Archive for February, 2019

Frank Camorra’s golden oldie quince recipes

Quince curd. Photo: Marcel Aucar Quinces, when cooked with sugar and other aromatics take on a beautiful flavour and perfume. Photo: Marcel Aucar

Quince recipes. Photo: Marcel Aucar

Baked quinces.

Baked quinces

Marmalade was originally made from quinces. In fact, the word ”marmelo” is the Portuguese word for quince. It was not until the late 18th century that oranges were used. Quinces are too tart to eat raw but when cooked with sugar and other aromatics they take on a beautiful flavour and perfume – a mix of apple and pear. For many years, the fruit was thought to be a relative of the pear. Though pears can be grown on quince rootstock, they are a separate species. Baked quinces are an incredibly easy dessert for a group of friends. The fruits cook slowly in the oven, leaving you free to entertain your guests. The spices in the syrup can be replaced with herbs; lemon verbena or rosemary work well. Finish the dish with a splash of oloroso sherry if you choose. The curd recipe is a delicious alternative to lemon curd and can be enjoyed in a similar way.Baked quinces

150g white sugar

200ml white wine

400ml water

4 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

4 black peppercorns

2 star anise

4 medium perfumed quinces

½ a lemon

4 tbsp maple syrup

Put the sugar, wine and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and star anise. Peel and halve the quinces and rub them with lemon to prevent them from browning. Lower the quinces into the sugar syrup and let them simmer until tender. They may be ready in 25 minutes or perhaps take a little longer, depending on their size and ripeness. Set the oven at 180C. When the fruit is tender to the point of a knife, lift it out and place in a shallow baking dish or roasting tin. Add the maple syrup to the cooking liquid and pour over the quinces. Bake for 30 minutes or until the fruit is very soft and tender. Serve with the cooking juices.

Serves 4Quince curd

400g quinces, peeled, cored and cut into small pieces

4 eggs

150g unrefined castor sugar

pinch salt

65ml lemon juice

75g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Place chopped quince in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to boil and cook until quinces are soft. Drain cooked quince and puree while warm to a smooth pulp. Scrape warm quince puree into a heatproof bowl, and rest bowl on a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water. As the puree heats, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt and lemon juice in a separate bowl. Add egg mixture to puree in the double boiler and cook the mixture for about 20 minutes, or until it has thickened. Stir occasionally and do not overheat; overheated eggs could cause the curd to curdle. Once cooked, cool slightly then add the cold butter and mix until butter dissolves and curd takes on a shiny gloss. Let cool completely, then store in a clean jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Makes about 500 grams

Frank’s tip: To stop quinces from discolouring, keep them in water with a squeeze of lemon.

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Empire of the sands

Screen time: Al Antsey, head of Al Jazeera English, says there are stories around the world that deserve coverage but aren’t receiving any. Photo: Tom Pilston/PanosForeign correspondents generally dislike talking too much about the dangers of their job, acutely aware that when a repressive regime starts harassing internationals it’s likely doing a lot worse to its own citizens. Egypt’s latest army-backed government is no slouch at internal crackdowns, but has reserved a special ferocity for journalists, especially those from the Al Jazeera network. Some 20 of them now face trial on charges ranging from airing false news to belonging to a terrorist organisation, their “crime” being to interview members of the Muslim Brotherhood after it was outlawed on Christmas Day last year.

Among the detained or charged is Australia’s award-winning correspondent Peter Greste, who, after two weeks, reluctantly broke the code of downplaying professional hazards with an open letter from Cairo’s Tora prison. “I have sought, until now, to fight my imprisonment quietly from within,” he wrote. “It is now clear that this is a dangerous decision.”

This singling out of the broadcaster marks a crisis point for Al Jazeera (AJ). It’s also a weird compliment, confirming its reputation for fearlessness. And it confirms how seriously Arab governments take this relatively young network, which asserts editorial independence but is seen by some as a soft power extension of its chief backer, the Qatari royal family, and its ambitions to become a major player in the region.

