Gallipoli movie brought war to our shores

On Wednesday morning the sun will rise on thousands of people across the Eyre Peninsula who are up early to attend their town’s Anzac Day dawn service to pay their respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

The growing crowds at many of these services, particularly the influx of younger people taking part, is a sign that the day and what it represents is still relevant to our communities.

Following the Lower Eyre Peninsula dawn services, this year will be the last opportunity for locals to attend an Anzac Day service at our own Gallipoli Beach.

The later timeslot allows the service to line-up with the service at Gallipoli in Turkey but it also provides the perfect opportunity for people to attend their local dawn service as well.

The fourth and final service commemorating 100 years of Anzac at the site will commemorate the second battle of Villers-Brettoneux, in France, April 24-25, 1918.

The beach itself is well known as doubling for Anzac Cove in the 1981 Peter Weir movie Gallipoli and people will have the chance to relive the filming at an outdoor screening of the film tonight on the Port Lincoln foreshore as part of the SALT Festival.

The Anzac Day eve screening will set the mood for the following day’s services and while a blockbuster movie may seem trivial compared to the real horrors of war, the film gave many local people a greater appreciation for the realities of the front line.

As Kiwi White (pictured) recounts in his memories of being part of the filming, the process offered some deeper insight into the lives of those who served on the shores of Gallipoli and other theatres of war.

He found the experience of playing a soldier changed his perception of what it was to be a soldier.

He would not have been alone.

Even producer Patricia Lovell said at the time, the change in the men who were employed to play soldiers was amazing.

After five or six weeks they began to believe and to have the same ideals as the young men who actually went to Gallipoli.

It would be impossible to know what it is really like to serve for your country overseas without living it but the movie Gallipoli offered a window into that world.

Similarly, Anzac Day is an opportunity to read and listen to the stories of the people who have been there and reflect for a time on what it was like.

Lest we forget.