North Beach Anzac Commemorative Site
Overview: Interpretive panels at the North Beach Anzac Commemorative Site
The Anzac Commemorative site, 300 metres north of Ari Burnu at North Beach, has ten large pictorial panels with text in English and Turkish that tell the story of Gallipoli.
Anzac Day at Gallipoli
The Anzac Day services on Gallipoli Peninsula commemorate the Allied landings there and the tragic loss of so many young Australian and New Zealand lives, as well as those who suffered and died in all wars.
The British Empire, Dominion and French forces suffered severely on Gallipoli. More than 21,200 British, 10,000 French, 8,700 Australians, 2,700 New Zealanders, 1,350 Indians and 49 Newfoundlanders were killed. The Allied wounded totalled over 97,000.
The Anzac Commemorative Site at North Beach
To relieve the pressure on the traditional Dawn Service site at Ari Burnu War Cemetery caused by increasing numbers of visitors, the Australian and New Zealand Governments, with the cooperation of the Government of the Republic of Turkey built the Anzac Commemorative Site at North Beach.
The Sphinx, a prominent outcrop so-named by the Anzacs on that first day, overlooks this site. At this site on North Beach, Australian troops of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division AIF came ashore some minutes after the first landings at Ari Burnu and Anzac Cove to the south. They were followed by the 1st and 2nd Brigades and then by the New Zealand & Australian Division. North Beach was also a major casualty clearing station and resupply area during the campaign and the surviving Anzacs were evacuated from there during December 1915.
The Gallipoli Peninsula Peace Park
This joint development was the first project undertaken within the Gallipoli Peninsula Peace Park. An initiative of President Demirel of Turkey, the Peace Park is dedicated to peace in its widest sense - not just the cessation of hostilities but the active pursuit of harmony, understanding, tolerance and freedom. It is an ideal that the Australian and New Zealand peoples share with Turkey and with all other democratic nations.
The Commemorative Site, with its informal low stone walls, paths to the beach and information panels has become a focal point for visitors to this heritage area of special significance to Australians and New Zealanders.
Much of the visitation that the area is experiencing is in the nature of a pilgrimage, which on Australia and New Zealand's behalf started immediately after World War One. Veterans' organisations were originally responsible for commemorating their lost comrades, but the pilgrimage to Gallipoli has grown in significance to encompass people from all walks of life.
While the primary purpose of the visitation is to learn of the war experience, the reality is that the theme is of universal suffering, including the losses suffered by the Turkish military in what is referred to by the Turkish people as the Battle of Çannakale. For Australian and New Zealand visitors, the international dimension of this campaign and particularly the full extent of war casualties, provide an experience which broadens their understanding.
Selecting and writing the ten panels
An overview of the Gallipoli campaign from an Australian perspective in ten pictures is difficult to write. All that can be achieved is an introduction to the main events such as the landing and the major battles such as Krithia, Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair. Some attempt, also, had to be made to convey the physical hardships - apart from the ever-present possibility of death and wounds that the soldiers of both sides endured during the campaign.
Each panel consists of an illustration, a contemporary quotation, and about 170 words of narrative text. By comparison with today’s museum panels, this is rather long. However, as many Australians and New Zealanders who visit Anzac have made a big personal commitment to get there, it was thought that they would be willing to give time to understanding what happened at Gallipoli.