book cover My Grandad Marches on Anzac Day
by Catriona Hoy

Picture book | 32 pp | Years 24

Getting Started

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[ Understanding | Respect | Responding to the text ]


Learning about Anzac Day

It is important for Australian and New Zealand children to understand why Anzac Day is such a significant day on the calendar.

Investigate the origins of Anzac Day using the resources in your school library (940.425) and some of the websites listed in the Getting Started section above. Prepare a display in your library that helps other students understand the answers to some of these questions:

  • Why do we have Anzac Day?
  • What does Anzac mean?
  • Why was there a war in Europe?
  • Which countries were involved?
  • Which sides were they on?
  • When did the war start?
  • Why did England get involved?
  • What was the British Empire?
  • What was Australia like in 1914?
  • Why did Australia and New Zealand become involved?
  • Why were so many young Australians and New Zealanders so keen to enlist?
  • Why did going to war seem like such an exciting adventure?
  • What was the AIF?
  • Where is Gallipoli?
  • Why was it important to control the Dardanelles Strait?
  • Who was the enemy?
  • What did the Anzacs find when they landed at Anzac Cove?
  • Why did so many soldiers die?
  • What was life like in the trenches?
  • What were the main problems for the soldiers?
  • How did they overcome these problems?
  • What was the 'periscope rifle'?
  • Who were the leaders on both sides of the war?
  • What were some of the battles fought that are still remembered?
  • How did the Gallipoli campaign end?
  • Who were the winners and losers?
  • Who were the heroes?
  • What happened to the Anzacs after Gallipoli?

Words, words, words
As you read about the events at Gallipoli you will come across the following words. If you are to understand what happened, you need to know what they mean.

peninsula hero terrain casualties
enemy war legend courage
dawn soldier coward diggers
valour troops stretcher bearers trenches
volunteer invasion plateau Allies
evacuate wound military spirit

Use your dictionary to find the meanings of these words and create an Anzac glossary. Then make a concentration game for your friends using these words:

  • Writing each word on a separate white card
  • Write the meanings of each word on separate cards of another colour
  • Place all the cards face down on a table, with the words on one side of the table and their meanings on the other.
  • Take it in turns to pick up a card: one from each side of the table. If the meaning matches the word, you can keep the pair and have another turn.

Special Days

Anzac Day is commemorated on 25 April each year. Mark this date on the calendar. Add other dates throughout the year that are significant for your family.

Discuss why communities have special days each year. Why is it important to celebrate or commemorate significant events? Construct a class calendar that shows all the special days celebrated by the children in your class.

Compare your personal calendar to those of your classmates. Are there any special days that your family celebrates or commemorates that are different from the other students?

Use a program such as Photo Story or PowerPoint to prepare a presentation that helps everyone understand your special day. Use a mind map to help research and organise your information.

What can we learn about other people by learning about their special days? How does knowing about the special days of others help our understanding of some of the things they do?

'What was the war like, Grandad?'
Many young men went to war expecting a huge adventure and exciting times, but they found the reality very different. Life also changed for those at home.

It is hard for us to understand what life was like just by reading history books. We can get a better idea by talking to people who were there at the time.

Visit a war veteran's home or some family members who have experienced life during war. Work out the questions you would like answered before you go. Record their stories and create an oral history resource for your school library.

'Prayer for the 21st Century'
Now that you have a better understanding of how war affects people, read 'Prayer for the 21st Century' by John Marsden.

As a class, construct your own 'Prayer for the 21st Century' and share it at your school's Anzac Day ceremony.


Fighting for the flag
Whenever there is a proposal to change the current Australian flag, many older people argue against it because people in their families have 'fought for the flag'. What does this saying mean? What is the purpose of a national flag?

Investigate the three main aspects of the Australian flag and what they represent. Complete the flag worksheet to show what you have learnt.

Symbols of a nation
We can show that we respect our nation by honouring the national symbols and icons that represent who we are and what we value. Whenever we see or hear them we think 'Australia'. What are our national symbols?

Make a large collage that shows what they are. Use this mind map to help organise your ideas.

Each year the marchers wear their special uniforms, and when Grandad remembers all his friends who can no longer march, he thinks of them in their uniforms.

  • Make a list of all the people you can think of who wear a uniform.
  • Why do people wear uniforms?
  • How does a uniform change the way you think about someone?
  • Do you tend to respect someone more if they are wearing a uniform?
  • Would you be more likely to seek help from someone wearing a uniform, or someone wearing everyday clothes? Why?