Given all this, it’s somewhat surprising when I’m flown by AJ to its headquarters in Doha to find those in charge in lockdown over the issue, arguing that to canvass plans to protect their people could put the detained at even greater risk. Even more surprising is that this famously contentious broadcaster, which redefined news for the Arab world – and got branded a nest of terrorists in the process – seems to run like any other Western news operation. The same banks of lights, multiple cameras and people scurrying about with clipboards. The same illuminated, oversized desk behind which a groomed presenter calmly reads the bulletin.

This is a network without a local audience but 82 bureaus around the world. Eighty-two bureaus! Who gets to do that in the modern media landscape? So the reports come in from correspondents in Brazil, Palestine, India, Sudan; a six-minute discussion about the “cleansing” of Fallujah in Iraq, then back to footage which can be raw and a bit grainy but for all that is gripping. Not a car chase or waterskiing squirrel in sight, which is Al Jazeera English boss Al Anstey’s jokey (but not entirely) definition of what doesn’t and won’t ever get covered on his network. Not because he’s particularly down on aquatic rodents but because it’s his favourite symbol of all that’s wrong with the traditional news queue. “If you want to offer something meaningful, I don’t mean boring, but what’s actually going on in the world, then don’t put a waterskiing squirrel in your bulletin,” says the British-born Anstey. “Have some integrity.”

But integrity costs. Our main subject, Al Jazeera English, launched in 2006, but branches of the AJ brand are now popping up everywhere. AJ Balkans. AJ Turk. AJ America (the jauntily-named AJAM) has been on air since last year. The network also makes documentaries, and sport and medical specials, and has a strong, growing digital presence. Yet the existence and future of this very big business rests entirely on the whim of the Emir of Qatar.

His name is His Majesty Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, latest ruler of this small and stupendously rich Gulf kingdom in a family line running back almost 150 years. It was his father, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad, who created Al Jazeera out of the wreckage of a joint BBC-Saudi venture to broadcast to the Arabic world. When it collapsed in the mid-1990s, some 180 Arab experts were dumped jobless onto the market – and the then emir snapped them up, turning the Qatari capital of Doha into about as unlikely a home for the free-speaking Al Jazeera network as can be imagined.

For this is a place unfamiliar with either democracy or free speech. Civil liberties are restricted, organised political parties prohibited, criticism of the Emir an imprisonable offence – there’s a poet currently serving time for this crime – all of which is an uncomfortable match with one of the earliest of Al Jazeera’s many slogans, “Voice of the voiceless.” One can speculate forever what the emir was up to – he’s certainly not giving interviews – but the fact is, a considerable amount (but tiny proportion) of Qatar’s vast natural gas revenue is directed to a network employing more than 4000 staff broadcasting to 310 million households around the world. Which no one even pretends pays for itself.

How much does the Emir pour into Al Jazeera? That would be one of the subjects excluded from Al Jazeera’s promise of transparency in all matters. Al Anstey flatly refuses to reveal his annual budget except to say there is one, a very precise one, and “we’re resourced well to do exactly what we do”. It means he takes flak sometimes, like when he was in Australia last year lamenting the financial pressure driving the media world down the route of second-hand news, and someone in the audience sent a crawl across the screen, which said, “Can’t help but think easy to talk about business of journalism when you’re funded by the Qatari royal family.”

But Anstey denies any charge of smugness. “Many other outfits are funded, the BBC and ABC among them. The fact is, when you drive through the gates of this compound you go into a sort of neutral air space. Because we’re sitting here looking at the globe, the new world order. We’re not seeing it through a Western prism, or an American prism, or an Arabic prism, so in a way we’re everyone’s outsider.”

This is the Al Jazeera compound he’s talking about, base for both the English- and Arab-speaking stations, though they occupy separate buildings in Doha’s backstreets, each with its own team of guards. They’re modest, low-rise, in contrast to the city rising into the sky at breakneck speed around it, studded with the sort of glittering architecture that left me feeling like a country mouse. It’s as if there’d been a competition for out-there designs and someone decided, “Heck, let’s build them all.”

Again, it’s the money. This is the richest country in the world; per capita income is listed by the World Bank as north of $US100,000 though if you take out the migrant workers, who don’t count as Qataris – despite being 90 per cent of the 2 million population – it’s closer to $US700,000. Per person, per year. The sort of wealth that prompted luxury goods purveyor Mont Blanc to recently design a black leather falconry glove, especially for its Gulf customers.

