I stood shoulder to shoulder in the dark and biting wind with New Zealanders, Turks and fellow Australians, I asked myself why? What made me come halfway around the world to this place?

The question is more curious given that I'm a first-generation Australian. My ancestors are of European descent. In fact half of my family come from a nation that was an ally of the Turkish forces in World War I.

The dawn service is an important part of the ceremonies that take place in Gallipoli each Anzac Day. For me, however, the midday service at Lone Pine will always remain more memorable. Some 10,000 Australians gather on a piece of dirt no bigger than two football fields to remember those who had fallen in the fiercest battles of the Gallipoli campaign.

The ceremony was one of solemn respect and Australian larrikinism.

Having spent two days touring the battlefields, one leaves with many feelings and unanswered questions. How in the face of such adversity and poor planning did the young untested Anzac forces excel? The pointless loss of human life in the capture of only a few kilometres of Turkish soil. And a new-found respect for the Turkish people, for whom April 25 represents the birth of modern Turkey.

So why come here? To pay my respects and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in upholding everything that is Australian. To visit the birth place of the Anzac spirit, mateship, the 'fair go' and everything that is fundamental to the Australian way of life. As well as to witness the birthplace of three nations.

As for me, this visit was confirmation that, despite my family's short association with this country, I feel as proud to be an Australian as those who can trace their families back to the arrival of the First Fleet.

Heloise Tolar (Reece)

Hills News article
At Gallipoli ...
30 April 2002

We left at midnight from the small coastal town of Gelibolu (Gallipoli) and drove the 40 minutes to North Beach at Anzac Cove. The sight was overwhelming: thousands of people, young and old, camped out at the new Anzac memorial.

A far cry from the scene encountered earlier that day. Then, all had been quiet as we viewed Lone Pine, Anzac Cove and Chunuk Bair, the New Zealand memorial. Now the atmosphere was akin to the Olympics - sheer excitement. Emotional voices in the night. Waiting for sunrise.

Small lights were peppered high through the rugged hills and high precipices that our forefathers had been confronted with when they landed on that fatal shore 87 years ago. These soldiers were just like me: young, eager to see the world, looking for adventure. Except so many remained in a land they never got to know.

Few of the Anzacs were over 26: my age. Back then nothing stood in the way of national pride and comradeship - and that is what I felt standing in Anzac Cove on Thursday morning, Turkish time.

In my ears I heard the constant chatter of Australian, New Zealander and Turkish voices. We each had our reasons for being there, but were all unified in paying respects to forefathers who helped create an independent Australia, New Zealand and a modern Turkey.

I was born in England to New Zealand parents and brought up as an Australian. I have never been more proud to call myself an Australian. Not since the Olympics have I heard and felt such patriotism towards our country - but this time we were joined by our neighbours. No rivalry here.

When The Last Post sounded, minds raced - what we had been taught was now in front of us. We could picture what these young soldiers had endured and felt the bitter wind as the chilling tune rang out.

Many of us there last week spoke of the strange experience of sharing such a close personal link with people on the other side of the world so culturally and physically different. Yet the Turkish people I met constantly reiteratered the importance of passing on the Anzac legacy to our grandchildren and of our country's strong friendship.

Older generations of Australians need never fear the Anzac spirit will die ... just ask the 14,000 people who were moved to tears at Gallipoli. I was proud to be among them.

Heloise Tolar (Reece)

Liverpool Champion article
The Anzac spirit shall never die
30 April 2003

On the even of April 24, 2002, my fiancé Martin and I left at midnight from the small Turkish coastal town of Gelibolu (Gallipoli) for Anzac Cove.

We were all overwhelmed by what we saw - thousands of excited people, young and old, camped out at the Anzac memorial.

It was very different from the previous day. Then it had all been quiet as we took in the scenes of the past at Lone Pine, Anzac Cove and Chunuk Bair, the New Zealand memorial.

In the dark, small lights were peppered throughout the rough terrain, the same terrain and our forefathers had been confronted with when they landed on that fatal shore so many years ago.

Few of these men were over my age at the time (26). Back then, nothing stood in the way of national pride and comradeship. That is what I felt standing on that shore that morning.

As the chilling theme The Last Post sounded in that bitter wind, my mind raced.

I was born in England to New Zealand parents and brought up as an Australian. I was never more proud to call myself an Australian than I was that morning.

With the Kiwis and Turks, we came to pay our respects to those who gave up their young lives for our country's freedom.

Every Turkish person we met reiterated the importance of passing on this experience and the Anzac legacy to our children and grandchildren. The older generations need not fear that the Anzac spirit may die. Just ask the 14,000 people who were there that morning and the large number who were there on Friday.

It was an experience I will treasure forever and - hopefully - share with my own children.

As the young Aussie larrikins taught the Turkish soldiers to play two-up on the same soil where their ancestors' blood was shed, this was evidence enough that the Anzac spirit is well and truly alive. We will remember them - we promise.

Articles courtesy Fairfax Community Newspapers