The first ever re-enactment of the 1915 Gallipoli landings was filmed only weeks after the actual event as the climax to Australian silent feature film The Hero of the Dardanelles, which opened to great acclaim at Melbourne's Majestic Theatre on 17 July 1915.
Based on published reports and photographs of Gallipoli, the landing sequence was staged at Sydney's Tamarama Bay (near Bondi Beach). Hundreds of soldiers from the Army's Liverpool Training Camp stormed the beach and scrambled up the cliffs. It is sobering to realise that many of these men were soon to leave Australia and join the fighting in Europe themselves.
"… Thousands of Australians have done just what the principal character in the picture does - replaced the cricket ball with the hand-grenade and the forwards' rush with the bayonet charge, gone through the months of hard training at Liverpool, marched the weary miles across the Egyptian desert in preparation for the day, and when that day came have fallen fighting for civilisation's cause. It is a true picture of what the men go through from the raw recruit stage to the battlefield …" The Sun, 18 July 1915
This version of The Hero of the Dardanelles is a reconstruction by NFSA and Australian historian Dr Daniel Reynaud. Despite significant sections of the film still being missing, this reconstruction uses surviving footage, documentary film, newspaper stills and new intertitles based on the original screenplay, to give a realistic impression of the original film. The musical accompaniment is by Tony Gardner.
The Hero of the Dardanelles is the second oldest Australian silent film available to buy as a digital download.
SPECIAL FEATURE - GALLIPOLI CENTENARY - the NFSA's inspiring 4-part tribute to the spirit of ANZAC, narrated by Bryan Brown.
THE SPIRIT OF ANZAC - Enlistment (2 min 20 sec)
THE SPIRIT OF ANZAC - Gallipoli (1 min 30 sec)
THE SPIRIT OF ANZAC - Homefront (1 min 30 sec)
THE SPIRIT OF ANZAC - April 25 (1:30 mins)
Director: Alfred Rolfe
Running Time: 22 Minutes
B&W | Silent with musical accompaniment
Curriculum Links: Australian History; Military History; NSW History Stage 6: Part 1 Core Study 'World War 1 1914-1918'; NSW History Stage 5 Topic 2 'Australia and World War One'; Film, Cinema and Screen Studies; SOSE/HSIE Exploring Australia's National Identity.