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Video Clip Synopsis:
A World War 1 digger reflects on his work as a runner in the trenches at Gallipoli. Hopping across the trenches in full view of the Turkish snipers, the average life of a runner was 24 hours.

1min 35sec

Jack Hazlitt - World War 1 Digger is an excerpt from the program Jack Hazlitt (26 mins), an episode of Australian Biography Series 1 (7x26 mins), produced in 1991.

Jack Hazlitt: Born in Melbourne in 1897, Jack Hazlitt could be described as a “survivor's survivor”. When war broke out in 1914, Jack lied about his age and enlisted in the Australian Infantry Forces. He survived the war, serving at Gallipoli and in France and Belgium. Jack Hazlitt was a daredevil, the archetypal Australian of a past era. His interview for Australian Biography was his last. He died in 1993, aged 96.

Australian Biography Series 1: The Australian Biography series profiles some of the most extraordinary Australians of our time. Many have had a major impact on the nation’s cultural, political and social life. All are remarkable and inspiring people who have reached a stage in their lives where they can look back and reflect. Through revealing in-depth interviews, they share their stories - of beginnings and challenges, landmarks and turning points. In so doing, they provide us with an invaluable archival record and a unique perspective on the roads we, as a country, have travelled.

Australian Biography Series 1 is a Film Australia National Interest Program.

Study Module

Curriculum Focus: English
Year: 7-8
Theme: Wartime Work

Key Concepts

War; Heroism; Digger; Language; Representations; Commemoration; Memory; Image and reality

Curriculum Applicability Notes

ACT:Everyday texts – Language: Contextual understanding
NSW:(2003 Syllabus) Stage 4 Outcome 4, Outcome 10
NT:R/V 4.1 – 4.3
Qld:Cu 5.2
SA:Texts and contexts 4.3
Tas:Communicating – Being literate, Standard 4
Vic:Reading – Texts 5.7
WA:Understanding Language
Attitudes, values and beliefs

Context / Background Information

As part of Australia’s involvement in World War I, in 1915 Australian troops landed as part of an allied invasion force on the Gallipoli peninsula, in Turkey.

The aim was for the troops to move overland to the Turkish capital, Constantinople (now Istanbul) and defeat the Turkish forces. This would have taken Turkey out of the war and allowed the Allies to support Russia against Germany.

The landing was at dawn on 25 April, and the Australians and New Zealanders landed at a place they named Anzac Cove. The Turkish forces resisted the invasion and the Allied troops were not able to progress over the Gallipoli peninsula. In December the Australians were withdrawn.

Though Gallipoli was a military defeat, Australians believed that their troops had shown tremendous skill and courage, and that Australia had proved itself worthy as a nation. April 25 is celebrated each year as one of Australia’s most important national days.

Discussion Pointers

  1. What is your image of Anzac Day and the first Anzacs?
  2. What aspect of the fighting does Jack Hazlitt describe?
  3. Look back at your image of Anzac Day — do Jack’s experiences fit this image?
  4. Jack was part of the reality of what happened at Gallipoli — do you need to change your image to fit this reality?
  5. A theme of Anzac Day commemoration is always ‘Lest We Forget’. What does this mean? Why should we remember?

Suggested Classroom Activities

  1. Imagine that you are writing a biography of Jack Hazlitt. List the words that describe him.
  2. Jack tells us certain things, but he also leaves out or doesn’t mention aspects of his experience. List 5 questions that you would have liked him to answer.
  3. The video clip shows few images of the war. Imagine that you could have 10 images to go with the biography to help people understand and appreciate Jack’s life as a soldier — list what they would be. For example, would you want to see Jack as a young soldier? Or to see his family?
  4. Imagine that you have to give a short Anzac Day address that is titled ‘What Jack Hazlitt has made me realise about war’. What main points would you make?

Modules That Use This Clip

English Year 7-8, SOSE/HSIE Year 9-10, SOSE/HSIE Year 11-12