It’s Best To Be Dusty

From a Land so Torn and Muddy
For the ones that were there, for the ones we think about.

Music, soundtracks, the tonal qualities that bring resonance to the ear, that unfold in the mind and create depth, meaning and memories. Music has always reminded me of my journeys; recovering bits of forgotten time when that one note, that melody takes me back, returning me to places and events, the experiences of my past.

In this instance as I sit in the Secret Garden at the Crowded House Hotel in Eceabat, Gallipoli it seems that an Adele song will forever be etched into my being as a reminder of this trip. So too will I remember the people on our tour and the others I met along the way. Individuals such as Australian Peter Robb a regular visitor to Gallipoli, whose grandfather fought here, and who I told after a day of hiking and wandering across this peninsula, “Its best to be dusty”.

In an instant there is much laughter shared between us as we both understand the context…its essence…a homage to being here, getting out there, seeing the terrain, learning the hardships, the struggle…being in the heart of this place. Gallipoli is to the Australians as Vimy Ridge is to us Canadians and so two visitors, who have only just met, share stories, laughter, our heritage this evening, with a few other new friends while sipping upon cold beverages.

As I sit and think (as I sometimes do) seemingly wandering through the day’s events, I start thinking of home, perhaps just like one of the lads on this peninsula in 1915. Perhaps he is in a trench, scurrying across a ridge, seeking cover from the enfilade of fire and artillery? Maybe he thinks of an Emma or Katie, the ones at home…?

Lone Pine Cemetery, ANZAC, Gallipoli.

Somewhere along this journey, in preparation for visiting here, I discovered an Australian song by Mick Thomas entitled Gallipoli Rosemary. The song lingers with me, creeping up at times along the paths here and reminding me what this place means to others. The song tells us about a Rosemary bush that was pulled from this place, contained within a rucksack, taken to Australia and re-planted where it and cuttings from it continue to grow. Rosemary is a symbol of remembrance worn similar to poppies and seen on the lapels of visitors to the peninsula. The herb also has a reputation for improving memory, and as Mick Thomas sings it is now the only living link connecting Australia, their Gallipoli veterans and this peninsula of memory.

And so as I sit in the garden, listening to Adele, and talking with our host about our musical interests, Gallipoli Rosemary slips into my being, repeating itself time and time again. It’s not difficult, being connected to this peninsula, this trip into 1915. Tonight like that Great War soldier covered in dust wondering about the next day, Gallipoli Rosemary reminds me of my Emma or Katie, but in this instance, my girl Rosemary and once again I wander to the hotel’s internet and send a message home…

A 1918 Australian soldier’s message, “Best wishes for all times”.

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was captivated by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Over time Paul became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography, narration and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was inspired when he learned Weir visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. "Gallipoli", the film, led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii, Gallipoli, North Macedonia and Salonika. When Paul first watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests was a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, Paul believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


3 Responses to “It’s Best To Be Dusty”

  1. Christopher Moore says:

    A wonderful piece of writing about a wonderful song. Thanks.

  2. Rosemary Ferguson says:

    Love this song and just wanted to say thanks again. I know you had an amazing time wandering and climbing at Gallipoli.
    Your girl,

  3. pferguson pferguson says:

    I am saddened to learn that a post from the family of Peter Robb has been lost to the site. One hopes that perhaps we will hear from them again. The original post was especially touching and I for one cannot help but think of Mr. Robb anytime that I think about Gallipoli. Remember them well.

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