Friday 24 April 2009 by Andrew Gray. 12 comments
Battlefield Tours, Gallipoli, Simpson Prize

Simpson Prize students on the Cannakale Ferry Simpson Prize students on the Cannakale Ferry

By Eleanor Lourey (Simpson Prize winner):

Being here for Anzac Day seems so much more important now that I have learnt so much about WWI and the Gallipoli campaign.  Seeing so many Australian graves makes the whole day more purposeful to remember and commemorate their lives.  Seeing what some of the relatives had written on the gravestones made it seem so much more real and made me think about their families they had left behind at home.

When I saw how large the set-up is for the Dawn Service made me realize how important the day is, not only for Australians but also for New Zealanders and Turks.  I am now looking forward to the Anzac Day services more than I was before, all because now I am here on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

Over to the Asian side

The weather has turned and it's now cold, windy and wet.  But that hasn't dampened our enthusiasm for a trip across to the Asian side of Turkey.  A quick journey on the vehicle ferry to Cannakkale provides a spectacular view of the Dardenelles and a reminder of the busy shipping lane, as tankers and transports move through.

The ships help in imagining how British and French warships would have looked as they steamed in to launch their attacks in March 1915.  The view from the Dardanos battery was great and we could see the area where Nusrat laid its mines that caused such damage.  The Cimenlik Fort is a naval museum with displays covering the 1915 campaign as well ancient cannons for earlier conflicts.  The displays are throughout the fort, right up into a series of small dome shaped rooms at the top, which had a very weird acoustic effect when you talked.

Cannakale Hillside. The inscription is from a poem by the Turkish poet, Necmettin Halil Onan. Translation: "Traveller halt! The soil you tread Once witnessed the end of an era." Cannakale Hillside. The inscription is from a poem by the Turkish poet, Necmettin Halil Onan. Translation: "Traveller halt! The soil you tread Once witnessed the end of an era."

Down to Troy and a chance to visit a site with a history of over 5,000 years.  The fake Trojan Horse at the entrance is a bit of a laugh - complete with stairs going up into its belly and little windows to look out of.  But the real Troy is an amazing insight into an ancient culture.  Our fabulous guide Ozgur told us of the history of the city from early mud-brick walls, protected now by a giant sail, to the continuous building and layering that happened over hundreds and thousands of years.  A quick stop in the wind and rain at Cannakale allowed a few of us to take some pictures of the Torjan horse constructed for the recent movie Troy, which we all agreed was a much better representation of how the real one might have looked.  Some technical discussions ensued about how we might go about photo-shopping Brad Pitt into the photos.

Ruins of Troy Ruins of Troy

We enjoyed yet another fabulous Turkish meal, this time at a water-front restaurant in Cannakale. Soup, meatballs, Turkish Pizza and salad - and then the main meal came!  While our tummies are expanding to accommodate all this food, it's hard at times to keep up.  It's a tough life but don't worry - we'll soldier on.

The bad weather meant that our formal rehearsal for wreathlaying at Lone Pine was cancelled, but we decided to go up to Lone Pine for a brief run through.  Andrew explained our role and what we would be doing on Anzac Day, and he walked us through our paces.  We continued with a drive up the frontline, and a promise of returning the next day to walk the same route.

Troy Horse Troy Horse


Kayla Mizzi

Hi again 09 Simpsons!! That sounds like so much fun! And I know what you mean by the huge meals; I could never finish mine (luckily we had Oliver to eat everybody's left-overs though, so we never wasted anything - and actually the fire extinguisher was pretty bad.. he didn't want it to break the glass door so he kindly kicked it into me and we had to rush out to escape the glares and stares from everybody else in there!). So you all spotted the stairs going up to the Trojan Horse? Good stuff; I can't remember who it was, but I'm pretty sure that when we went there, somebody asked "is that the real trojan horse?!". It's a shame about the bad weather - I hope it improves for you (even if it doesn't though, nothing could stop you from having an amazing time!) Make sure you rug-up for Anzac Day - it's freezing - literally! It got to -4 C last year, I think. Good luck for the wreath-laying - it'll be an amazing day for all of you. Kayla

