An iconic symbol of the ANZAC Legend is the hard tack biscuit or "tile" which was baked in Australia and issued to Australian and New Zealand soldiers in overseas theatres of war during the Great War. They are a hardy product capable of surviving the rigours of transport and storage in the deplorable WW1 trench living conditions. The product was very hard to the extent some soldiers broke them up and made porridge from them rather than risk broken teeth.
"Anzac Biscuits" are still a popular product in Australia and can be procured all year round. The popular version is more palatable than the original hard tack version.
One Australian company produces a Limited Edition 500 gram package of Anzac Biscuits each year prior to ANZAC Day. The package is a "tin box" with an embossed illustration on the front from one of the wars in which Australians have served. (The containers have become "collectors' items").
The contents are packaged in two air-tight clear cellophane containers so not all biscuits are exposed to the air at once when opened. We have taken a tin with us when ever we visit France even if not visiting the Somme. They are great for "morning tea" on the road and on our visit to the Anzac Dawn Service at V.B. we had a tin to share with our companions and other visiors seated near us.
The recipe calls for rolled oats and coconut for texture plus sugar and treacle (golden syrup) for sweetness. You can compare the original biscuit recipe with the "popular" recipe at the Australian War Memorial web site:-
Please look at "Lest We Forget" video on EasyMalc's Belgium Page.
It's backed by an Eric Bogle song,"The Green Fields Of France" - the finest anti war song ever written.
"The Green Fields Of France", performed by Irish Band, The Furey Brothers will have you taking a copy with you to the Somme to play as you drive the Western Front.
If you are arriving at these VirtualTourist.com reviews via a search engine, please also read my Villers-Bretonneux General Intro Page
Click blue text to link directly... To cut and paste - URL: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/ae2c2/14357/
For a comprehensive guide on "How to Plan a Visit to Villers-Bretonneux on ANZAC DAY" and other times - includes lots of stuff on "Driving in France" for first-time visitors - check out the "travelogue" at the bottom of the Intro Page.
"N'oublions jamais l'Australie" (Never forget Australia).
This museum is housed in the Victoria School very close to the centre of Villers-Bretonneux. It houses WW1 memorabilia of particular interest to Australians. "Victoria" comes from the fact that the school was re-built after WW One, financed by donations from Australian school children living in the State of Victoria.
Your visit to the Musee Franco-Australien will evoke even more heartfelt admiration of the bond between France and Australia if you are aware of the fact that the children and residents of the area donated money to help rebuild a school devastated by bushfires in Victoria in 2009.
You will be glad to know the courtyard at Strathewen School displays the following dedication: “This chess courtyard is a gift from the people of Villers-Bretonneux who generously supported StrathewenPrimary School after the devastation of Black Saturday 2009. We shall carry our historic connection into the future.
"N’oublions jamais nos amis de Villers-Bretonneux, France.” (Never forget our friends in Villers-Bretonneux, France).
Don't try to visit Victoria School at the end of the school day as the narrow street is chock full of parked cars as mums pick their kids up.
Parking is available in the centre of town just north of the town hall which is Best option what ever time of the day you arrive.
Opening hours are: Opening hours : November to February : 9.30am - 4.30pm
March to October : 9.30am - 5.30pm. Closed on Sundays.
Closed French Public Holidays except Nov 11. Closed last week Dec/ first week Jan
Entry cost 3,05 euro per adult; 1,55 euro children & students
note: "Exceptional" opening hours for ANZAC Day - 24th 0930 to 1730 - 25th 0700 to 1800
Photograph a Memorial Inscription or Headstone on behalf of a friend or for your own family.
Having successfully researched the location of the inscription or grave site using the available search facilities the next step is to find the locale and mark the location for navigation purposes. Google Earth may be very helpful in providing locations.
May I suggest you have some double-sided tape (mounting tape) in your kit together with some red silk or paper poppies. Check out the significance of the red poppy.
Bring poppies from home or purchase at Villers-Bretonneux or other Somme locations. I have a couple in my kit whenever I visit France: every village has its memorial to the fallen. Victory Day Ceremonies are held on 8th May.
The poppy can be used as a marker for the particular inscription that you wish to photograph. If there is no facility to help affix the poppy to the stone or metal work, judicious use of the backing tape will do the trick. Don't forget to remove it before going away.
The Route de Hamel leads east & north of Villers-Bretonneux to the most recently re-constructed memorial to Australian Diggers at a battle site which marked the turning point of WW1. On July 4th 1918, an Australian planned and commanded battle was so successful it established the pattern of future Allied operations.
Office of Australian War Graves memorials site
URL for cut and paste into browser is below.
Take note of the warning on the web site about thefts from visitors cars!! (see pedroswift's general France tip on "Security on Road Trips"
URL : http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/ae2c2/1c/8/
The poppy is the symbol of the Western Front.
Rosemary evokes Gallipoli where it grows wild on the Peninsula. It is commonly worn as a lapel on Anzac Day. Why not wear both?!!
Check out other customs associated with Anzac Day in Australia before you venture forth to celebrations of Anzac Day in overseas' destinations. Check them out even if you are not leaving Australia.
The web page has links on the right hand side of the page
Visit the Australian War Memorial approx 2 kms north of Villers-Bretonneux. Every year there has been a service here on the Saturday before Anzac Day April 25th.
Over 2000 Australian Servicemen are buried or are commemorated here. Prepare yourself to shed a tear or two as you read the inscriptions on the tombstones & read the names on the facade of the building.
note: In 2008 the Dawn Service was conducted on April 25th (rather than the Saturday before the 25th). There was a big turn out of visiting Australians. As a result, April 25th has become the date of the Dawn Service. The date is significant. Villers-Bretonneux was liberated by Australian troops in WW1 on the 25th of April, 1918.
note If you intend to visit for the dawn service be aware that because of narrow roads and limited parking, special procedures apply for getting to the memorial site which can only be approached from the north. Courtesy buses are provided from VB and other villages in the area and may be a better option than driving a car. In 2013 private cars are banned from the road running past the Memorial - D23.
Dept of veterans Affairs web site publishes the Traffic Plan two or three months prior to April 25. Link to arrangements & PDF of map
Basically the road past the Memorial is available for shuttle buses and tour company buses only. Parking for private cars is available at designated areas in villages to the north of the memorial site and in Villers-Bretonneux. You will have to walk at least 2 kms to the entry point along D23. Then 350 metres up a slight rise to the Memorial. Book places on the Shuttle Bus early. Maybe joining a tour is an option to avoid parking hassles and the walk.??????
Of course, you are not obliged to visit on ANZAC Day. May be better without the crowds. We have made two visits over several years prior to the 2010 ceremony. We regard a visit to the memorial essential to the Somme experience.
If you wish to learn from our experience visiting the Anzac Day Dawn Service in 2010 I have a trip planner here.
URL is: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/b421a/
At the western edge of Villers-Bretonneux, Adelaide Cemetery has the empty grave of the Unknown Soldier now interred in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Australian War Memorial situated in the National Capital of Australia, Canberra.