Anzac Day in a small Australian village

This year was the hundred year anniversary of the First World War and all round Australia Anzac Day ceremonies were taking place on 25th April.

Metung is only a little village but the turn out for the ceremony showed how important the remembrance ceremony is to the people here as it is in other parts of Australia.

Anzac Day

The ceremony had a contingent of Air Force personnel from the local Air Force Base and there was a strong turn out of local returned service men and women.

The Light Horsemen were represented.

LighthorsemenThe local school children played a part in the ceremony with students telling a short history of each of the nine local residents who were killed in World War 1.  The students then planted a cross for each of the soldiers.

World War 1 crosses

There were two excellent guest speakers and then the ceremonial wreath laying

Anzac Day wreathsfollowed by the Ode.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

Lest we forget.

A traditional part of Anzac Day is the baking of Anzac biscuits.

Anzac biscuits

These biscuits were sent to the troops during the War.

ANZAC Biscuits

During World War 1, the wives, mothers and girlfriends of the Australian soldiers were concerned for the nutritional value of the food being supplied to their men. Here was a problem. Any food they sent to the fighting men had to be carried in the ships of the Merchant Navy. Most of these were lucky to maintain a speed of ten knots (18.5 kilometers per hour). Most had no refrigerated facilities, so any food sent had to be able to remain edible after periods in excess of two months. A body of women came up with the answer – a biscuit with all the nutritional value possible. The basis was a Scottish recipe using rolled oats. These oats were used extensively in Scotland, especially for a heavy porridge that helped counteract the extremely cold climate.

The ingredients they used were: rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water. All these items did not readily spoil. At first the biscuits were called Soldiers’ Biscuits, but after the landing on Gallipoli, they were renamed ANZAC Biscuits.

A point of interest is the lack of eggs to bind the ANZAC biscuit mixture together. Because of the war, many of the poultry farmers had joined the services, thus, eggs were scarce. The binding agent for the biscuits was golden syrup or treacle. Eggs that were sent long distances were coated with a product called ke peg (like Vaseline) then packed in air tight containers filled with sand to cushion the eggs and keep out the air.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. I bet they were glad to get those biscuits. I’ve made them a few times, they were very tasty. Yours look delicious.

  2. Frank Burns says:

    I thought about this anniversary last year when I was on the Gallipoli peninsula.

    1. suth2 says:

      There was a rather large contingent of Australians at Gallipoli this year. The Australian government had a ballot for places at the ceremony there as places were restricted, otherwise it would have resulted in an overwhelming mass of people.

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