Textbooks, Biscuits, Poppies: What Does Anzac Day Mean to the Young?

We asked Year Eleven student Billie Tumarkin to explore what Anzac Day means to her generation. She dabbled in some amateur psychology with friends and reflected on Anzac Days past. What did she find? Mixed messages about the day’s meaning, history lessons that bored rather than enlightened (‘like chewy meat’) – and the idea that if we want young people to engage with the past, we need to bring it to life in more imaginative and resonant ways. ‘You have to give us more than poppies and cookies.’

I ask some friends if I can play a game of word association with them. Everyone is worried – word association is something psychoanalysts use when delving into the unexplored corners of a deranged mind. It takes a lot of persuasion and a tiny bit of deception, but I get there.

Portrait of Billie Tumarkin

Billie Tumarkin is a young writer and musician. She is currently studying classical voice at the University of Melbourne. Her work has appeared in Birdee Mag, the Hoopla, the Under Age and at wheelercentre.com. In 2015, she was one of Melbourne Writers Festival’s '30 under 30'.

Related posts