"Lest We Forget"
Anzac Day & Armistice Day History tours:
Even living on the far side of the planet, families in Australia and New Zealand were massively affected by the carnage that was World War 1. Nearly one person in ten served in the armed forces, with just under half of all men between 18 and 44 serving in uniform.
This meant just about every third family had someone who either served, was injured, or died. Everyone in Australian society in 1918 knew someone personally, who did not come home.
The North Shore of Sydney was no exception. The very first 4 regiments of 1st AIF, comprising of our "best and brightest" were raised here on the North Shore and the suburbs of Sydney. Sadly, many are now posthumously commemorated on the honour rolls of our schools, sporting clubs and surviving public buildings - with ages at which they died, so appallingly young.
Yet not all were kids. Doctors such as Gother Clarke, who in his fifties was one of the main surgeons in the Australian Army Medical Corps, or Eastermorn Waller, a nurse in her thirties - were killed ministering to the wounded in hospitals and a church, many miles behind the lines. Cannon shells killed so many, so indiscriminately - and often left little, if anything to bury .
It is this background of the sheer blood-letting , ugliness and suffering that was the norm of fighting around Anzac cove, and the western front in Europe that makes the heroism, gallantry, good humour and gentlemanly conduct worth remembering. They were living a waking nightmare, in the most hellish of places. Something else to keep in mind, is that the men wearing the slouch hat were not all 6 feet tall plus, blue eyed blonde, “Clancy of the Overflow” type tanned bushmen and athletes. They were as diverse in their backgrounds from factory workers, to shop clerks, to tradesmen and every other kind of profession you can imagine.
It was their very ordinariness – the fact they were fathers, sons, mothers and daughters, spouses and sweethearts that make their super-human efforts even more remarkable.
It was because they were all of these things, that makes their loss so keenly felt. The empty place at the family dinner table, the clothes that would remain hanging in the wardrobe in mute reminder, and the Christmases that would never be shared again with that loved one, became a feature of many Australian households. It isn’t an exaggeration that 1918 as a year where the whole world was in a state of shock and grief. Of all of the best and brightest who went off to war, so many did not come back. Many of those families, not knowing if their loved one would be remembered in any formal way, made memorials to them on their own family plots and mausoleums in the St Thomas Cemetery in Crows Nest, and in the Gore Hill Memorial Cemetery on the Pacific Highway, right next to Royal North Shore Hospital. Lone Pine, Quinn’s Post, the Nek , Passchendaele, and many other places that they fell, are memorialized in stone in these lower North Shore Cemeteries.
Today, Anzac day and Armistice Day ( sometimes referred to as Remembrance day) are used to commemorate all of the memories of those who fell, and those who served in war, in WW1 and subsequent conflicts. Surprisingly, no one has made the concentrated effort to tell their stories in St Thomas' cemetery or Gore Hill memorial Cemetery up until now.
This Armistice day, 11/11 2012, there will be two daytime history tours, the first starting at Cammeray Square at 9.45am, and the second starting at 1.45pm at The Forum Plaza @ St Leonards railway station, that will tell the stories of these men and women, to whom we owe so much.
Advance bookings are essential and can be made on 02 8197 0363.
The cost of the tours are:
Adults $40.00 per person,
students and concession card holders $30.00 per person.
10% of profits of SydneyGhostTour.Com are always used to restore and preserve historic sites on all of our tours, however, 10% of the profits from these two tours will be donated to Legacy NSW.