Home Learning Activity Battles of the Wasser

Battles of the Wasser

Background information for students

Principal Wasser Street, Cairo, 1914-1918, J.F. Smith

Known variously as the Battles of Wasser, Wozzer, Wazzir, Wossa etc. this was a riot in the red light district of Cairo in a street known as the Haret El Wasser by Australian and New Zealand troops several weeks before the Gallipoli campaign started. A myth has built around it so that a lot of what happened was blown out of proportion and the causes and instigators are all given differently depending on the source.

For most of these young Australian soldiers this was their first encounter with a foreign culture and resentments against perceived injustices built up. The disciplinary repercussions were small – especially since they were on their way to battle several days afterwards. As one writer to a newspaper asked, ‘did anyone expect that Australia would send away a force of 20,000 angels?’

Three months later there was another smaller disturbance in the red light district – the lesser known Second Battle of the Wasser.

Student Activities

The Wasser burnt, Cairo, 1914-1918, J.F. Smith

Use the sources provided, your own knowledge and other sources to answer the following questions:

  • Where did the battles take place?
  • When did the battles take place?
  • Who was involved in the battles?
  • How many people were killed and how many injured?
  • What was the damage to property?
  • How was the battle resolved?
  • Why was it called a battle?
  • How does the official version of events differ from the individual accounts?
Syllabus Information

The Making of the Modern World


Depth Study 3 Australians at War: World Wars I and II (1914-1918, 1939-1945)

The making of the modern world from 1750 to 1918. It was a period of industrialisation and rapid change in the ways people lived, worked and thought. It was an era of nationalism and imperialism, and the colonisation of Australia was part of the expansion of European power. The period culminated in World War I (1914 - 1918) and World War II (1939 - 1945)
 

Content

Significant events and the experiences of Australians at war (ACDSEH108)

using sources, students investigate the following features of each war:

  • a specific event/incident

Commemorations and the nature of the Anzac legend (ACDSEH097)

  • explain different perspectives on the Anzac legend

OUTCOMES

HT5-1 explains and assesses the historical forces and factors that shaped the modern world and Australia

HT5-5 identifies and evaluates the usefulness of sources in the historical inquiry process

HT5-7 explains different contexts, perspectives and interpretations of the modern world and Australia

HT5-9 applies a range of relevant historical terms and concepts when communicating an understanding of the past

HT5-10 selects and uses appropriate oral, written, visual and digital forms to communicate effectively about the past for different audiences

HISTORICAL SKILLS

Comprehension: chronology, terms and concepts
  • Read and understand historical texts
  • Use historical terms and concepts in appropriate contexts (ACHHS165, ACHHS183)

Analysis and use of sources

  • Evaluate the reliability and usefulness of primary and secondary sources for a specific historical inquiry (ACHHS171, ACHHS189)

Perspectives and interpretations

  • Identify and analyse the reasons for different perspectives in a particular historical context (ACHHS172, ACHHS173, ACHHS190, ACHHS191)

Empathetic understanding

  • Interpret history within the context of the actions, values, attitudes and motives of people in the context of the past (ACHHS172, ACHHS173, ACHHS190, ACHHS191)

Explanation and communication

  • Develop historical texts, particularly explanations and historical arguments that use evidence from a range of sources (ACHHS174, ACHHS188, ACHHS192)

HISTORICAL CONCEPTS

Contestability:
  • Historical sources, events or issues may be interpreted differently by historians depending on their perspectives and methods of inquiry

Comprehension: chronology, terms and concepts:

  • Read and understand historical texts
  • Sequence historical events to demonstrate the relationship between different periods, people and places
  • Use historical terms and concepts in appropriate context

Analysis and use of sources:

  • Identify different types of sources
  • Identify the origin, content, context and purpose of primary and secondary sources
  • Process and synthesise information from a range of sources as evidence in an historical argument
  • Evaluate the reliability and usefulness of primary and secondary sources for a specific historical inquiry

Perspectives and interpretations:

  • Identify and analyse the reasons for different perspectives in a particular historical context
  • Recognise that historians may interpret events and developments differently

Empathetic understanding

  • Interpret history through the actions, values, attitudes and motives of people in the context of the past

LEARNING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM

  • Numeracy
  • Civics and citizenship
  • Ethical understanding
  • Difference and diversity

Background information for teachers

Additional Resources


Images of Wasser

The Wasser burnt, Cairo, 1914-1918, J.F. Smith

Principal Wasser Street, Cairo, 1914-1918, J.F. Smith

More images of Egypt and Palestine


Trove articles

"CONDUCT OF TROOPS." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 1 Apr 1915: 10. Web. 23 Sep 2013

"More LETTERS from EGYPT." Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954) 18 Apr 1915: 3. Web. 23 Sep 2013


Slang terms

Glossary of Slang and Peculiar Terms in Use in the A.I.F. - Australian National Dictionary Centre, ANU.

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