Nestled on the west coast of Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula, Anzac Cove holds a special place in the minds of Australians and New Zealanders. It was here that the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed on April 25, 1915, at the start of what would be a long and bloody World War I campaign.
This 600-metre-long stretch of sand between the headlands of Ari Burnu and Hell Spit served as the main base of the Australian and New Zealand troops throughout the eight-month Battle of Gallipoli, with it being designated “Anzac Cove” by General Birdwood on the 29th April. It was within a kilometre of the front-line and well within the range of Turkish artillery and forces who were positioned on the high ground of Plunge’s Plateau.
In addition to being the site of General Birdwood’s headquarters, two field hospitals were established at either end of Anzac Cove and four floating jetties were constructed for supply landings. Three wireless radio stations were also constructed, helping to maintain contact with the Allied fleet.
Anzac Cove was relatively sheltered from shells being fired from the Chanak forts and the Turkish battleships of Torgat Reiss and Hayreddin Barbarossa that were anchored in the Dardanelles. But it was partially exposed to Turkish troops stationed at the well-concealed battery at Gaba Tepe or “Beachy Bill”. Despite this, Anzac Cove remained a popular spot for ANZAC soldiers to swim and relax, with most just doing their best to ignore the shelling.
The Anzac Day Dawn Service was originally held at Ari Burnu Cemetery within Anzac Cove itself but by 1999, the number of people wanting to attend the annual remembrance day necessitated a move. Throughout the following year, a purpose-built Anzac Commemorative Site was built at nearby North Beach and it’s here that the Anzac Day dawn service has been held since.
It wasn’t until Anzac Day in 1985 that the name of “Anzac Cove” was officially recognised by the Turkish government, reflecting the mutual respect that exists between Turks, Australians and New Zealanders today. Anzac Cove is now protected within the Gelibolu (Gallipoli) Peninsula Historical National Park, which is managed by the Turkish government.