Yet it’s Al Jazeera that has pulled the world’s eyes towards Qatar. It was an instant turn-on for Arab viewers who had never seen such a creature – until its launch, local news was basically an update on the leader’s diary, an arm of government propaganda. But the network only really hit the English-speaking world’s consciousness post-9/11, when it seemed to be everywhere, covering everything, including becoming an effective video drop-box for international outlaw Osama bin Laden. The outraged George W. Bush administration slammed the channel as an al-Qaeda stooge and purveyor of lies – and though the allegations were later disproved, the administration’s depiction of Al Jazeera as a nest of traitors took years to fade.

The issue was still bubbling when Al Jazeera English started world-wide recruiting in 2005. One-time Perth radio reporter Fauziah Ibrahim, now an AJE presenter, is one of a group of Australians I speak with who joined the network in this early phase – a kind of club within the club – and remembers her reaction when she was approached for a job. “I said, ‘Omigod, that’s a terrorist Muslim outfit.’ I’d heard about Al Jazeera, but in the most negative way.”

Shortly before, Ibrahim had resigned from business channel CNBC after a tough question to then head of BHP, Chip Goodyear – who’d just reported a whacking profit – about why he was refusing to offer or even negotiate with labourers striking for a $1 an hour pay rise.

“I got called into the office and hauled over the hot coals, and told, ‘We do not do that to BHP, to Chip Goodyear. Do you know how influential he is? If he doesn’t speak to us, he’ll go to Bloomberg, you’ve lost him.’ And that’s when I thought, ‘You know, I really don’t care. I’m much more interested in the story of the labourers.’ ”

When the AJE recruiter told her this was exactly what the network did, tell stories about real people, she was sceptical. “And he said, ‘No, believe me, they will pay you to go anywhere you want and tell the stories you want to tell.’ ” It turns out this is pretty much exactly how it happens at Al Jazeera. Another early hire was former Channel Ten journalist Hamish Macdonald. He was at Britain’s Channel 4 when Al Jazeera approached, posting him to the Asia hub in Kuala Lumpur during its start-up phase. “It was a hothouse of crazed activity, exciting but really scary,” he recalls. “We were just making it up.”

There were crazy days, agrees KL colleague Sharon Roobol, whose long CV includes a stint in Canberra with Nine Network veteran Laurie Oakes. “Cameramen and editors and producers were joining us every day. There weren’t enough desks or chairs or coffee cups. The brief was to cover global stories through voices on the ground, to look where the other networks weren’t. It felt like the future.” And Al Jazeera backed its people. Macdonald’s opening pitch was to travel to the Pacific Islands for a story about the world’s first global warming refugees. He was promptly given $US50,000 cash … and spent an unreceipted $US18,000 hiring a copra-trader’s boat to get him there. Those stories are marked 001-2-3-4 in AJE’s vaults.

“We don’t do that any more, our accounting practices are probably a bit more sophisticated now,” laughs Yoko Shimizu, ex-Channel 7, and now AJE senior producer in Doha, who runs into Macdonald, her old uni mate, at various disaster points around the globe.

“But the concept is the same, we’re allowed to splash on a really big story. For instance, every man and his dog covered the Japanese tsunami – for one, maybe two weeks. Al Jazeera maintained two teams plus myself for the whole month, then revisited every month after that. We have the resources to make sure these people will not be forgotten.” The staff multiplied, bureaus were set up in trouble spots like Tehran and Harare. There was plenty of vivid first-hand journalism and some early awards but five years passed before Al Jazeera English got its defining moment – the event that was equivalent to the Arab channel’s moment after 9/11, or to CNN’s moment during the 1991 Gulf War, which was defined by Peter Arnett’s electrifying footage of American bombs trailing phosphorescent green across the night sky of Baghdad.

AJE’s moment came during the 2011 Arab Spring: those wild, unforgettable images from Egypt’s Tahrir Square. Their team had it first, they had it best, and were still broadcasting live when president Hosni Mubarak – who’d tried everything to block transmission – unexpectedly caved in and resigned after 30 years of repression, still finagling to pass “his” empire onto his son. The mad joy which erupted as the news beamed onto makeshift screens in the square went direct – without cuts or commentary – out to the world. Right place, right time? Sure, but “we’d laid all the groundwork,” Shimizu says. “Our correspondents were there, they’d made the contacts, they were Egyptian. We’d invested time and resources into the country.”

