Road to Gallipoli: My first encounter with Anzac Cove

Australian Regional Media photojournalist Stuart Cumming has arrived on the Gallipoli Peninsula and will spend the next week filing stories from Turkey, as we lead up to the Anzac Day centenary commemorations.

Stuart will file an online blog from each of his days in Gallipoli, and will also reflect back on the diaries 100 years ago of Australian solder Vivian Henry Noble.


The view of Anzac Cove from Plugge’s Plateau
The view of Anzac Cove from Plugge’s Plateau Stuart Cumming


Day 2: April 21: I made some new friends in the tiny breakfast room of my hotel this morning who helped get my day off to a great start.

Bill and Jo Slattery from Victoria referred to themselves as "geriatric hikers".

The couple are in Turkey to adventure across the steep hills and ridges of the Gallipoli peninsula, taking time to pay respects at cemeteries along the way.

They offered me a lift in their hire car. We drove onto the nearby ferry and jumped off across the strait.

They then dropped me at the Fisherman's Hut media centre, north of Anzac Cove.


The centre is well-equipped, with heaters and electricity to keep equipment running.

My backpack and camera bag certainly didn't fill as much space as the satellite trucks, camera crews and radio sound technicians required.

Seeing Anzac Cove for the first time was a special experience. It was very busy there, with a stage and full technical production being finalised.

But down on the beach it was surprisingly quiet.

This afternoon I was walking down from the Plugge's Plateau Cemetery when I came across Yeppoon man Peter Hayes, who was resting on the side of the track.

I did a story with him and his wife before hitching a ride back to Canakkale on their tour bus. I was interviewing another member of their group when Mr Hayes told me I had interviewed their Royal Australian Navy sailor son Geoffrey Hayes while I was on board HMAS Toowoomba in the Middle East in 2013.

After checking the dates, it turned out I met Geoffrey's parents exactly two years after I had interviewed him. Getting the bus back onto the ferry at Eceabat was eventful.


A long queue of tourist buses as well as regular cars were lined up at the terminal. The drivers' desperation to get their passengers home for the day grew as they slowly edged to the front of the line.

Eventually, it resulted in our bus driver and another bus driver getting into a heated argument.

It continued for a while even after both buses got a spot on the ferry, with most passengers left wondering just how many swear words they had just unloaded on each other in their native tongue.

I'll sleep well tonight.



Wednesday April 21, 1915: Fatigue dress parade ashore today. Marched inland about 5 miles- lovely country- pleasant rural scenery.

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