Resources for Anzac Day lessons


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The Man with the Donkey

See also

Simpson and his Donkey
The legend of John Simpson Kirkpatrick




Medium length biographies

John Simpson Kirkpatrick (from the Australian Dictionary of Biography)Kirkpatrick, John Simpson (1892-1915) (Australian National University)
Australian Dictionary of Biography entry.

John Simpson Kirkpatrick (Wikipedia)
From the free Wikipedia Encyclopedia, which is written by volunteers.

Australia's favourite hero (

Jack Simpson Kirkpatrick.

Simpson and his donkey (from - The man with the donkey
(Internet Archive record from - click "Impatient?")
Brief story of John Simpson Kirkpatrick. Includes the variety of names he and his donkey(s) had. Answers the question, "What happened to the donkey after Simpson was killed?"

John Simpson Kirkpatrick - the Man with the Donkey (

The story of the Man with the Donkey.

Simpson's Donkey (
[Page not working on 16 Apr 2015. If necessary, try this archived page.]
The story of Simpson and his donkey


Short biographies Simpson assisting a wounded soldierSimpson and his donkey: Hero of ANZAC (
Includes photo with donkey, and bronze statue.

Simpson and His Donkey (John Simpson Kirkpatrick) (
Australian War Memorial encyclopedia entry.

Longer biographies Not Only a Hero (
"An Illustrated Life of Simpson, the Man with the Donkey"

Not Only a Hero - Simpson (
Scroll down for eight links to student resources: "Not Only a Hero - Simpson..."

Simpson and his Donkey - John Simpson Kirkpatrick (
1913 portrait photo, early life, the first 24 hours at Anzac, Simpson finds a donkey, other information about the donkeys, the daily routine, his last day.

Simpson and his donkey (

The story of John Simpson Kirkpatrick's life, illustrated with images that include his medals and special stamps issued to commemorate Simpson and his donkey.

An Anzac's Childhood: John Simpson Kirkpatrick (1892-1915) [Archived pdf, The Medical Journal of Australia]
Covers early childhood, schooling and teenage years of John Simpson Kirkpatrick.
(The information at the original url is now only password-accessible)
Book review Book Review: Simpson and his Donkey (
Review of a book on Simpson and his Donkey written by Mark Greenwood. (See also Classroom activities below.)




Getting the facts right Anzac Day Media Style Guide 2013: John Simpson Kirkpatrick (1892-1915) [pdf] (
This style guide clarifies the basic facts of the story of Simpson and his Donkey - see page 10.

Dust, Donkeys and Delusions: The Myth of Simpson and his Donkey Exposed (
This publisher's website summarises the approach taken by author Graham Wilson in presenting the story of Simpson and his Donkey as a misleading myth. For sample pages click on the link at the bottom of the page ("CLICK HERE TO VIEW SAMPLE CHAPTERS"). An alternative means of viewing sample pages is to search for the title in Google Books.

Should Simpson have been awarded the Victoria Cross?

John Simpson Kirkpatrick: Victoria Cross (
Summarises the issue relating to Simpson and the awarding of the Victoria Cross.

Gallipoli hero Simpson won't receive the VC (
1 Mar 2013
News story reporting in 2013 that a Defence tribunal had decided Simpson should not retrospectively receive the Victoria Cross.

British push for Victoria Cross for Gallipoli hero John Simpson Kirkpatrick (
26 Sep 2012
Simpson made Australia his home but a council from Simpson's English home town of South Shields is seeking to have him awarded a Victoria Cross by the British government.

Why wasn't Simpson decorated? (
(If the web page is unavailable, you can find the information in the archived pdf file:
Anzac Day Kit [pdf, 3.9MB].)
Scroll about halfway down to the sub-heading "Why wasn't Simpson decorated?" The notes point out that Simpson was decorated, but not with the Victoria Cross.
(Note that many links are not accessible as this material was produced for users of the Parliamentary Library.)

Simpson and the Victoria Cross: Australia's favourite hero (
Scroll down just over half way to "Jack was recommended for the Victoria Cross, officially, through his unit..." This section explains how Simpson came close to receiving the Victoria Cross. Further down is an Australian Government explanation of why Simpson has not been posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

John Simpson Kirkpatrick (
Scroll to just over half-way down to the section called "No decoration".


