Tomorrow, 25 April is Anzac Day, a day of national significance and a public holiday in both Australia and New Zealand. The day is the anniversary of the first major military campaign fought by Australian and New Zealand forces in World War I, but now commemorates all who have served in any military campaign or operation since. The acronym stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Ceremonies are held around the country and well-attended by past and present servicemen and women, their families and friends, and the general public.
While most children and teachers in both Australia and New Zealand are still on school holidays, they will undoubtedly discuss, and conduct ceremonies in recognition of ANZAC Day when school returns.
To assist your discussions, I remind you of Allison Paterson’s wonderful book Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials, about which I interviewed Allison in November last year as part of the Books on Tour promotion.
About the book
The book explains, in a way that is detailed but accessible for a young audience, the origins and significance of both Anzac Day and Remembrance Day. Explanations of the traditions and symbols ensure that children understand why it is important to observe these historical events and why we should never forget those who fought for our country and those who keep us safe today.
Here are some reminders of Allison’s book:
If your school or local library doesn’t already have copies of Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials, it can be purchased from all good bookstores or direct from Big Sky Publishing where extensive teacher notes are also available.
Children in your class may attend Anzac Day ceremonies with family members who served or are still serving. Why not invite the children to share their knowledge or invite their serving family members to discuss, in child-friendly ways, the importance of their contribution and why it is important to remember the sacrifice of others.
Members of my family served in both World Wars, other conflicts and peacekeeping operations. My father, in his later years, wrote poems and stories about some of his experiences in the Second World War. A section of one of his poems is featured on the Anzac Memorial in the town in which he grew up. Sadly, he did not live to see it recognised in this way.
Anzac biscuits are a popular treat all year round, or were in my family as I was growing up, but especially around Anzac Day. During World War I, soldiers were sent packages of food from families and friends back home. Because it could be some time from when the food was baked until it was received, it had to keep for a long time and also be nutritious. Anzac biscuits filled both these requirements. As a special treat, I share with you my Mum’s Anzac biscuit recipe.
Mum’s Anzac Biscuits
1 cup plain flour
I cup rolled oats
I cup coconut
1 cup sugar
110 grams butter
1 tablespoon syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons hot water
Pinch of salt
- Place the oats, coconut, sugar, flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Put the syrup, butter and hot water in a saucepan and heat.
- When it starts to boil, add the soda and mix it into the dry ingredients. Mix well.
- Roll the mixture into small balls or use a spoon.
- Cook in a moderate oven (180⁰C) for about 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
Note: The biscuits will be soft when they come out of the oven but will harden and crisp as they cool.
I am both proud of and grateful to my parents and other family members for the contribution they have made towards the freedom that we enjoy in Australia today. I’m sure you and your children have many for whom you feel the same way.
We will not forget.
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