Australian National Identity Essay

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Was the Gallipoli experience a turning point in Australia's history? For many people this momentous event represents the very essence of Australia's identity. It was the first major step made by Australians towards nationhood. Through the confrontation of Australians and their British 'brothers', the two nations discovered their ignorance and lack of understanding of each other. The Gallipoli campaign also acted as a 'coming of age' event for Australia where for the first time, Australia, as a unified country with a common goal was recognised as an independent state. For many Australians, ANZAC Day is a day to remember the turning point in Australia's history, the beginning of Australia as an independent and freestanding country. But, in some aspects the Gallipoli experience falls short of the mark as a singular event responsible for this development. ANZAC is one of the many events that should be recognised for its part in forming an Australian identity. Federation, the influx of migrants in Australia in the 1950's, the Election of the Labor Party in 1972 and the subsequent Constitutional Crisis of 1975 all contributed to the formation of the Australian nation. Another short coming of Gallipoli as the turning point of Australia's history is the fact that it remains in every part a 'White Australia' celebration. It does not reflect indigenous Australians or the large Asian community who also called Australia 'Home'. ANZAC day owes a lot to the considerable romanticizing and advertising given by the Returned Soldiers League (RSL) to the public. But, for most Australians, even in its most simple form, the Gallipoli experience can be recognised as a major event in the shaping of Australia's identity. At dawn on 25 April 1915, 16 000 ANZAC troops went ashore at Gaba Tepe, in an area later called ANZAC Cove. Many of them going into battle for the first time. The
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