Emma Campbell

Hey Simpsons!! Glad to hear that you're having such a great time!! Just 17 hours to go before your big day/night!!!! Hope you all have a great Anzac Day and enjoy all the services...if you have thermals; wear them! -You'll definitely need them!- To warm up and for a yummy snack in the early hours, I'd recommend the kebabs, some of our group had an interesting experience after eating the hot chips -eat like the locals...- A special "HI" to Lauren! I apologise for not contacting you before you left. My grandma heard you speaking on radio; well done! To all of you: Congratulations and Good Luck for the remainder of the trip and particularly tomorrow. Emma C PS: HEY ANDREW!!! Still up to your old antics I see... Are you still at the Memorial?? -obviously...oops- I tried to contact you earlier this year about my History Extension Project... - Guess who I'm researching: Ataturk!!!!! - but they told me that you'd left... Love to have your updated contact deatils... Try and keep the kids in line...-just joking...- xx

Dale and Gary Moriarty

I'll bet Erin ate more than her fair share of pizza - food being such an important element in her life. We are expecting a bite by bite account of her trip when she returns.


Hi Varun & other Simpson 09 prize winners, Saw your photographs. Hope you are all having fun. post more photos from the dawn service

Joyce Chen (Lauren's mum)

Tell Lauren, we will ALL be watching out for her poetic tribute to the soldiers so don't stuff it up!! Have sms'ed all the ppl I can think of. Will be praying for a warmer morning tmo for you (see Kayla's post) We are all very proud of you kids and don't stay up too late tonight.

Joyce Chen (Lauren's mum)

PS. Lauren, Ludmilla rang today and asked whether you were practising your scales and minor chords !!. On a more serious note, she sends you her love.

Bernadette and Russell Dyer

Good to see you all looking happy and healthy. Message for Nic -your Nan told us the history of your great uncle. He was a sapper in the 6th Field Battalion and fought on the Western Front. He died from war wounds in France 1918. His name was William John Quine and his name is on the Subiaco Memorial. He lived on Rankin Road. Nan was keen for you to know that you had a relative who fought in the Great War. We will be thinking of you all at the dawn service.

Peter, Marianne & Henry Lourey

Great to see everybody looking so happy and hearing about your exploits. Eleanor, from the extracts from your diary, you are obviously learning a lot while you are there and it is bringing the great battles to life. Can you picture your great grandfather Dyer and his brother there? The dawn service will be televised on the ABC tomorrow and we are looking forward to watching that and maybe catching a glimpse of you. (Msg from Dad) Eleanor, did you buy me one of those cool hats? All our love and best wishes.

Janelle, Mark and Caitlin Prouatt

Love the photos and reading about where you are and what's happening . Meg, Cait is so jealous of your trip to Troy. Food sounds delicious, I'm(dad) wishing I was there. There have been a lot of TV news stories leading up to Anzac Day. There are obviously a number of secondary school tour groups there. We are also hoping to see you during the dawn service, especially mum. Good news Meg your dress is now hanging in your wardrobe. Enjoy everything, love and best wishes.

Deb Harrison (Teacher-Librarian Darwin High School)

Hi Simpson Travellers This morning I've been to the Darwin ANZAC Day Service - Erin, they read an excerpt from your essay, so that was great! Also, I've just seen the Gallipoli Service on TV - and so wishing I was there. Looked like a perfect morning for it (albeit a little cold). Enjoy the rest of your travels.

Lyn MacBain

Message for Nic, Not sure if this will mean anything but I am looking for relatives of William John Quine [the same one describe in the email from Bernadette and Russell Dyer] to establish whether they are connected to me or not. If somehow you receive this I would be very pleased to hear from you and it looks like you had a fantastic time.

mr. hanly(mountain range)

hello Simpsons!!!! great eventure i went there as well i thought it was great. i liked the troy horse but i didnt like how you couldn't go in it. :( bye