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Family history, Great War memory and the ANZAC revival

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2018, 00:00 authored by Carolyn HolbrookCarolyn Holbrook
Various explanations have been given for the revival of ANZAC commemoration since the 1990s.
Marilyn Lake, Henry Reynolds and others have identified the propagandising role of the state, while Christina Twomey has described the increasing salience of narratives of trauma and suffering, which allow war commemoration to ‘speak’ in the contemporary idiom. More recently, Jim McKay has detailed the inadequacies of the state-driven narrative and attributed the ANZAC resurgence to a complex set of transnational factors, including battlefield tourism. This article argues that none of these explanations reaches sufficiently far back to explain a revival whose origins are discernible in the 1970s. It shows how the international trend for genealogy and family history led Australians to take an interest in their soldier ancestors, and how these intimate and sympathetic histories from the Great War were the foundation stones upon which ANZAC 2.0 was raised. The article argues that the grounding of the re-born Anzac legend in the personal and prosaic offers some protection against the buffeting of political and commercial headwinds.

History

Journal

Social alternatives

Volume

37

Issue

3

Pagination

19 - 25

Publisher

Social Alternatives

Location

Brisbane, Qld.

ISSN

0155-0306

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Social Alternatives

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