Brothers in arms, Presidents of the Collingwood and Essendon Football Clubs and representatives of the Government of Turkey and Australian Army joined to launch the “Side by Side” project. Meadows Primary School students Brad Cohen 11 and Erkan Genecioglu (of Turkish background) show solidarity with Lieutenant Colonel Craig Bruhn, Essendon Football Club President David Evans, Consul General Republic of Turkey Seyit Mehmet Apak, Collingwood Football Club President Eddie McGuire, Broadmeadows State Labor MP Frank McGuire and WO1 Robert Jericevich.
The school was visited by St Dominic’s Primary School students, Collingwood and Essendon Football Club presidents Eddie McGuire and David Evans, and Turkish Consul-General Seyit Mehmet Apak.
The Side by Side project aimed to dismiss claims that multiculturalism could cause community division in the countdown to the 2015 Anzac Day centenary.
Friends of Gallipoli spokesman Mike Forster said it introduced younger generations to the facts surrounding Gallipoli and its significance to Australia.
“It’s helping to demonstrate that there’s things we share in common,” Mr Forster said.
“Anzac Day ceremonies are just an opportunity for all those different students of many backgrounds to come together and see there is a shared history here, and the connection that relates to our bonds here with the Turkish community.”
The Turkish population is prominent in Hume, with 8.1 per cent of residents recording Turkish ancestry at the 2011 Census.
Mr Forster said the association with Turkey had grown stronger following the wartime experience.
“Out of times of great hardship and conflict, that relationship has been transformed into a very positive one,” he said.
“In more recent times you had Turkish communities coming back to the actual (Maygar) barracks that were used as migrant hostels in the 1960s.
“I think to the kids, it might make them curious to learn more about it and it maybe has more of an immediate relevance to them than if it was just about our sacrifices to war time and comradeship and mateship.”
Mr Forster said it was also great to have the two AFL clubs on board.
“This is really acknowledging the AFL matches that have been dedicated to Anzac Day,” he said.
“Collingwood and Essendon have made a feature of Anzac Day and that match that they play has taken on significance.”
Read article here