Barker's Gallipoli tour
Friday, 8 May 2015

In last Sunday's Sydney Morning Herald (3 May), Peter FitZsimons wrote the following about the impromptu concert put on by the Barker group at the wharf at Cannakale, near Gallipoli:


When the actual Lone Pine service finishes in the early afternoon of Anzac Day, the problem for so many Australian attendees, who haven't slept for the previous 36 hours is that it takes as long as – and I'm not making this up – EIGHT HOURS for the jam of buses to clear. Finally, though, most of the last lot get to the wharves where a ferry awaits to take them across the straits of the Dardanelles to Cannakale. They're all, not to put too fine a point on it, buggered, and slump in their seats. At least most of them do. Not, however, the Barker Choir and Band, some 200 strong. Even as the ferry waits for the last stragglers to arrive, the young'uns assemble on the foredeck and start to sing and play. Oh, how they sing and play. The ethereal harmonies of Waltzing Matilda, Run To You, Nearer My God To Thee, the Australian and New Zealand National anthems rise rich and beautiful into the Turkish twilight, as even the passengers on other ferries come out to watch on their verandas. They clap, they join in, some dance 'neath the diamond sky, with one handwaving free, silhouetted by the sea. And now, the final touch. As the last stragglers arrive and the Turkish guides who have been so good to them all start to wave goodbye and walk to the bus that is to take them back to Istanbul, the Barker choir instantly switches into a fabulous rendition of the Turkish national anthem. The guides stop, the wharf workers and security guards stare open-mouthed, the police and soldiers snap to attention. At the end, the Turks, the Australians and New Zealanders all together – 100 years on to the day since the beginning of the devastating battle that killed over 100,000 of our citizens – cheer and clap wildly.

Peace between our fine nations. It looks like this.

Haven't they done us proud.