Except what goes around comes around … Egypt’s military is now back in the saddle, with scores to settle against the broadcaster it has long accused of bias against it and in favour of the Brotherhood – reflecting Al-Thani family policy. Twenty-two Egyptian-based staffers resigned en masse last year, alleging a pro-Brotherhood editorial policy. And those with long memories recall the time an AJ anchor turned up as a guest to celebrate – and televise, live – a birthday party thrown for a Lebanese terrorist and convicted child-killer freed as part of a prisoner swap between Israel and the Lebanon-based Islamic group Hezbollah.

“In the Arab world, he was seen as a hero because he was defending the Palestinian cause,” says AJ top man, Mostefa Souag. “We didn’t know about that party. And that guy got a warning, which is our highest disciplinary measure.” As for the WikiLeaks revelation that AJ’s then boss succumbed to pressure from the American ambassador to moderate its coverage of the Iraq War – in line with government policy – Souag says: “I can assure you that nobody has ever changed the policies of this Al Jazeera. Not before and not now.”

Al Anstey is the former news director, now managing director, of Al Jazeera English. He’s quite the silver fox, ex-everywhere (imagine a less-pompous version of Jeff Daniels’ character in The Newsroom). But Anstey traces the fire in his belly to his early days at Associated Press, covering catastrophic floods in Bangladesh. Hundreds dead. Villages drowned. He waded out, camera on shoulder, and reported on the mourning and the misery, the lives shattered. “I pinged that story back to HQ – and when I checked the logs later, almost no one covered it. The lead story in London that same day was the storm that blew through northern England, injuring no one. And I thought, ‘There’s something very wrong here.’ People said, ‘Well, the floods happen every year.’ But doesn’t that make it a stronger story, that it happens every year? Doesn’t it deserve coverage?”

Twenty years later, Anstey left his job as ITN’s head of foreign news and the next day – April Fool’s Day, 2005 – arrived in Doha. He sat down with a small team and a blank sheet to decide what this new English-speaking network would be. While AJ Arabic could genuinely claim to have been a pathbreaker, the first in its field, AJE was born into a world dominated by CNN and the BBC – and, some might add, Fox. The issue was how to cut through.

Eyewitness reporting was the first key principle. Truly international. Challenge all sides. Be trustworthy. Explain at full depth. A big story at the time was the furore and riots over the Danish cartoonist who’d offended many Muslims with his drawings of the religion’s founder, Mohammed. “[This was] an extraordinarily complex story, which was being covered on the news in 25 seconds,” Anstey says. “As a viewer, I didn’t begin to understand what was going on.” So time was important, too, giving a story time.

But there’s considerable latitude in the interpretation of this principle. The exploitative treatment of migrant workers in Qatar, for instance, is a story which receives conspicuously little air-time on the channel. Like modern-day slaves – or “cattle”, as one manager in a recent Amnesty International report described his workers – they stream in from Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, working long hours for little pay, sleeping cheek-by-jowl in squalid dormitories hidden on the outskirts of the glitter city they are building. Safety and construction standards are lax, yet when a fire caused by an electrical fault ripped through one of Doha’s main malls in 2012, killing 19 people, Al Jazeera took flak for the slowness and scarcity of its coverage.

Most Al Jazeerans prefer to slide around this, agreeing only that it’s a “Very Sensitive Issue”. Fauziah Ibrahim is more forthright, insisting that while these stories do get covered in the end – even if less exhaustively – “we understand, too, that we need to tread that fine line with the Emir. We know who our paymaster is, we know we need to play by the rules, play by the game.”

I wonder, how far is too far, journalistically? “Well that’s the thing, I don’t know, because it comes from up there” – she points above our heads, the universal sign for management. “They say, ‘We’ve got to do the story, but this is how we’re going to do it and that’s that.’ ” It’s also “up there” that decides the stories that won’t be covered. “Like in 2007,” Ibrahim says, “no stories about gay marriage.” Then there are the stories that are covered, but she’s not sure the reasons why. “I’m constantly going to the program editor, ‘Why are we doing this story?’ As soon as they roll their eyes and look up at the ceiling, I go, ‘Oh, it’s from up there.’ So I try to find a different way to tell it.”

