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New preferred Anzac site for Gallipoli dawn services



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Media ReleaseThe Hon Bruce Scott MRMinister for Vetemns’Affairs · Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence · r e d e d Member for Marunoa 54/99 Tuesday 20 April 1999

NEW PREFERRED ANZAC SITE FOR GALLIPOLI DAWN SERVICES

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Bruce Scott announced today that a new preferred site has been decided for Anzac Day dawn services at Gallipoli from next year. A proposal will now be submitted to the Turkish Government in mid-June seeking their approval to develop the site.

“I have undertaken extensive consultation with the New Zealand and Turkish Governments, with veteran organisations here and in New Zealand, and with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission,’" Mr Scott said.

“As a result, I have agreed that the area at Gallipoli known as the Sphinx site on North Beach and located between Mule Gully and Reserve Gully, is our preferred location for future dawn services. Subject to our obtaining the necessary approvals from the Turkish Government, the first service to be held there will be on Anzac Day 2000 - the 85th anniversary of the first landing.”

The new Sphinx site will be suitable for visitor numbers in the range of 12-15.000 and the Australian Government has committed $1.3 million towards construction works.

“The Dawn Service at Gallipoli has been held for a number of years in the Ari Bumu War Cemetery, one of 31 allied cemeteries on the peninsula,” Mr Scon said.

“Ari Bumu is of special significance to Australia and New Zealand because it was the site of the first landings, the first deaths and the first burials of Anzacs. all of which occurred on 25 April 1915. It is seen by a growing number of Australians not only as a sacred place, but one of great spiritual significance to our nation.

“While I fully recognise the spiritual significance of the cemetery, grave markers and horticulture have been damaged, particularly since 1990 when increasing numbers have attended the Dawn Service.”

Mr Scott added that his intention in moving the site for the dawn service was not to lessen the importance of Ari Bumu for visitors to Gallipoli on Anzac Day. but rather to enhance it.

“I want to restore its sense as a place of contemplation and quiet reflection, rather than as a pre-dawn gathering place for thousands of visitors,” he said.

An investigation of alternative sites was undertaken by the Office of Australian War Graves. more to come

NEW PREFERRED ANZAC SITE FOR GALLIPOLI DAWN SERV ICES (CONT)

The investigation revealed there were two sites of equal relevance to the dawn landings, one next to Ari Bumu Cemetery and one 300 metres further north. Pre-dawn landings of the covering force by members of the 3rd Brigade. 1st Division, Australian and New Zealand Army Corps occurred at both these sites. Later in the morning, the 1st and 2nd Brigades of the P' Division went in. followed by the Australian and New Zealand Division.

"For future dawn services. I would expect visitors will move to Ari Bumu War Cemetery immediately following the Dawn Service at the Sphinx site. It will remain, together with Lone Pine, an essential element of the pilgrimage an increasing number of us make there each year." Mr Scott concluded.

Media Contact: Michael Priebe: (02) 6277 7820 or 0418 482 514 Dept Contact: Air Vice Marshal Gary Beck AO (rtd) (02) 6289 6477

ATTENTION NEWS EDITORS: a photograph of the ‘Sphinx’ site is available on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Website at: httD:/Avww.dva.gov.au/media/images/snhinx.tif or httn://www. dva.gov.au/media/images/snhinx.ing The tif file is the higher quality image but jpg will provide a quicker download.