Military Voice Blog

    Welcome to the Military Voice Blog

    Our Last Anzac

    Military Shop
    Posted by Military Shop on Oct 30, 2015 1:24:05 AM

    Image: portrait of a young Alec William Campbell during the Great War 1914-1918

    The inspiration behind many of our collections was born after our director, Stephen Davie, enjoyed an afternoon with Australia's last surviving Gallipoli Anzac, Alec Campbell. Over a slow malt whisky in Alec's lounge in Tasmania, the pair discussed Alec's desire to connect future generations of Australians to the memories of Australia's wartime history and service.

    Alec & Stephen
    Alec & Stephen

    The idea to include real sand was also born that afternoon in early 2002 in Alec's lounge. Sands of Gallipoli is now the longest running Anzac commemorative collection in Australia. Stephen has since lead the creation of other acclaimed military and history collections to support the legacy of Alec, his mates and everyone who served after them.

    "After talking with Alec I knew we needed something very tangible to connect people to the Gallipoli story, said Stephen. People needed to be able to embrace Gallipoli; to feel close to the place where Alec and his mates gave their innocence so that we could have the kind of society we have today."

    "Alec didn't glorify his Gallipoli campaign but he appreciated the legacy had grown to become a major part of who we are as Australians. I wanted to capture this in a way that respected both the reality of the campaign - the absolute horror that it must have been, but also somehow to acknowledge respectfully and gratefully, the sacrifices made."

    Burning with inspiration Stephen, and best mate Ian, spent weeks exploring options to make Gallipoli real for current and future generations of Australians and New Zealanders.

    "One evening Ian and I decided to imagine that morning on April 25 1915 and what those first soldiers might have felt. We imagined pulling to shore in oar driven boats not knowing what lay ahead. When did the gun fire start? How close were the Turkish rounds whistling down from perfect vantage; imagine clambering out of tall boats into the water's edge and confronting the open beach. Imagine the blokes in those first landing boats running for their lives in full kit on the heavy beach sand."

    "It was the idea that the sand itself was in cohorts with the Turkish that lead us to focus on the beach. We pretty much looked at each other and said SAND! That was the link. The heavy sand was for most the first step into months of hell. Sands of Gallipoli was created."

    On May 16, 2002, Alec Campbell passed away. Our last Anzac was gone. Today Sands of Gallipoli is how we can share the spirit. Sands of Gallipoli is dedicated to Alec and his mates, the diggers who inspired two nations.

    The sand for our collection was respectfully collected from the landing sites at ANZAC Cove. The sands were then dried and hand screened to achieve consistent grain size. Once sorted, the sands were sealed and shipped to Australia. The permit to import the sands into Australia was provided by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS). The sand is securely stored in the national capital, Canberra.

    Each year the team behind Sands of Gallipoli investigate themes for the following year's collection. Because of the historical significance of each collection the team works closely with recognised military historians to make sure all information gathered and presented is factual and is provided in context of the Gallipoli history.

    With the theme decided the design team set about creating images and commemorative pieces that will stand the test of time, both as collectables and as inspirational pieces people can embrace as they remember the ANZAC story. Alec Campbell was a great Australian, just like all those brave volunteers who served at ANZAC Cove. We revisit their legacy each year as we try to pass the Anzac Spirit to the next generation.

    Topics: WW1, Great War, Sands of Gallipoli, Military History, ANZAC Q&A

    Leave Comment