The breathless Irish voice on the end of the phone had been singing for four minutes straight on the majestic scale of the Anzac centenary. “It will be the biggest thing you’ve ever seen,” she said. “It’s going to start with a gorgeous re-creation of the Gallipoli convoy departure in Albany, Western Australia, on 1 November 1914, to bookend the whole centenary of celebrations. Everybody’s involved,” she gushed from her call centre. “Legacy, the City of Albany, the West Australian Government, the RSL, the Australian Light Horse Association — it’s going to be magnificent. You don’t want to miss out.”
Untroubled by the silence from my end of the phone, she homed in with her sales pitch: “So we’re producing the commemorative publication for the whole centenary, Gallipoli 100, distributed to 84,000 people and with introductory letters from the likes of the Prime Minister. Would you like to book a message of support and show the Defence forces what you do?” She outlined the options: the best spots up front had already been taken by the National Australia Bank and a “gorgeous” advertisement from the Australian Submarine Corporation, but $14,950 would buy me a full page. For a 50% premium she could reserve a special spot right after the Ode of Remembrance.