The homecoming from Gallipoli
Initially young men heading off to the war spoke of it as a great adventure. Many never returned from this adventure, and those who did returned with physical and psychological scars, many of which were never properly acknowledged or treated. W.A. Bowring's 1916 painting Homecoming from Gallipoli and the song 'The band played Waltzing Matilda', written by an Australian musician called Eric Bogle give us some sense of the pain and suffering experienced by many survivors. The experiences of the Australian character in this song would have been very similar to those of many Kiwis. The Irish band The Pogues recorded a successful version of this song on the album Rum, sodomy and the lash, which you might be able to obtain.
These resources, as well as many other photos and images available from the recommended online resources, reveal the real impact of Gallipoli on those who survived. Some survivors wondered if those killed were in fact better off than them. The long-term impact on those who came home is another area you could explore with your class.
- What was life like for those who survived?
- What scars did the experience leave on those who were involved?
- In 'The band played Waltzing Matilda', the narrator says:
So now every April I sit on my porch
And watch the parade pass before me
I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving their days of past glory
I see the old men all twisted and torn
The tired old heroes of a forgotten war
And the young people ask me 'What are they marching for?'
And I ask myself the same question.
In a paragraph of between four and six sentences summarise, in your own words, what you believe the narrator is saying in this verse.