The Australian consul-general to South India, Sean Kelly tells us about the tradition of Anzac Day and their photography exhibition at PVR Cinemas this weekend
If you happen to pass by (or live near) the Madras War Cemetery on Saturday morning, make time to witness the observance of Anzac Day, by the city’s (approximately 150-strong) Australian community. A national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, this year marks its 100th anniversary. “Anzac Day is not a glorification of war or armies. The focus is on the sacrifice of individuals for their country and reflecting on the horrors of war,” explains Sean Kelly, Australian consul-general to South India, adding that the day traditionally begins with a solemn dawn service. “We’ve observed Anzac Day at the Madras War Cemetery ever since we’ve had an Australian Consulate-General in Chennai,” he shares, pointing out that the names of 14 Australians and six New Zealanders, who served as pilots in the Second World War, are part of the memorial there.
Breakfast of champs
Open to Australians, New Zealanders and friends, the service that begins at 5.30 am, will wind up with a traditional gunfire breakfast at a popular hotel in the city. And no, the private breakfast will have nothing to do with guns or gunfire – it gets its name from the British cocktail of black tea and rum that is popular among soldiers. The Australian version however, generally uses black coffee instead of tea. “The breakfast itself is a western breakfast with eggs, bacon, etc, on the menu. But traditionally, people also play games like Two Up, that the soldiers popularised,” he adds.
Past in pictures
If we’ve not convinced you to make the trip to Nandambakkam on Saturday morning, at least visit PVR Cinemas, where an exhibition of war photos awaits, in commemoration of Anzac Day. The exhibition features photographs taken during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, by surgeon and soldier Sir Charles Ryan. “His photos don’t portray the fighting, but show you the conditions that the soldiers lived in during the time,” Kelly shares. While there, book your tickets to watch The Water Diviner, Australian actor Russell Crowe’s directorial début, that also revolves around the Battle of Gallipoli, that saw Australian and New Zealand troops enter battle for the first time, 100 years ago.
The exhibition, A Camera on Gallipoli, is open till April 26. Details: 45921300