Marching Rights
As more and more grandfathers and grandmothers die, their grandchildren are taking their place in the Anzac Day march. Some people think this is a good thing because it shows that members of the younger generation respect the sacrifices and hardships that their families made for them. Others think it is not right because the children don't properly understand why they are marching and so they are doing it more 'for show'.

Discuss this issue with your classmates to see if you can reach an agreement. Use the PCQ Table to organise your thoughts and arguments. In the Pros column, put all the reasons why it is a good idea for the grandchildren to march on behalf of their grandparents. In the Cons column put all those reasons why it is not a good idea.

In the Questions column, list those things you need to investigate or think about further, using sentence starters such as:

  • What if...
  • I wonder...
  • Should...

Try to answer these questions because often they will help you reach a conclusion that is agreeable to everyone.

If the class agrees that children should not be allowed to march, how else might the younger generation show their respect for what previous generations endured?

Responding to text

Anzac Day

This is a story about a family commemorating Anzac Day along with many other families in their community, and throughout Australia and New Zealand. What do you know about Anzac Day? Why is it special?

The poppy is a flower that is always associated with Anzac Day. On the worksheet write something that you know about Anzac Day on each of the petals: what, why, where, when and who.

Make a giant poppy out of red paper petals: one petal for each of these headings. Put all the things the group knows under the correct label on the petal.

An early start
On Anzac morning the family gets up very early, when it is still dark and very cold. They need to be out of bed an hour before the Dawn Service starts. Use to work out what time sunrise will be in your town on the next Anzac Day.

On the worksheet, show the time of the start of the service on both the analogue and digital clocks. Also show the time the family needs to set their alarm clock.

Anzac Day is always commemorated on the same date, no matter what day of the week it is. What is the date of Anzac Day? What day is it this year?

At the memorial
The little girl and her father 'wait at the memorial for the sun to come up'. What is 'the memorial'? Do you know where your town's war memorial is? If it is easy to visit, look at the names and the ages of those listed on it. Is there anyone you know, or a family you have heard of?

At the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, there is a Roll of Honour that lists the names of all the Australian service men and women who have died while fighting for their country. All the names are also on a database at which you can search to find out about your ancestors.

The Dawn Service
You can read about the origins of the Anzac Day Dawn Service at

Most schools hold an Anzac Day service. Use to help organise your school's service this year. Ask your teacher-librarian to help you find these traditional pieces:


  • 'Valiant Hearts'
  • 'God, Our Help in Ages Past'


  • 'The Lord's Prayer'
  • 'Prayer for the 21st Century' (John Marsden)


  • 'In Flanders Fields' (John McCrae)
  • 'For the Fallen' (Laurence Binyon)


  • 'Lest we Forget' (fourth verse of 'For the Fallen')


  • 'The Last Post'
  • 'Reveille or Rouse'
  • the National Anthem

Contact your state RSL at to see if there is someone who lives locally and might be suitable to speak at your service.

The Rising Sun Badge
Look closely at the base of the War Memorial on p 6 and you will see the badge of the AIF (Australian Imperial Forces) sculpted into its structure. You can also see parts of it on the little girl's badge as well as on the soldiers' uniforms. You can read about the history of the Rising Sun Badge at

What is the purpose of a badge? Why do people wear them with such pride?

Examine some badges and identify the things they all have. Design a badge for your school, class or another group you belong to. Use modelling clay or playdough to make a model of this badge.

Marching music
Anzac Day marches always have bands playing marching music. It helps everyone to keep in time and makes them feel proud and passionate about what they are doing. Listen to some marching music. Can you tap the beat with your feet? Can you feel the drums boom in your chest?

Being brave

The little girl's grandfather and all the other soldiers who march wear their medals proudly. These medals tell people where each soldier has served, and some people even have special medals for bravery.

What does it mean to be brave? As a class, fill out the Y Chart to describe what being brave and having courage means.

Then, on your own, think about a time when you have been brave, or when you might be brave, then complete this worksheet .

'One day I will march on Anzac Day and I will do the remembering.'

  • Create a storyboard to show what the little girl will remember from the Anzac Day march. Then write a diary or journal entry describing the day.
  • Now, create a timeline of the most important events in your family since your grandparents were born.
  • How will you decide what events are the most important?
  • How might your family life be different if just one of these things had not happened?
  • What do you think might be some turning points in the future?

© Curriculum Corporation 2006