She’s only saying directly what is often whispered: that Al Jazeera serves its home country’s broader agenda and its ambition to bat above its weight in the region. Not so long ago, Qatar consisted only of desert tribes and a pearling industry. Now it’s backing rebel Islamist forces in Syria and, before that, Libya … it plays an active, even frantic diplomatic role brokering talks between feuding groups … and in eight years’ time it gets the ultimate international validation of hosting the FIFA World Cup.

Al Jazeera is no tame network. As Hillary Clinton said during her time as US secretary of state, “You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials.” But in the arcane world of Arab politics, an internationally respected news network watched by millions is also a powerful card to have in the hand. “Every government wants power,” says Souag. “A small country like Qatar, you don’t expect them to have nuclear power, they don’t need that sort of thing. They need soft power. Soft power includes media.”

While Souag is now acting director-general of the Al Jazeera media network, back in the mid-1990s he was just another unemployed expert shaking off the dust of the BBC-Arabic collapse. When word came of the emir’s plans for a network in Qatar, Souag took it as some kind of joke. “Someone coming in with no previous experience whatsoever, with no culture of freedom of the media? You could not believe this was happening, this kind of jump with no introduction. You cannot do it.”

But it happened. And if, among its nobler aims of providing serious, high-grade journalism, Al Jazeera also gives Qatar an international profile, even a form of protection, “Is there anything wrong with that? If you can create a soft power that is beneficial to the rest of the world, and beneficial to you – including you, yes, protecting you – then I believe that’s very smart.” ■

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Searching for Sonny

Heavy toll: Sonny?s grave at Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, is second from left in the front. Photo: Chris MoonOn a pilgrimage to a family war grave in the battlefields of France, Chris Moon is unprepared for what he finds.

World War I was won and lost on the Western Front, on the battlefields of France and Belgium. Three-quarters of Australia’s total WWI losses – more than 46,000 men, five times as many as at Gallipoli – were there. Most never returned, buried near where they fell. One of those was my great-uncle Sonny.

I hadn’t heard of Sonny until an old WWI medal came my way after my grandfather’s death. All my family could tell me was that Sonny died on the Somme. The medal, awarded posthumously, shows the winged figure of Victory on one side and the intriguing words “The Great War for Civilisation 1914-1919” on the other.

After some searching, I found an old envelope with Sonny’s Memorial Scroll and Memorial Plaque, but most poignant of all was the receipt, signed by his distraught mother, for the parcel containing his “personal effects received from the field: 1 purse, German coins, 1 mark note, 1 wallet, photos, cards, odd papers, 1 religious book, 1 tie pin”.

I wanted to know more about this mysterious ancestor. Millions of Australians can trace a family link to a digger who died on the Western Front. Sonny’s is just one small story – but he’s family. I feel we owe it to him to tell his story.

The Battle of Amiens started on August 8, 1918, and Sonny was killed three days later, aged 20. He is buried at Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, France.

With no one now alive who knew Sonny, this is all the information left about this young man who gave his life for king and country.

I decide to travel to Amiens, to trace his final days and pay my family’s respects at his grave.

The website of the Australian War Memorial (AWM)contains Sonny’s war record: born in 1898 in Sandringham, Victoria; enlisted on April 16, 1917; five feet six inches tall, 141 pounds, with a fresh complexion. He embarked, as a private in 1Machine Gun Company, for the war from Melbourne on HMATA60Aeneas on October 30, 1917, and fought with the 20th Battalion (infantry). On August 3, 1918, he was made lance-corporal.

Amiens is a small, unhurried city in Picardie, northern France. I immediately feel comfortable here.

Australians, especially battlefield tourists, are welcome.

After checking in to the Hotel Central Anzac, I visit the cathedral, which contains a tribute to the Australians who fell in defence of Amiens, then cross the river to lunch at one of the restaurants that line the opposite bank. With a shock, I realise this is the Somme, a river with the most painful memories for Australians.

