‘Testament of Youth’: Young Australians’ Responses to Anzac

  • Rebecca Wheatley
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Languages at War book series (PASLW)


Anzac figures prominently in Australian culture, but it is an ambiguous term and evokes a range of histories, meanings, and traditions for individuals. This chapter charts the diverse ways that young Australians think about Anzac. The language that young people use to describe their encounters with Anzac often reveals an enthusiastic nationalism or a kind of spirituality. However, they are certainly not conscripted to a simplistic idea. Young people also view Anzac through the prism of family, articulating its histories according to their own ancestry. Some young Australians, without such a connection, reimagine Anzac from new perspectives, for instance, by celebrating its multicultural dimensions. And there are young people who contend with Anzac’s complexities and even challenge its messages in contemporary Australia. There is an important silence too. While many young Australians are connected to Anzac, there are those who do not feel a part of its story and who are not interested in engaging with its memory. By examining young Australians’ language, this chapter considers how new generations of Australians are responding to Anzac and how they are reshaping its histories and traditions.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Wheatley
    • 1
  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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