The Anzac Legend Through Two World Wars | WEA Sydney

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Australia was profoundly affected by both World Wars. By 1901, we had created a self-image of a “working man’s paradise”, a nation of workers, unionised, egalitarian and democratic. When we landed at Gallipoli we took this image with us and modified it to become the “Anzac Legend”. It became central to Australia’s self-identity. Historian Frank Bongiorno wrote that the “legend” was: “bold and ferocious in battle but unwilling to bow to military discipline. An ANZAC never flinched - if he died it was with a joke, or a wry smile on his face.” This was the image passed on to soldiers in the Second World War. But how accurate was it? This course explores this question.

This is a Discussion Group course, if you aren’t already part of a group please see ‘Getting Started’ below.


Course Author: Michael Pyne

Course Code: D257

Supplied Material: Course Booklet

Units & Pricing: 6 units / $78 per person


Start your Group: Anyone can start a Discussion Group – seek out some like-minded friends or put up a notice in your local library, bookshop or workplace. Please note a minimum of 6 people is required to start a new discussion group.

Arrange the Meetings: New groups need to decide where and when to meet, and for how long – whatever best suits members' particular situations.

Run your Group: Choose a secretary to liaise with WEA and your tutor, a Discussion Leader to chair meetings, a reporter to take discussion notes to send to your tutor, and maybe a librarian to look after the books.

Start the Course: Contact WEA Sydney to enrol. Bookings can be made for one year, divided into two terms – Term 1 commences in February, Term 2 in July (Groups may make forward bookings for popular choices). Please indicate in what order your Group wishes to study the courses, if more than one course is booked.