The ‘Anzac Walk’ is designed for the visitor who has little time but can devote one day to explore the main area the Anzacs held on Gallipoli from 25 April to 20 December 1915.
The aim of the Gallipoli landing was to capture the heights overlooking the Dardanelles and break the Turkish lines of communication to the south. Despite terrible casualties on both sides, the Turks were unable to drive the Anzacs back into the sea and the Anzacs made little headway against the Turks. The Anzacs were left holding a strip of scrub-covered treeless land deeply indented by steep valleys and eroded gullies less than two kilometres from north to south and less than a kilometre at its widest point.
Of necessity, this walk has less to say about the thousands of others who fought at Anzac – New Zealanders, British, Nepalese, Indians, and their Turkish enemies, but simply tries to be a brief introduction to a huge and fascinating subject for Australians. This short guide will help you discover some of the stories of this remarkable place for yourself.
Begin the Anzac Walk...
Standing at the inscription ‘Anzac’ on the wall above the beach and looking up across the Commemorative site, you will see a rocky outcrop. The Anzacs on 25 April 1915, the day of the landing, arriving almost straight from their training camps in Egypt beneath the Pyramids, named it ‘the Sphinx’. After the Battle of the Landing that lasted until 3 May 1915, North Beach became a relatively quiet spot. Men came down here to swim from the frontline trenches on the ridge above at Russell’s Top and the Nek.
More about North Beach...
Ari Burnu Cape forms the northern end of Anzac Cove and many hundreds of soldiers climbed these steep slopes towards the top of Plugge’s Plateau at the Landing. The cemetery was made during the campaign on land overlooked by Turkish outposts and thus unsafe for any other purpose. Amongst others, the cemetery contains the graves of 151 Australians and 35 New Zealanders. To the south of the cemetery is a memorial inscribed with the famous words Mustafa Kemal Ataturk delivered in 1934 to Australians, New Zealanders and British visiting the battlefields.
More about Ari Burnu Cemetery...
During the Gallipoli campaign there was no better-known place than Anzac Cove. It received this name as early as 29 April 1915. Anzac Cove has become the image of Anzac. This is not surprising. Almost 50,000 Australians fought at Gallipoli and, although there were other landing places, the great majority of them landed here. For eight months of 1915, Anzac Cove became Anzac ‘city’, with transport ships running supplies into the pier by night. Turkish gunners had a precise fix on Anzac Cove and many men were killed or wounded in the beach area.
More about Anzac Cove...
The Anzacs named the southern point of Anzac Cove ‘Hell Spit’. Looking out to sea on a clear day, directly in front of you is the island of Imroz (Imbros in 1915), where the Australian Field Bakeries made fresh bread. At most times the sea between Anzac and the islands was full of warships and other vessels. Beach Cemetery (also known as Hell Spit Cemetery) was used from the 25 April 1915 until near the end of the campaign. Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick (‘the man with the donkey’) is buried here.
More about Hell Spit...
Shrapnel Valley was the main route up from the beach area to the Anzac front line on the ridge in the distance. The Turks realised this and rained shrapnel shells upon this area. The Turks held the high ground and stretcher-bearers and soldiers bringing up supplies, rations and water were always in constant danger of snipers and artillery fire. A sniper fatally wounded First Australian Division commander Major-General William Bridges here. The cemetery is one of the most beautiful on the Peninsula and contains amongst others, the graves of 527 Australians and 56 New Zealanders.
More about Shrapnel Valley Cemetery...
Half a kilometre further along the main beach road, the Gaba Tepe promontory can be seen and to your right is the shore known to the Anzacs as Brighton Beach named after the beach of the same name east of Melbourne. The Anzac Landing was originally planned for this beach, but they landed further to the north and during that first day’s fighting were held by the Turks to the ‘old Anzac’ area. During the campaign Brighton Beach at the mouth of Shrapnel Gully became a stores depot but shelling was severe.
More about Brighton Beach...
