Tag Archives: celebration

Anzac Day…before the flag was hijacked

Standard bearer for the Light Horse Regiment at the Cenotaph, Sydney, 1980 © Rob Walls

Back in the days before the Australian flag was hijacked by psuedo-patriots and hypocritical xenophobes, I, along with several other photographers, took part in a black and white documentation of Anzac Day. I came to it with the standard biased left-wing, anti-war views of the day…and came away with a profound respect for the shared experience and quiet cameraderie that was demonstrated. Would I feel the same about today’s jingoistic displays at Gallipoli and elsewhere attended by flag-wrapped youth using the event to display false pride and a misplaced sense of history? I doubt it. Back then it was a commemoration, today it has become a celebration. Few take the time to think about the difference…

Veterans watching the march, Anzac Day, 1980 © Rob Walls

No sense of irony? A Naval Bass drummer wearing the skin of Australia's national icon. Anzac Day, Sydney, 1980 © Rob Walls

Colonel Bogey March sheet music, Sydney 1981 © Rob Walls

Boy wearing father;s medals at the dawn service in Martin Place, Sydney, 1981 © Rob Walls

Naval cadets from HMAS Huskisson, Anzac Day, 1981

Ghost of the Light Horse Regiment at the Dawn Service, Martin PLace, Sydney 1980 © Rob Walls

Naval bandsmen waiting for the start of the march in George Street, Sydney1980 © Rob Walls

And soon after sunrise the politicians were already at work co-opting the day with Liberal Senator Patrick Baume handing out portraits of the Queen at the dawn service breakfast, Callala Bay RSL, NSW, 1981 © Rob Walls

Writer, Bob Ellis encapsulates my feelings about Anzac Day here, Battles Lost, Minds Won.

No matter what your sentiments may be about this, “the one day of the year”, in the end it’s still all just about this…

Art deco lettering on the memorial hall at New Norfolk, Tasmania, © Rob Walls 2007


Filed under Australian, Opinion, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, Rob Walls

A happy (and gay) New Year

In the very first hour of 1983, I was heading home from a party along Sydney’s Oxford Street in Darlinghurst. It had been pretty boring party and I hate the forced and false bonhomie of such occasions.

As soon as the New Year chimed in the party crowd were either heading home or mostly on to the next party. Walking home along the main thoroughfare (Oxford Street) between Paddington and Surry Hills, I decided to shoot some pictures of the revellers on the street. This stretch of Oxford Street is colloquially known as The Gay Mile. The mood was bouyant and friendly and for gay males 1982-83 must have been the International Year of the Mustache. When these three men in drag, with half a case of beer under arm, mugged for my camera I just had to respond.

Whenever anyone invites me to take a picture, I never refuse and these uninhibited men with their mad hair and their laddered fishnet tights were much too good a subject to pass up. A few months later this picture ran in the weekly news magazine, The Bulletin, under the headline “Gay plague hits Sydney”. In my mind it symbolised the deathknell of carefree sex in the gay community.

Oxford Street, Sydney, New Year, 1983

Oxford Street, Sydney, New Year, 1983

1 am, January 1st 1983, Oxford Street, Sydney

1 am, January 1st 1983, Oxford Street, Sydney

Leave a comment

Filed under Australian, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, Rob Walls, Stock photography