Great Anzac Stories

The men and women who created the digger legend

Graham Seal
AUD $29.99

Stories of heroism, suffering and endurance - and also humour - from the main wars in which Australians have fought.

'These stories show the overwhelming blood and honour, heroism and horror that was the Australian experience on our cruellest shores.' - Peter FitzSimons

'Accessible, short, often fresh tales capture the spirit and sentiment of Anzac.' - Roland Perry

Over the years, the experiences of soldiers at war become the stuff of legend: tales of great bravery, battlefield wins, and also the tragic losses and poignant moments. Great Anzac Stories gathers iconic stories of Australians at war-on the front line and at home.

Here we relive the horror of the first day on Gallipoli, acutely aware of what was to come. We admire the courage of the men who fought at Fromelles, the Rats of Tobruk, the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels and the secret submariners. We remember the nurses working in impossible conditions, support efforts on the home front, and some of the most daring men this country has ever produced.

With larrikin episodes, grim jokes from the front, and dramatic eyewitness accounts, Great Anzac Stories includes many stories which haven't seen the light of day since wartime. It uncovers the distinctive character of the Australian digger, and the growth of the Anzac tradition over the years.

Author bio:

Graham Seal is Professor of Folklore at Curtin University, and a leading expert on Australian cultural history. He is author of the bestselling Great Australian Stories.

Category: Literature & literary studies
ISBN: 9781743310595
Table Of Contents: Introduction



First to fight

The forgotten island

The silent Anzac

The first day on Gallipoli

The landing

Talk about go!

Parables of Anzac


Silence of the guns

Leaving Gallipoli

We did all that was asked of us

At Pozières

The charge at Beersheba


They just poured into the wards

Everyone was as cheerful as possible

Private Punch

A soldier of the cross

The Roo de Kanga

The underground artillery

The only gleams of sunshine

Matilda goes to war

Tobruk Rats

Bluey' Truscott and 6 Squadron

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels

Australia's secret submariners


Scots of the Riverina

The Durban Signaller

The chalk Rising Sun



Very irritated

Death's soldier

A stitch in time

The Nackeroos

Yanks downunder

The Brisbane Line

Miss Luckman's journal


A million cat-calls

The Pommies and the Yanks



Food and drink

Babbling brooks

Army biscuits

The casual digger



The piece of paper

Baldy becomes mobile


The Unofficial History of the AIF

Please Let Us Take Tobruk!

Parable of the Kit Inspection

The Airforce Wife


The Eureka sword

The lost submarine

The vanished battalion

The two donkeys

Murphy's daughter

The souvenir king

The crucified soldier

The Walers


Anzac and the Rising Sun

The first and the last


No 008 Trooper J Redgum

The first Anzac Days

Return to Gallipoli

After the war

The longest memorial

The lonely Anzac

The lone pines

Mrs Kim's commemoration

The long aftermath of Fromelles

The Unknown Sailor

The Long Tan cross

Traditions of remembrance WC

The Throssell VC

Do you remember?

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: December 2012
Page Extent: 320
Format: Paperback - C format
Subject: Anthologies (non-poetry)

Teachers reviews

Over the past couple of years the Australian ideals of Anzac and Mateship, courage and honour, and particularly National identity forged through War, have been much explored themes in Australian society, new literature, and historical texts. This text is accessible and easy to dip into, a blend of material quoted directly from already published words written, or spoken, by serving Australians over a period of around 75 years, within a framework of context and analysis by author Graham Seal. There is an extensive list of Contents, with page numbers given under a large number of sub headings. These enable the reader to follow a particular thread, or to go back and find something again later.

Australian readers will welcome the many original anecdotes that are presented. They make vibrant, interesting reading. Although nowadays we may consider it a stereotype, the voice of the Australian laconic male figure, with his familiar sense of humour, is fresh and vital in this very accessible book. The Australian boys are ‘over there’ doing their bit amidst great difficulty and horror, but their irreverent wit and total lack of self-pity help the reader to feel compassion, understand the realities of war, and to also enjoy a laugh at the expense of authority, always a ‘sure fire’ winning technique. The stories are presented in different type face to the commentary, with headings, sub headings, and the division of text into relatively short chunks. The structure is clearly visible, and this will help young readers to maintain interest, without having to read the whole text as one text.

Seal ends his book with a good list of sources and references, and excellent index, and a list of photo credits. Together with the Contents list and glossary, all of these are useful in helping to teach referencing to young students. Suitable for late Primary to mid Secondary readers. Useful as a text for History or Society and Environment studies, the book would also make a good pairing with another text from a different genre for the purpose of study in English. It could provide a springboard for discussion on a range of themes. It could lead to discussion about war, about taking risks, heroism, fear, terrorism; and possibly post-traumatic stress disorder and other Mental Health issues for those who are caught up in War.
Helen Wilde, SA

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