Now that the last Gallipoli veteran has passed away, we have no living links with the 1915 battles. What does remain, of course, is the land itself: the narrow beaches, the craggy cliffs and gently sloping plains on which nearly a million men fought, lived and, in many cases, died. Recognising the sanctity of this ground, in 1973 the Turkish government designated 33000 hectares (330 square kilometres) of land at the southern tip of the peninsula as the Gallipoli Peninsula National Historical Park. Expanding on this initiative and following the 1994 bushfires, in 1997 the government convened an international competition to re-evaluate, restore and rehabilitate the area as a park dedicated to peace. The competition was organised under the auspices of the International Union of Architects, with a nine-member judging panel, including Australia's Glenn Murcutt, New Zealand's Tony Watkins along with architects from seven other countries, and managed by Ankara's METU University. The Peace Park Competition looks ‘to the new millennium for inspiration and aims to create a setting where alternatives to war can be imagined and encouraged’. 1
Undoubtedly, the land itself will continue to be seen as sacred soil by Turks, Australians and New Zealanders for generations to come. But gradually the land is reverting to its natural state; all the scars inflicted on it in 1915 are slowly disappearing. It is thus worth reflecting for a moment on what else might become the enduring symbols of the Çanakkale battles, especially what things might become the key material icons for Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.
A few days after Anzac Day 2002, an Echuca (Victoria) man