Space tight for Gallipoli centenary

By Greg Ansley

New Zealand to get 2000 spots while Australia gets 8000 for 2015 service

Anzac Day services at Gallipoli have been steadily growing, putting pressure on the facilities at the historic battle site. Photo / Ufuk Sarisen
Anzac Day services at Gallipoli have been steadily growing, putting pressure on the facilities at the historic battle site. Photo / Ufuk Sarisen

New Zealand has been allocated 2000 of the 10,000 places available for the dawn service at the 2015 centenary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli.

The remaining 8000 have been allocated to Australia, which will hold a ballot to determine who will be able to attend.

The allocations were announced yesterday by Australian Veterans' Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon, who said limits had been imposed because of the "significant realities" of the terrain.

"The Anzac commemorative site, where the dawn service is held, is in a rugged and remote part of Turkey," he said.

"The geography, which was a feat for the Anzacs almost a century ago, remains a challenge today.

"The commemorative site is surrounded by thick scrub, steep terrain and bounded by the Aegean Sea.

"There are also heritage and conservation measures in place to preserve and protect the battlefields meaning the area cannot be expanded."

Attendances at Anzac Day services at Gallipoli have been steadily increasing and have caused pressures on facilities, with even greater interest emerging for the centenary of the first major battle fought by both New Zealand and Australian troops.

About 8500 New Zealanders and 50,000 Australians served in the campaign. More than 2700 New Zealanders and 8000 Australians died.

Snowdon said there had been calls for direct descendants to be given places at the centenary Dawn Service.

"But we believe there are probably around one million direct descendants which makes it highly improbable that many of them will be able to attend the site," he said.

"Obviously, there will be disappointments through this process because clearly I don't think we're going to be able to provide for everyone who wants to attend.

"This is not an exercise in trying to cocoon spaces for people who believe they're important."

- NZ Herald

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