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Photographs supplied by Diane Watson / Glen Yeomans / Russell Byers

Statue of Simpson and his Donkey commemorates the Australian spirit of self-sacrifice in war.

Twenty-two years old, English-born and a trade union activist, John Simpson Kirkpatrick was an unlikely figure to become a national hero. Having deserted from the merchant navy in 1910, he tramped around Australia and worked in a variety of jobs.

He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) expecting this would give him the chance to get back to England; instead, Private Simpson found himself at ANZAC Cove on 25 April 1915, and was killed less than four weeks later. Instructed to recover and help the wounded he undertook this work enthusiastically. Famously, he used a small donkey to carry men down from the front line, often exposing himself to fire. The bravery of this "man with the donkey" soon became the most prominent symbol of Australian courage and tenacity on Gallipoli.


Address:Fairbairn & Limestone Avenues, Australian War Memorial, Campbell, 2612
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.280967
Long: 149.148117
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict
Monument Designer:Peter Corlett


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1988
Front Inscription

Simpson and his donkey 1915 by Peter Corlett 1988

John Simpson Kirkpatrick enlisted in the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance as Private Simpson on 25 August 1914. He took part on the landing on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and became famous among Australian troops for his bravery and compassion. Under continued shell fire he used a donkey to carry water up Shrapnel Gully, and bring wounded men down to the beach on Anzac Cove from the firing line on the ridges above.

After less than four weeks in action he was fatally wounded on 19 May 1915. Although he was known on Gallipoli by a variety of nicknames, most of the soldiers who witnessed his bravery knew him as the man with the donkey, without ever knowing his name.

Simpson has come to embody for Australians the spirit of self-sacrifice in war.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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