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Simpson & his DonkeyPrint Page Print this page

25-April-2016
25-April-2016

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

The monument features a bronze figure of John Simpson and his donkey with a wounded man on the donkeys` back, leaning against Simpson in a state of exhaustion. 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 (AIF), 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.

Simpson’s story became a powerful propaganda tool for enlistment in Australia, but following the war he was quickly forgotten. With the Shrine of Remembrance nearing completion in 1933, the memory of Simpson was rekindled to commemorate all who gave their lives to help others during the war.

In 1935, Wallace Anderson’s design for the memorial was selected though a competition organised by the Australian Red Cross. Anderson had served during the war and worked at the Australian War Memorial after his return. His Man with the Donkey was cast in Italy, and after some debate was sited near the shrine.

Location

Address:Birdwood Avenue, Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne, 3000
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.829909
Long: 144.973931
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Military
Actual Event STart Date:04-August-1914
Actual Event End Date:28-June-1919
Monument Designer:Wallace Anderson

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 20th June, 1936
Front Inscription

The man with the donkey, Gallipoli, April 25 to May 19, 1915.

In commemoration of the valour and compassion of the Australian soldier. After the landing at Gallipoli, Simpson and his little donkey, worked alone, day and night taking water to the front line and carrying the wounded back to dressing stations.

He and his donkey were killed by a shrapnel shell on the 19th May, 1915. Simpson was mentioned in dispatches by Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force

Source: MA,RUMV,RSLV,VMR,SKP,RHSV
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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