Anzac Day in Australia

 Anzac day is a celebration of the commitment and sacrifice of the young men and women who served in battles, under the Australian and New Zealand flag, in years past.  As it is a declared public holiday, most of us spend our time making Anzac biscuits, throwing ‘snags’ on the ‘Barbie,’ or even attending a Dawn or Remembrance service, whilst others just chill out.

Land Administration building

Where and when did this tradition start?  Last week, I visited a former workplace of mine which, I was surprised to find, (according to Wikipedia), was significant in the first Anzac day. The Land Administration Building in George Street, Brisbane has, at various times, since its completion in 1905, housed the Queensland Department of Lands, the National Art Gallery, the Executive chambers of the Queensland Parliament, and the State’s Departments of Mapping and Surveying, until the nineties, when it was converted to a five star hotel providing accommodation for the Treasury Casino.

lac6My former workplace for 8 years: my desk sat between these two columns. Once only a window, today steps and a doorway have been sensitively added.  Local materials were used in the construction and this window fronting Queens Park in central Brisbane overlooks a somewhat glum statue of Queen Victoria. [Some years ago, Queens Park enjoyed some less than salubrious residents, being as it was, a haunt of the aged, homeless folk of the inner Brisbane.] There was no sign of them this day.

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The exterior of the building, along with the front of the neighbouring Treasury, features architectural features from construction methods of the past, such as banded rustication, Ionic colonnades, balconies and sculptured facades. The lift, (yes, there was one!), had walls that comprised a fancy metal cage, a bit like you see in old French movies and it operated at a snail’s pace, in fact, the snails would probably beat you to the second floor.

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Air conditioning is almost a pre-requisite in the harsh Queensland summer, but during the time I worked there, the high ceilings, thick sandstone/freestone walls, marble floors, and wide stairwells  meant the building was actually very well ventilated, naturally cool and surprisingly comfortable. I recall the government did provide their employees with a ‘government issue’ towel, presumably for mopping one’s brow if the stress of the workplace got too much! 😛

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The entrance vestibule, at the rear door, features stained glass windows with allegorical depictions of the backbone of the state’s economy: ie. mining and agriculture. [and the kangaroo makes a cameo appearance!) Furthermore, each room contained one or two large wooden mantlepieces constructed  from more of the state’s natural assets:  timbers such as maple, cedar, silky oak and black bean.

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One of my co-workers at the time, wrote a book about the building’s construction by the main contractor, Arthur Midson, who just happened to be the author’s grandfather. But the building is personally significant, for me, as I met my life partner there, and next week we will visit this building again to eat in a restaurant, located in the very same room in which we both worked!

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But getting back to Anzac day: Wiki tells us this: “Of particular importance is a marble tablet set into the wall of the George Street entrance inscribed with the message sent by King George V to the people of Australia on 25 April 1916, establishing the Anzac Day tradition.” 

Lest We Forget - Anzac Day in Brisbane

I often noticed this particular stone/ marble tablet, but was completely oblivious to its significance to Anzac day until today.  Lest we Forget.

 

Something to Ponder About on Anzac day.

 

 

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About Forestwoodfolkart

Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. I have Scandinavian, Frisian and Prussian/Silesian ancestry and for that reason, I feel a connection with that part of the world. I am an avid Nordic Crime fiction reader, and enjoy photography, writing and a variety of cooking and crafts, and traditional decorative art forms. Politically aware and egalitarian by nature, I have a strong environmental bent.
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13 Responses to Anzac Day in Australia

  1. YUM!!! Never got around this year to making any…. can smell and taste from your post 😉

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  2. Jet Eliot says:

    Gorgeous building and photos. Am also happy to be reminded of Anzac day, and introduced to the Anzac biscuits.

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  3. Great post. 😀

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  4. M-R says:

    DELIGHTFUL post, Amanda ! – and timely, of course. That’s a marvellous building – I’m madly in love with the stained glass, as well as the use of timbers. A fine piece indeed of colonial archtecture, and very well recorded by you. Goodonyermate ! 🙂

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  5. joannesisco says:

    Thanks for the wonderful history lesson. I saw Anzac Day on my calendar yesterday and wondered what it meant. Thanks again. Great post and loved the pictures 🙂

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    • I assume you are in Canada? Do you have the equivalent of Anzac day?

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    • joannesisco says:

      I am in Canada and for us I think it would be Remembrance Day on November 11th.

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    • Oh Ok. We also have rememberance day on Nov 11th to commemorate WWI and Gallipoli, being a part of the Commonwealth, I suppose means we have that common link. However, it is of a much lesser importance as time goes on, as Anzac day commemorates all the wars/battles, and so more younger people and families are involved and it seems to be gaining in popularity. No doubt the public holiday helps the celebration, whereas there is no holiday for Nov 11th.

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  6. Woolly Muses says:

    Excellent post. I’m finding that I appreciate the ANZAC tradition more as time passes.

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