One photo a day until I meet Jonathan Harris

29th April

Meeting Bill Gammage.

Bill's book The Broken Years was influential in shaping the present day Australian thinking about ANZAC. In particular, he worked with David Williamson on the screenplay for Peter Weir's film Gallipoli.

As young boys, we watched this film many times, and so our ideas and thinking of what it is to be Australian borrow heavily from it.

Talking with Bill was enlightening and fascinating. It would be difficult to find a more dedicated Australian and yet some of his ideas might sound confronting to other "patriots".

For example, he would actually like to see the ANZAC parade become smaller and smaller. If there were only one lonely veteran left marching he explained, it would be a great day in Australia's history: it would mean that Australia has not fought in a war for almost a lifetime.

It was also comforting to hear his opinions on terra nullius and the colonisation of Australia. He (of all people) acknowledges that there were indeed wars fought between Aboriginal's and European settlers. Before we start describing values of honour, pride and the defence of freedom, surely we should acknowledge and remember the shaky ground that these admirable ideals stand upon.

Thanks Bill, talking with you restored my faith that at least some people aren't afraid of trying to tell the truth, even if at times that truth less than sparkling.