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A Turkish tribute

Mustapha Kemal Ataturk gave this gold cigarette case to Stanley Melbourne Bruce in 1936, after Bruce chaired the League of Nations Montreux conference. An international agreement defining Turkish rights in the Dardanelles straits replaced the restrictions imposed on Turkey after the 1914–18 war. The two men had been enemies in that war and Bruce had been wounded at Gallipoli 20 years before.

Gold cigarette case presented to Stanley Melbourne Bruce by Kemal Ataturk

Gold cigarette case presented to Stanley Melbourne Bruce by Kemal Ataturk, 1936


NAA: M4254, 42

Lord and Lady Bruce at the Montreux conference, 1936.

Lord and Lady Bruce at the Montreux conference, 1936.


NAA: M112, 1, p.18

Bruce used the cigarette case every day for the rest of his life. In 1967, shortly before his death, he proudly showed the well-used memento to a visitor. And in his study, Bruce displayed only two photographs, one of Ethel Bruce, and another of the Turkish soldier and statesman.

Bruce’s own statesmanlike capacity for reconciliation with a former enemy was reflected more than 50 years later when the governments of Australia and Turkey signed the agreement for the naming of Anzac Cove at Gallipoli. In return, Australia established the Kemal Ataturk memorial on Canberra’s Anzac Avenue.


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Did you know ...

A Government must have a majority in the House of Representatives to pass legislation, but each Bill has to pass in the Senate too. When Government and Opposition numbers in the Senate are too close, the votes of Independent and minor party Senators can be crucial to passing a Bill.

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