If asked to decide which was the more significant festival, 'Australia Day' or 'Anzac Day', the majority of Australians would ignore the ostensible national celebration for the commemoration of a bloody failure. The Anzac legend which developed around the deeds of Australian soldiers at Gallipoli and on the Western Front has long been a focal point of Australian nationalism. 1 The 'Anzac' has become a cultural and literary stereotype enshrined in popular imagination as someone who was 'tough and inventive, loyal to ... mates beyond the call of duty, a bit undisciplined ... chivalrous, gallant, sardonic'.2 It is easy to see m the 'Anzac' the idealized bushman of the 1890s translated to a military setting. 3 The legend was shaped by much of the literature of the war but its origins are to be found in The Anzac Book. 4 Like all legends, it has great popular appeal and Australians do not readily tolerate any questioning of the value of the Anzac legend.
Kent, David, Bean's 'Anzac' and the Making of the Anzac Legend, Kunapipi, 18(2), 1996.