7 places in nature with a special connection to the Anzacs

7 places in nature with a special connection to the Anzacs

Did you know that many of South Australia’s nat­ur­al spaces have a spe­cial Anzac con­nec­tion? Here’s where.

There’s his­to­ry ooz­ing out of every cor­ner of South Aus­tralia, and our nation­al parks and nat­ur­al spaces are no exception.

But did you know that many of them have a sig­nif­i­cant con­nec­tion to the Anzacs?

Read on to learn more about 7 of these sig­nif­i­cant spots. 

1. The ori­gins of the Ris­ing Sun Badge

There’s no more icon­ic emblem of Anzac Day than the Ris­ing Sun Badge, but did you know that the ori­gins of the Ris­ing Sun Badge can be traced back to Fort Glanville (which has since become Fort Glanville Con­ser­va­tion Park) in Adelaide’s north-west­ern suburbs?

In 1893 the British Par­lia­ment gave pow­er to the Aus­tralian Colo­nial Gov­ern­ments to form their own mil­i­tary forces. South Aus­tralia was the first colony to do so, found­ing the South Aus­tralian Per­ma­nent Artillery with its head-quar­ters at Fort Glanville and appoint­ed Major Joseph Gor­don as the Com­man­der to lead the regiment.

In that same year, Major Gor­don designed a tro­phy and with the assis­tance of a ship­wright aboard the SA Naval Ship, HMCS Pro­tec­tor, an icon­ic Aus­tralian emblem was born. The tro­phy includ­ed a crown in the cen­tre with bay­o­nets placed in a semi-cir­cle around it and became known as the Ris­ing Sun’ tro­phy. Major Gor­don proud­ly hung the tro­phy in his office at the Fort Glanville barracks.

In 1902, Major Gor­don gave his tro­phy as a gift to the new­ly appoint­ed Com­man­der-in-Chief of the Aus­tralian Forces, Major-Gen­er­al Sir Edward Hut­ton, who then hung it above the door­way in his office in Melbourne.

This coin­cid­ed with the Aus­tralian Forces form­ing the 1st Bat­tal­ion, Aus­tralian Com­mon­wealth Horse for ser­vice in South Africa. Major-Gen­er­al Hut­ton decid­ed that the force should have a spe­cial badge and it is report­ed that he point­ed to the Ris­ing Sun Tro­phy above his door­way and said: Why not some­thing like that?” The rest is his­to­ry – the Ris­ing Sun Badge has been an emblem of the Aus­tralian Defence Force ever since.

7 places in nature with a special connection to the Anzacs

2. Ruins of the Love­day Intern­ment Camps

You may not know that one of Australia’s largest Sec­ond World War (WW2) intern­ment camps was locat­ed in the River­land, not far from Barmera.

Estab­lished in 1941, the Love­day Intern­ment Camps housed pris­on­ers of war (POWs) and civil­ian Ger­man, Ital­ian and, lat­er, Japan­ese res­i­dents through­out the war.

At its peak, 5,380 internees and pris­on­ers of war lived at the camp, as well as 1,500 armed forces per­son­nel. The camp was a large com­plex made up of a num­ber of camps with POWs and internees held separately.

Those who worked at the 178-acre camp pro­duced large amounts of food and soap for the army, and wood for pump­ing stations.

The camp also pro­duced the great­est amount of opi­um in Aus­tralia, grow­ing pop­pies to make more than half the Aus­tralian Army’s mor­phine in 1944.

From the road you can still see ruins of the Head­quar­ters Camp that housed mil­i­tary per­son­nel. While these ruins aren’t open for vis­i­tors, the Barmera Vis­i­tor Infor­ma­tion Cen­tre has a dis­play and infor­ma­tion about the site. 

3. Hal­lett Cove’s resem­blance to Gallipoli

There is a strik­ing resem­blance between land­scapes of Anzac Cove in Gal­lipoli and Hal­lett Cove in South Aus­tralia. With its rocky shore­line, cliffs and low scrub­by veg­e­ta­tion it is easy to see why.

To com­mem­o­rate the 100-year anniver­sary of the Anzac land­ing, the local com­mu­ni­ty built a memo­r­i­al at Hal­lett Cove that has a sim­i­lar appear­ance to the one found in Gallipoli.