I enlist Barbara Legrand, of True Blue Digger Tours, to take us to Pozieres, then Bullecourt on the Hindenburg Line, where 10,000 diggers died in 1917, breaching this impregnable line without artillery or tank support, only to have to cede it because of poor leadership.

Barbara is scathing of the Allies’ tactics, except for the Australians, whose practicality, adaptability and bare courage eventually won the war on the Western Front, especially after our own general, Sir John Monash, arrived and changed tactics.

We visit war cemeteries – there are 657 (596 with Australians) in northern France, and 422 in the Somme area alone. All are immaculately maintained.

Braving icy winds, we stand in the battlefields and learn how the action unfolded.

There was little cover for advancing infantry, who were mown down in their hundreds by artillery shells and machine guns.

It was the farmers who cleaned up afterwards. The first half metre of soil is clean, but modern ploughs go deeper. Today, farmers around Bullecourt are still dragging up unexploded shells and mortar bombs, which they stack by the roadside for bomb disposal teams.

In the late afternoon, we arrive at the scene of Sonny’s last day.

I have with me an account of the course of the Battle of Amiens covering this day, from The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918, from the AWM’s website.

Chapter 15 recounts the activities of the 20th Battalion.

Where was Sonny in this account? Was he the ‘‘machinegun officer who established his guns on the left near the Proyart- Rainecourt road under Lieutenant Richardson, of Captain Cameron’s company?’’ Or was he part of the right company, Lieutenant Oliver’s, which ‘‘passed easily through Rainecourt, firing from the hip at German advanced groups, and dived into the valley’’.

Rainecourt was to have been mopped up by the second-line company, Captain Moore’s, but, before he could pass the order to his officers, Moore was gassed and Lieutenant Sharp, taking command and having no orders, went on after the left company [Cameron’s].’’ I will never know exactly, but I have enough information to know that I’m looking over the fields and village where Sonny died.

Sonny’s wasn’t the more usual story of trench warfare on the Somme. He was winning this fight.

The Germans were turned around in this series of battles and, if he had not been killed that day, the odds are he would have returned home a conquering hero.

I imagine the guns, smoke, shouting, terror and the elation when a strategic point is taken, and I imagine the despair of Alice, the mother who withheld approval of her son’s enlistment until his badgering forced her hand, and who subsequently received the unthinkable news: ‘‘Killed in action.’’ Finally, we reach Heath Cemetery at Harbonnieres. From the register book, I locate Sonny’s grave. There, with the barest of details of who he was, are the words, chosen by the family, ‘‘So dearly loved, so deeply mourned’’.

I had crossed the globe for this, but am not at all prepared. How, exactly, does one ‘‘pay respects’’?

I need a ritual of some kind, something to leave at his graveside, a poppy perhaps.

I take photos: of the gravestone, the cemetery, the countryside, myself. It requires more.

Finally I mumble, ‘‘G’day, mate’’, then, haltingly, with tears, I tell him who I am, of the things he missed, how his sister’s life (my grandmother) unfolded, her marriage and children. I tell him how grateful everyone is, and how the war ended with ‘‘civilisation’’ victorious. And I tell him that his grave is on land protected in perpetuity by a grateful French nation, so the world will never forget. And I salute.

In the visitors’ book, I write, ‘‘Vale, Sonny. R.I.P.’’

The writer travelled at his expense.



Trains to Amiens leave daily from Paris’s Gare du Nord, a 70-minute journey. See raileurope苏州美甲培训.au. The Mercure Amiens Cathedrale is opposite Amiens’ World Heritage-listed cathedral. Rooms from $160 a night. See mercure苏州美甲培训.


True Blue Digger Tours hosts day-long Somme tours from €120 ($180) a person. See trueblue-diggertours苏州美甲培训. APT has a 19-day Paris and Somme Battlefields with Magnificent Europe cruise; it includes visits to Amiens for Somme battlefields, the Musee Franco-Australien and the National Australian Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, Fromelles, and Bullecourt. See aptouring苏州美甲培训.au.


The National Australian War Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, near Amiens. See ww1westernfront.gov.au/villers-bretonneux.

The Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front – 12 WWI sites along the Western Front allowing visitors to interpret the Australian experience of war. See ww1westernfront.gov.au.


awm.gov.au; ww1westernfront.gov.au.

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They shall grow not old

As the Gallipoli landing centenary nears, Ruth Pollard reflects on the Anzac dawn service.

For a site that has seen such horror, the Gallipoli peninsula is a silent, beautiful place. The pale blue Aegean Sea seems to stretch in a single, glassy sheet from land to horizon. Behind you, the plateau that was unforgiving in war is now a towering green backdrop to the rows of modest, meticulously tended gravestones at Beach Cemetery.

The Gallipoli Campaign took place on the peninsula between April 25, 1915, and January 9, 1916.

Next year, thousands of Australians will be on the peninsula on Anzac Day to take part in 100th anniversary events.

Whether you are family of a Gallipoli veteran, an amateur war historian or a life-long pacifist it is difficult to walk on ground here and not be overwhelmed.

The landscape forces you to confront the horrific, months-long battle in which thousands of Australian, New Zealand, British, Indian and Turkish soldiers died and so many families were left in anguish and grief.

And as you stand in the quiet beauty of north-western Turkey it is impossible to forget that just across the border in Syria, another war of unspeakable violence is being fought with no hope of an end. More dead soldiers, more wounded veterans and more families torn apart.

A walk between the small rows of headstones on the Gallipoli peninsula will make you smile and cry all at once – heartfelt, eloquent inscriptions are balanced with that unique Australian gift for understatement.

My favourite reads simply: “Well done, Ted.”

For independent travellers, an excellent base for the Anzac Day dawn service is the small, waterfront town of Eceabat. It is a 20-minute drive from Gallipoli and you’ll meet many others making the same journey out to the peninsula.

Forget what you have heard about drunken revelry taking place among the gravestones of veterans – the Anzac dawn ceremony is sober, respectful and well organised. Alcohol is forbidden and bags are checked thoroughly.

The evening passes with surprising speed. The backpackers – most seem to be Australians and New Zealanders on a gap year in London – are well-behaved, respectful and snuggled tight in their sleeping bags on the lawn in front of the bleachers.

Then, in the last hour before dawn, something extraordinary happens. Most of us, old and young, are awake and standing, watching the horizon for the first signs of light. A hush descends and I am amazed to look around at the crowd; upright and heads bowed together in silence. As the ink-black sky turned to dark blue and the first call of the Last Post cut through the morning air… it is a moment I will remember forever.

By 8am it is baking hot and time to make your way up to the Lone Pine memorial – a three-kilometre walk along a steep path that will be a challenge for some. It is here that the modest cream gravestones give identity to some of the fallen.

Some 8709 Australians died in the failed push to control the strategic Turkish seaways, along with 2707 New Zealanders, about 21,000 British and 1358 Indians.

Up to 86,000 Turkish soldiers also died in the campaign – an extraordinary number of fatalities from Turkey’s then vast but crumbling Ottoman empire.

Many who visit Gallipoli will be moved by the words of the Turkish commander at Gallipoli, founder of the modern secular Turkish republic and its first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. In 1934 he wrote a tribute to Anzacs who died at Gallipoli that is memorialised on a plaque on the peninsula.

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country,” Ataturk wrote.

“Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side-by-side now here in this country of ours … you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well.”

Ruth Pollard is Fairfax Media’s Middle East correspondent.Five Gallipoli 2015 pilgrimage tours


Two Gallipoli centenary tours, which include five nights’ accommodation at Gallipoli, offer historian guides.

For those unsuccessful in the Federal Government’s dawn service ballot, the tour will broadcast the official service at a key historic site at Gallipoli on April 25, and afterwards its own service will be held.

See gallipolitour2015苏州美甲培训.au.


APT’s Gallipoli 2015 luxury small ship Mediterranean cruise will take in Greece, Turkey, Montenegro, Croatia and Italy over 17, 23 or 31 days.

The ship will be anchored in Anzac Cove for the morning service. Those successful in the ballot will be taken over to the dawn service. Three hours later everyone will be able to walk around the site of the service.

See aptouring苏州美甲培训.au.


