Commemorating ANZAC DAY In Korcula, CROATIA



Korcula, Croatia - photo: Nedjeljko Cendo

Korcula, Croatia – photo: Nedjeljko Cendo

April 25 of every year is a day when Australia and New Zealand commemorate all those who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations the countries have been involved in.

Anzac Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day on which we remember Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of Anzac, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity”.

Croatian sailors – particularly from Dalmatia – have sailed on ships owned by other nations forever – most returned home but some stayed in the far lands. Croatia has had a troubled history with powerful armies of kingdoms and empires who had persecuted the small Croatian nation and, often, people have had to leave everything and escape in order to save their lives or to forge a living away from poverty and hopeless existence. But it was the early 1800’s when first records of migrants from Croatia to Australia and New Zealand emerged. And waves of immigrants from Croatia never stopped coming, creating communities that held onto their Croatian traditions and love for Croatia but also embraced Australia and New Zealand as their new (second) homeland…giving rise to new generations members of which would join the ANZAC spirit and fight for freedoms Australian and New Zealand forces contributed to.

Australians and New Zealanders of Croatian descent have left a remarkable legacy in the ANZAC spirit and fight for freedom. The Victoria Cross awarded in 1946 for bravery in the battles of Borneo (…1945) to Leslie Thomas Starcevich and the 2012 death in military operations in Afghanistan of Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic (Australian Active Service Medal with Clasps IRAQ 2003 and ICAT, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Australian Defence Medal, NATO Non Article 5 Medal with Clasp ISAF, Army Combat Badge, Return from Active Service Badge) provide a strong frame within which Australian-Croats have contributed to the battlefields of Australian Defence Forces.

Leslie Thomas Starcevich, VC Photo: Australian War Museum

Leslie Thomas Starcevich, VC
Photo: Australian War Museum


Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic Photo: Australian Dep't of Defence

Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic
Photo: Australian Dep’t of Defence



And, indeed, Her Excellency The Hon. Susan Cox, Australian Ambassador to Croatia, had spoken of the many brave Croats who had lived the ANZAC spirit and courage in her speech in the town of Korcula, Island of Korcula, Croatia where about 120 Australian-Croats (some now living on Korcula) gathered for the ANZAC DAY commemoration in Hotel Marco Polo. They were joined by 4 Croatian War Veterans from the Zagreb branch of the Croatian Homeland War Volunteers and Veteran’s Association ( Petar Bajan, Bruno Cavic, Ivan Krupec, Branko Bartolec).

ANZAC Day, Korcula, Croatia, 25 April 2014 The Hon Susan Cox with  Croatian Homeland War Veterans

ANZAC Day, Korcula, Croatia, 25 April 2014
The Hon Susan Cox with
Croatian Homeland War Veterans


ANZAC DAY 2014, Korcula, Croatia Robyn Vulinovich-Sisaric (middle)

ANZAC DAY 2014, Korcula, Croatia
Robyn Vulinovich-Sisaric (middle)


ANZAC Day 2014 in Korcula, Croatia

ANZAC Day 2014 in Korcula, Croatia


ANZAC Day 2014 in Korcula, Croatia Australian-Croatians commemorate

ANZAC Day 2014 in Korcula, Croatia
Australian-Croatians commemorate

Robyn Vulinovich-Sisaric, whose father was an ANZAC (WWII, died from wounds in Borneo 1945), read at the commemoration in Korcula the words of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, which are engraved on the epitaph in Gallipoli:

Those heroes that shed their blood
and lost their lives;
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
who sent their sons from far away countries,
wipe away your tears;
your sons are now lying in our bosom
and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land they have
become our sons as well.

ANZAC DAY 2014 Korcula, Croatia - Lest We Forget

ANZAC DAY 2014 Korcula, Croatia – Lest We Forget

Photographs from the commemoration by Antun Kresic were sold for humanitarian and charitable fundraising purposes.