About half a kilometre along the Brighton Beach road, there is an unpaved road on the left leading up to Shell Green Cemetery, called Artillery Road by the Anzacs. As the name suggests, a number of batteries of the Australian Field Artillery were stationed in these hills. In preparation for the August Offensive, Artillery Road was widened and extended up the hill to just behind the Lone Pine position on the ridge. On 17 December 1915, a famous game of cricket was played at Shell Green as Turkish shells passed overhead.
More about Artillery Road and Shell Green...
At the end of Artillery Road you will reach Lone Pine. From the Lone Pine Memorial there is a magnificent view in all directions. In the vicinity of the Memorial there stood on 25 April 1915, in Bean’s words, a ‘single dwarf pine tree’. Within days the tree had been shot away but not before it gave its name to the position, Lone Pine. Within months, Lone Pine had entered Australia’s national story as the site of one of the bloodiest and hardest fought actions of the campaign – the Battle of Lone Pine.
More about Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial...
On the morning of 19 May 1915, 42,000 Turkish soldiers attacked the Anzac trench lines along this ridge. If you had stood here at Johnson’s Jolly, you would have been surrounded by death. The Turks now call this place Kirmizi Sirt, Crimson Slope. This attack ended in failure, with 3,000 Turks dead and another 7,000 wounded. The Anzacs lost 160 killed and 468 wounded. Within days of the attack the air was heavy with the smell of rotting corpses. On 24 May a truce was arranged to allow both sides to bury their dead.
More about Johnston’s Jolly...
For virtually the whole campaign the Turks held the spur just to the north of Quinn’s Post. From this position concealed snipers fired down into the valley below, making movement by day up to Quinn’s and the other posts along the ridge a life threatening undertaking. The Turkish front line lay on the other side of the road. Here the Turks had only to advance a few metres and the whole Anzac area could be lost. The fighting at Quinn’s was of a ferocity and intensity unequalled on any other part of the line.
More about Quinn’s Post...
The monument, Turk Askerine Saygi Aniti, Respect to the Turkish Soldier, features a bronze statue of an ordinary Turkish infantryman, nicknamed a ‘Mehmet’ in the same manner as a British ‘Tommy’. Built in 1992, it honours the memory of those Turkish soldiers who lost their lives for their country. The huge figure dominates the upper reaches of Monash Valley in the same way the Turkish defenders did in 1915. Before the invasion the Turkish army had not been highly regarded. At Gallipoli, well-led and fighting for their homeland, their enemy grew to respect them.
More about the Turkish Memorial...
At The Nek, in an effort to seize Baby 700, four lines of Australians charged successively to practically certain death in the face of Turkish machine guns in order to pin the attention of the Turks to that supposedly vital point, and so give the New Zealand infantry, then climbing the just visible heights of Rhododendron Spur, 1100 metres away, a chance of capturing the real goal, the Chunuk Bair summit. This attack by the Light Horse has been made famous as the final scene in Peter Weir’s 1981 movie, Gallipoli
More about the Nek Cemetery...
Walker’s Ridge Cemetery
Thirty metres down the track from The Nek Cemetery, you reach Walker’s Ridge Cemetery. A track behind the cemetery leads down to North Beach. Anzacs reached these heights from North Beach below in the first hour or so after the landing at 4.30am on 25 April 1915. Walker’s Ridge is named after Brigadier Harold Bridgwood Walker, commander of the New Zealand Infantry Brigade. Walker’s Ridge Cemetery was begun during the Gallipoli campaign and contains the graves of thirty Australians of whom only twelve have been positively identified.
More about Walker’s Ridge Cemetery...
Leave Walker’s Ridge Cemetery and walk down the track to the end of the ridge. There are no fences and the drop is almost sheer down to Mule Gully below. The Light Horse and the New Zealand Regiments defended this important northern sector of the Anzac line. Walker’s Ridge offers magnificent views of the country north of Anzac stretching all the way to Suvla Bay, as well as the Sphinx, North Beach and Anzac Cove. Early in the campaign, engineers built a small flying fox to haul supplies up to the trenches from the beach.
More about Walker’s Ridge overlooking North Beach...