This beach, 600 metres long by 20 metres wide, was the lifeline to the
allied soldiers within the Anzac perimeter. Because of Turkish
shellfire, supplies could only be landed at night and carried by men and
mules along tortuous and dangerous tracks to the front line. Casualties
were evacuated the same way. The Australian and New Zealand headquarters
were located 100 metres from the beach and within 1000 metres of the
front line. On the hillsides above the beach thousands of men lived in
small dugouts during the 240 days of the campaign.
Text from Gallipoli Plaques Book*
This plaque stands directly above ANZAC Cove, which has changed since
1915. At low tide it was then approximately 600 metres from north to
south and about 20 metres from the water to the vegetation line. The
beach was the main point of supply for the Allied forces in the ANZAC
sector throughout the campaign. To your left is Hell Spit, nicknamed
Queensland Point after the Queenslanders who first landed there. At the
end of the dirt truck to your left is Beach Cemetery. This cemetery was
used from the first day until the evacuation in December 1915. Among
many graves is that of 22-years old Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick
(Grave No. I.F. 1). He served as John Simpson and became the legendary
'Man with the Donkey' now immortalised by the statues of him at the
Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne and the Australian War Memorial,
The beach area was shielded from direct Turkish
observation by two headlands, Hell Spit to the left and Ari Burnu to the
Unfortunately for the Allies, any ships moving
into the area by day were shelled, as the approaches to ANZAC Cove were
under observation from Turkish positions high on the hills or to the
flanks at Gaba Tepe and Suvla Bay. The total area held by the Allies at
ANZAC for the first three months was only 160 hectares, within a
perimeter of almost 2 kilometres.
ANZAC Cove beach was a place of continual
activity by day and night. men carried stores and water to be placed in
reserve areas for later transport to the front line. Boxes of food,
ammunition and stores were massed on the beach. Rows of mules were
tethered in areas protected from direct shellfire; their job was to
carry the heavy supplies up the steep hills to the front. Corps
Headquarters, from where emanated all orders for the Australian and New
Zealand forces, were located 100 metres from the shoreline in two of the
small gullies that run down to the beach. Those gullies are behind you,
to your right.
One of the few pleasures enjoyed by the men of
ANZAC was to slip down to the beach for a swim in the cool Aegean Sea.
This was always at some risk to the swimmer because shrapnel and high
explosive shells often whipped the waters in the area. on the hillside
above you, thousands of men lived for many months protected from
artillery fire by the steep seaward slopes of the first ridge. The
terraces on which they lived are only just discernible -on the hillside,
and the dugouts have long since been eroded by rain and wind.
In 1985, to mark the 70th anniversary of the
Gallipoli Campaign, the Turkish Government officially named this beach
ANZAC Cove in recognition of the courage and fortitude of both armies.
Concurrently, the Australian Government named a section of the north
shore of Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, Gallipoli Reach and gave
Ataturk's name to the entrance of King George Sound, Albany, Western
Australia. It was from Albany that the ANZACs left on their voyage to
Egypt and, ultimately, Gallipoli. The New Zealand Government erected a
memorial to Ataturk at Tarakki Bay and renamed a prominent area of land
at Wellington Harbour.
To reach Shrapnel Valley, continue south for
about 200 metres and on your left take the path signposted to Shrapnel
Valley Cemetery. It is a very short walk.
* - © - This text is taken from "Gallipoli
Plaques, A Guide to the Anzac Battlefield", by R.J.Bastiaan. 2nd
Edition Published by ANRAB Pty. Ltd. 1991.