“Lest We Forget” for the ANZACs was how 25 April 2014 ended in the place of my birth – Korcula. Most fitting because so many thousands from that beautiful Croatian island have lived for over two centuries under the ANZAC skies and contributed to the glory of freedom we now enjoy but which was dearly paid for. Lest We Forget. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. I love that Australian word “Mateship”- blokes pulling together- it deserves to be used more widely. And Ataturk, You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. Good comes out of conflict.

  2. Your blog opens up a new world for me. I learn something new in each post. I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know about Croatia and Croatian descendents living elsewhere.

  3. So many young men and women died and are still loosing their lives in war.. Let us never forget these brave men and women who laid down their lives in their ultimate sacrifice to their countries..
    It seems though War teaches our various countries nothing.. for they still invade and use the bravery of young soldiers who join to serve and protect their homelands in their games as pawns..

    I hope one day we will see Peaceful solutions to Nations differences.. But I doubt it will be in my life time..

    Blessings for all you do in bringing awareness ..
    Sue xox

    • Thank you for your feedback, Sue. It is much appreciated – it is awareness that contributes to actions one may undertake or support in achieving anything – if the world ever gets to the blanket of peace that will cover all then that will be the time of pure heaven…we can all help a bit towards it – even hoping is enough for hoping for peace also means a peaceful disposition. I too know that it won’t come in my lifetime but, oh, what a lovely thought to go, knowing our seeds will see it…Cheers XX

  4. A well-said lovely poem!

  5. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel.

  6. What a lovely post. Thanks for sharing !

  7. Gallipoli was Churchill’s idea. What a waste.

  8. A wonderful tribute for the men!

    • Thank you, gpcox – the pride and sadness combine in deeply heartfelt ways that follow us everywhere and fill our days with gratitude.

  9. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  10. Freundliche Grüße, Wolfgang

  11. Wonderful to read about Anzac Day in Croatia. Very touching. Have you written any posts about the Croatian community in New Zealand?

    • Thank you, Gallivanta, I have not written specifically about New Zealand yet, however, when I write or mention the diaspora it is included. I haven’t written in much detail about any specific Croatian community in diaspora but that will be on my books. I have a great deal of knowledge about New Zealand Croatian community as well as family ties that go back to 1870’s onwards – from gum fields to the high-rises of Auckland, Wellington etc. That community is particularly close to my heart

      • That’s very good to know. I think I have mentioned before on my blog that in New Zealand we tend to over -emphasize the English nature of our history when, in fact, it has much more breadth than that.

      • It sure has – Gallivanta 🙂

  12. Bit of a late comment here, but nevertheless, I’m glad to see Anzac Day is celebrated and appreciated in Croatia as well. It’s my hope that one day, us Croats can be just as proud of the sacrifices and achievements of our Homeland veterans without any political put downs, insults and suffering for victims. Anzac Day brings together so many different people, from all generations, that simply acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifices of soldiers, despite their personal political leanings, views on war, etc, and that’s what so good about it. Appreciating what people have done for the homeland and freedom without any negativity.

  13. “Brothers In Arms” – Mark Knopfler

    These mist-covered mountains
    Are a home now for me
    But my home is the lowlands
    And always will be
    Some day you’ll return to
    Your valleys and your farms
    And you’ll no longer burn
    To be brothers in arms

    Through these fields of destruction
    Baptisms of fire
    I’ve witnessed your suffering
    As the battle raged high
    And though they did hurt me so bad
    In the fear and alarm
    You did not desert me
    My brothers in arms

    There’s so many different worlds
    So many different suns
    And we have just one world
    But we live in different ones

    Now the sun’s gone to hell
    And the moon riding high
    Let me bid you farewell
    Every man has to die
    But it’s written in the starlight
    And every line in your palm
    We’re fools to make war
    On our brothers in arms

  14. Croatian hope says:

    Anti-fascists = ANZAC, respect!!

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