This week sees the annual celebration of Australia Day on 26th January, commemorating the arrival at Port Jackson, Sydney Cove of the ‘First Fleet’ in 1788, and the proclamation of British Sovereignty. Though the actual date of the formation of the colony in New South Wales did not take place until February the 26th of January has been recognised as the national day since 1808. All Australian states had finally recognised this date as Australia Day by 1935.
During The Great War, or World War 1 as it became known, over 330,000 Australian nationals served overseas in the conflict, with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs). The most well known place was Gallipoli, the Turkish peninsula where many ANZACs fell on that fateful day in 1915. Australian troops also fought in the Middle East, the Western Front, Belgium, France, and other European nations. As a result troops from the AIF and ANZACs were occasionally to be seen on the streets of London, and George Belcher (1875-1947) cartoon highlights the problem some had in identifying these soldiers.
FIRST LADY: "That's one of them Australian soldiers."
SECOND LADY: "How do you know?"
FIRST LADY: "Why, can't you see the kangaroo feathers in his hat?"