Is too much attention being paid to Simpson and his donkey?

WW1 legend of Simpson and his donkey a case of selective truths (
The story of Simpson has been exploited, according to the preface of Simpson and the Donkey: The Making of a Legend by Peter Cochrane.

Drop the donkey, urges Tasmania's governor [pdf] (
The late Tasmanian Governor, Peter Underwood, said in his Anzac Day speech for 2014: "We should spend less time studying Simpsonís donkey and more time looking at why we were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan for so long" (pages 5-6).




100th anniversary of death of Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick ( 19 May 2015 New
Head of military history at the Australian War Memorial Ashley Elkins says Simpson was an ordinary working class man whose legend proved far bigger than Simpson himself was.

Simpson's statue in his home town, South Shields
(Photo: Rohan Thomson, SMH)

Classroom activities Investigating the Spirit of Anzac: Image and Reality (
Click on the link to the pdf (Acrobat) file. This downloadable worksheet includes Simpson and his Donkey activities and images.

Simpson and his Donkey - original copyright Frane LessacSimpson and his Donkey colouring sheet [pdf, 63K] (
Promotion for the book Simpson and his Donkey by Mark Greenwood, illustrated by Frané Lessac.

Simpson and his Donkey Teacher Notes (
Provides a pdf file containing suggested classroom uses and activities relating to the illustrated children's book Simpson and his Donkey by Mark Greenwood.

Simpson and his Donkey (
"A Human Soldier." The story of Simpson and his Donkey, followed by questions for students to answer or discuss.

My Storybook of the Anzacs at Gallipoli 1915 [pdf file, 3MB] (
See page 32 for an activity to complete on Simpson and his Donkey. The following document contains the information source for use in completing the activity:

- Worksheets for My Story of Gallipoli 1915 [pdf file, 6.5MB] (
See the last page (page 64) for the information on Simpson and his Donkey.
These documents form part of the
Investigating Gallipoli collection.

 ● See also our Simpson and his Donkey printable and interactive word searches

 ● See also the Simpson and his Donkey section of our colour-in activities page

 ● See also Booklets to download  where some booklets contain Simpson and his Donkey activities
Videos Simpson and his Donkey - YouTube (
The illustrated story of Simpson and his donkey (with the song And the band played Waltzing Matilda as background music)..

Man and the Donkey (
British TV report on a play about John Simpson Kirkpatrick and his donkey, set in his home town of South Shields. The report, however, is usefully more a summary of Simpson's life than a report about the play. (The full title of the YouTube video is amusingly given as "Man and the Donkey, John Simpson Cook Patrick", presumably arising from the tendency of some English people to pronounce the word "cook" as "kirk".)

Anzac Heroes (
- John Simpson Kirkpatrick
     Short video. Click on John Simpson Kirkpatrick for the SECOND video listed, "The man with the donkey."
Songs John Simpson Kirkpatrick (YouTube) - sample only
This is a 1min19sec sample of a new song from Dogmatic Music specially written for use in schools. Watch and listen to the YouTube video free. The full 3min33sec version is available for purchase and download from

South Shields 'Man with the Donkey' Remembered in Song (
Report of a song about John Simpson Kirkpatrick. The song appears to be Shadow on the Shore (YouTube).

Sculpture Simpson and his Donkey, 1915 (
Information about a sculpture of Simpson and his Donkey by Peter Corlett.

Simpson and his Donkey - unveiled! (
VIDEO This page from SA Life incorporates a video on the making of a stature of Simpson and his donkey by sculptor Robert Hannaford.
Can you help? Is this Simpson?

The photo at the right is presented as Simpson and his Donkey in Five Months at Anzac: Joseph Lievesley Beeston. However, we seem to remember seeing a website a few years ago that identified a photograph that might have looked like this one and claimed the man in the photo is NOT Simpson.

Are you aware of that website or of information that suggests the man is not John Simpson Kirkpatrick?

Please email us with any information:


John Simpson Kirkpatrick as a boy in England



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