Insight Vacations’ 11-day Anzac Day and the Splendours of Turkey tour, includes sightseeing tours in Istanbul, Gallipoli, Athens and Troy. See insightvacations苏州美甲培训.


The 31-night Gallipoli Remembered tour of the Mediterranean, on board 450-person Saga Sapphire, is limited to the over-50s. The three Australian historians on board will lecture on the history of each port of call. See battlefieldmemorialtravel苏州美甲培训.au.


Being the official travel agent to the Australian War Memorial, Boronia Travel Centre has access to some of the industry’s most experienced battlefield historians and guides on their 12-day battlefield tour. See boroniabattlefieldtours苏州美甲培训.au.

Nina Karnikowski

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Deals of the week: Ayers and graces

Home and away: go glamping at Uluru. Take a trip through Austria’s winter wonderland.

Peppers Sentosa Seminyak.


Stay at Longitude 131° Uluru-Kata Tjuta for three nights and save $950 a couple through a deal just released by Baillie Lodges.

The three-night “glamping” experience includes accommodation in Longitude’s beautifully appointed detached villas, each with amazing views of Uluru and surrounded by wilderness, a 15-minute scenic helicopter ride, guided excursions, all dining, premium beverages, in-suite bar and airport transfers.

From $2970 a person twin share. Valid for travel May 1 – September 30. Phone (02) 9918 4355. See baillielodges苏州美甲培训.au.


Royal Caribbean has specials going on various cruises, including a New Zealand journey on Voyager of the Seas. The mega-liner will be fresh from a refurb when she departs Sydney December 9 for the 11-night cruise that stops in Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington and Picton, plus five days at sea.

The cruise costs from $1369 a person. Phone 1800 754 500. See royalcaribbean苏州美甲培训.au.


Peppers Retreats & Resorts has added Bali to its portfolio. The sleek Peppers Sentosa Seminyak comprises 49 three-, four- and five-bedroom luxury villas, each with private swimming pools.

Available now is an opening special that saves about 20 per cent on usual rates. Pay $US699 a night in for a three-bedroom royal pool villa or from $US919 a night for a four-bedroom presidential pool villa. The offer includes breakfast and Wi-Fi.

Valid for booking until June 30 and valid for travel until December 23. See peppers苏州美甲培训.au/seminyak.


Avalon Waterways is adding two new ships and new itineraries in 2015. Early bird bookings across a range of European river cruises attract savings of $1000 each couple.

A new itinerary is the 16-day Rhine & Rhone Revealed, which combines a cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel with a cruise through France on the Rhone from Beaune to the Cote d’Azur. With the discount it costs $8290 a person twin share. Phone 1300 230 234. See avalonwaterways苏州美甲培训.au.


The Pullman Quay Grand in Sydney has a “Vivid Stay and Play” package, for stays during the Vivid festival. Kids under 12 can eat free in Q Dining and ECQ Bar, as an adjunct to the package that includes overnight accommodation in a harbour view suite, a three-course dinner for two in Pullman Quay Grand’s newly revamped restaurant Q Dining plus a bottle of Taittinger champagne.

It costs from $599 a night and is valid for stays May 23 to June 9. Phone (02) 9256 4000. See pullmanquaygrandsydneyharbour苏州美甲培训.


There’s an early bird discount on Back-Roads’ nine-day Austria: A Winter Wonderland trip. The tour begins in Munich and explores the Tyrol region as well as Cesky Krumlov before finishing in Vienna taking in Christmas markets along the way. The trip includes eight nights’ accommodation, coaches, four evening meals, a beer tasting and entrance fees. Departures are November 30, and December 7, 14 and 21.

Receive $204 off when booking and paying in full by May 31 – the price is $3881 a person twin share. Phone 1300 100 410. See backroadstouring苏州美甲培训.


Creative Holidays is offering a 20 per cent discount on stays in Disneyland California hotels.

Under the deal, stay four nights at the 3.5 star Disney seaside-themed Paradise Pier Hotel in a standard view room for $796 a person, twin share. The price includes a Disney “2-Day 1-Park Per Day Ticket”.

Valid for sale until May 31 and for travel August 24 to September 18. Phone 1300 301 711. See creativeholidays苏州美甲培训.

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