Commonwealth War Graves Commission
This Cemetery was originally commissioned in 1917 for Australian Imperial Forces fighting in the Great War and then held 352 burials. It was extended to hold a further 95 Australian casualties of World War 2.
Andrew Fisher, Labour prime minister from 1914 to 1916, declared that Australia would support Britain to 'the last man and the last shilling'. The Australian puiblic fully supported him. The Australian Imperial Force was formed in Septembr 1914 and its first contingent sailed in November 1914. One in five of the AIF was British born.
On arrival in Egypt and throughout the War differences between British and the Australian "citizen" army etiquette was apparent. The ANZACS (Australians together with New Zealanders) initially expected to learn elite military skills from the British. Instead they developed their own "bushman" combat culture typified by independence, self-reliance, cool proficiency and disregard for meaningless authority.
The AIF fought in Gallipoli and the Western Front including the Somme. During the German Spring Offensive 1918 the AIF played a critical role stopping the German advance 75 miles outside Paris and then again when rapidly mobilised north to stop the second German breakthrough. Later that year in concert with the Canadians the AIF spearhead at Amiens helped initiate the beginning of Germanys downfall and collapse of the Central Powers.Australian forces also fought in Asia and the Pacific during the Great War.
The troops returning to Australia had developed a distinct, emergent Australian identity. While proud of the Empire and their origins Australian experiences of the Great War created the impetus towards independent nationhood.
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