If you’re local to the area, take some time to reflect as you take a walk in neigh­bour­ing Hal­lett Cove Con­ser­va­tion Park.

7 places in nature with a special connection to the Anzacs

4. Meningie’s memo­r­i­al to Abo­rig­i­nal servicemen

Pay­ing trib­ute to the local Abo­rig­i­nal men who served in the First World War (WW1), a 15 m‑long mur­al near Meningie’s Memo­r­i­al Park is a fea­ture of the town’s main street.

Installed by a Syd­ney street artist, the mur­al hon­ours Ngar­rind­jeri men from the Meningie region who vol­un­teered and fought in WW1, depict­ing each sol­dier in his uniform.

The near­by Memo­r­i­al Park hon­ours all ser­vice men and women from the region that have served in wars and con­flicts, and includes memo­r­i­al pavers dis­play­ing the names of local ser­vice­men that fought in WW1 and WW2.

A mon­u­ment, Avro Anson air­craft, field gun and anchor are also dis­played in the park, rep­re­sent­ing the air force, army and navy. 

5. Oppor­tu­ni­ties to reflect along the Belair Returned and Ser­vices League (RSL) Walk

In 1922, a plan­ta­tion of 700 Japan­ese cher­ry trees was plant­ed in Belair Nation­al Park to be an ongo­ing liv­ing memo­r­i­al to WW1 sol­diers. Lat­er, in 1962, the memo­r­i­al was extend­ed with an avenue of sequoias that were plant­ed to com­mem­o­rate Aus­tralian and Amer­i­can forces that served in WW2 and Korea.

Today, the Belair RSL Walk pass­es through the rem­nant cher­ry plan­ta­tion and fol­lows a board­walk and path through native bush­land where you are sure to spot plen­ty of koalas and maybe even a bandi­coot. The walk ends at the dra­mat­ic avenue of tall sequoias.

Watch the video below to explore what was once one of the most impor­tant WW1 memo­ri­als in Aus­tralia. The remain­ing trees are a reminder of the past and those they honour.

RSL Walk at Belair Nation­al Park 

6. War Ser­vice Land Set­tle­ment Scheme in The Riverland

Today the River­land is a thriv­ing food pro­duc­tion area, but it owes much of its suc­cess to our Diggers.

Fol­low­ing WW1 and WW2, the South Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment intro­duced the War Ser­vice Land Set­tle­ment Scheme, mak­ing large areas of land avail­able to those who served to help their repa­tri­a­tion and meet demands for more food production.

These schemes ini­tial­ly opened up land at Cob­dogla, Waik­erie, Berri, Cadell, Chaf­fey and near Ren­mark for agri­cul­ture. Fol­low­ing WW2, this expand­ed to include the Lox­ton Irri­ga­tion Area and a greater area at Chaffey.

The hard work and lessons learnt by Anzacs in set­tling these areas, and the irri­gat­ed agri­cul­ture that devel­oped, have shaped much of the River­land as we know it today.

7. South Australia’s own Gal­lipoli Beach

Locat­ed on Eyre Penin­su­la, just north of Cof­fin Bay in the Thorny Pas­sage Marine Park, there is an iso­lat­ed beach known as Gal­lipoli Beach. Just like its name­sake in Turkey, more than 13,000 km away, our Gal­lipoli Beach is about the same length (250 m) and is backed by steep 30 m cliffs.

Although it has a sim­i­lar appear­ance to Anzac Cove, that’s not the rea­son why it’s known as Gal­lipoli Beach. In 1981, the beach was trans­formed into Anzac Cove and fea­tured in the crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed Gal­lipoli’ movie.

Direct­ed by Peter Weir and star­ring Mel Gib­son, the movie won 8 Aus­tralian Film Insti­tute (AFI) awards includ­ing Best Film, Best Direc­tor, Best Actor, Best Sup­port­ing Actor, Best Screen­play and Best Cin­e­matog­ra­phy. The Eyre Penin­su­la beach was lat­er named Gal­lipoli Beach after fea­tur­ing in the movie.

7 places in nature with a special connection to the Anzacs

If you love learn­ing about South Australia’s his­to­ry, you might enjoy these sto­ries: 10 SA nation­al parks with names derived from Abo­rig­i­nal lan­guages, and Your guide to Kan­ga­roo Island’s most famous lighthouses.

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in April 2018.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living