Sections

  1. The landing

    25 April 1915: an armada of ships assembles off the Gallipoli peninsula to land thousands of troops on the Turkish beaches.

  2. The August offensive

    With only a tenuous grip on the peninsula, a concerted effort to break the stalemate began in August.

  3. Life at Anzac

    What were conditions on the peninsula like? How did soldiers endure the filth, sickness, disease, and death for so long?

  4. The evacuation

    The greatest achievement of the campaign: the safe evacuation of thousands without loss of life.

  5. The cost

    The ill-fated campaign cost tens of thousands of lives; overall casualties may have been as high as half a million men.

  6. Case studies

    Stories that explore personal experiences of the Gallipoli campaign.

Background

The landing by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) on Turkey's Gallipoli peninsula on 25 April 1915 was Australia's first major action of the Great War. In this campaign, and in those that followed in France, Belgium, Sinai and Palestine, the nation endured the full fury and destruction of modern warfare and suffered more than 60,000 dead.

The Australian public generally greeted the news of the outbreak of war in August 1914 with enthusiasm. Progress was quickly under way to raise, equip, and despatch an army to the other side of the world. Volunteers rushed forward offering their names. While many had militia or cadet experience, or were veterans of the Boer War, most were civilians fresh to army life. Women were represented in the army nursing service, and also in voluntary aid organisations like the Red Cross. The name Australian Imperial Force (AIF) – was chosen by the force's commander, Major General William Bridges. It acknowledged the AIF's distinct national identity while declaring its allegiance to the empire.

The first troop convoy destined for the war set off from Albany, Western Australia, on 1 November 1914. While expecting to go to Europe, it was only when they reached Aden in Egypt that news came that the troops would go no further, and would undergo training near Cairo.

The Dardanelles Strait was the gateway to Constantinople (Istanbul), the Black Sea, and the winter ports of Russia. When mines and Turkish shore defences prevented the French and British navies from passing through the Dardanelles it was decided that troops should make landings at points along the Gallipoli peninsula. A large group of British Empire troops, including the Anzacs, were stationed in Egypt and ready to be drawn on.

View of the beach at Anzac Cove, with Australian soldiers unloading supplies and setting up camp.

Links to the Australian curriculum: History

The content of these stories and classroom activities will provide opportunities to develop historical understanding through:

Historical skills

Year 6: Sequence historical people and events, use historical terms and concepts, identify questions to inform an historical inquiry, locate information related to inquiry questions in a range of sources, and compare information from a range of sources.

Year 9: Use historical terms and concepts, identify the origin, purpose and context of primary and secondary sources, identify and analyse the perspectives of people from the past, and develop texts, particularly descriptions and discussions, that use evidence from a range of sources that are referenced.

Historical knowledge and understanding

Year 9: World War I (1914-1918) - An overview of the causes of World War I and the reasons why men enlisted to fight in the war, the places where Australians fought and the nature of warfare during World War I, including the Gallipoli campaign, the impact of World War I with a particular emphasis on Australia, and the commemoration of World War I, including debates about the nature and significance of the Anzac legend.

While History is the main focus of the learning activities attached to these stories, they also have relevance to other curriculum areas, including English, Science, the Arts, and Civics and Citizenship.

Learning method

This resource adopts an inquiry learning approach, with students encouraged to examine a range of information and source material. After research, analysis, and discussion, students can construct their own understandings, and draw conclusions about the contribution of Australians during the Gallipoli campaign.