Commemorate the 100th anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli at the Australia War Memorial’s Anzac Day ceremonies in the nation’s capital.
Anzac Day is a significant day for all Australians as we remember the ideals of courage, mateship, and sacrifice embodied by our service men and women, past and present. The day developed from the commemoration of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who lost their lives on Gallipoli during the First World War, but over the years it has broadened to include the commemoration of all men and women who have served for Australia in war and peace.
This year Saturday, 25 April marks the 100th anniversary of landing of Anzac troops at Gallipoli. On this day, the Australian War Memorial will be hosting two ceremonies of national significance to commemorate the service and sacrifice of those who have served Australia during periods of war and peace.
The Dawn Service observed on Anzac Day has its origins in a military routine which is still followed by the Australian Army today. During battle, the half-light of dawn was one of the most favoured times for an attack. After the First World War, returned soldiers sought the comradeship they had felt in those quiet, peaceful moments before dawn. A dawn vigil became the basis of a form of commemoration in several places after the war and over the years the ceremonies have developed into their modern form.
From 4.30am three excerpts will be read from letters and diaries of Australian who experienced war firsthand in all its facets, before the Dawn Service is held from 5.30-6am with visitors standing on the Parade Ground.
The Memorial’s Commemorative Area will open 15 minutes after the service concludes, and remain open until 8am so visitors can view the Tri-Service Guard mounted at the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commemorative Ceremony will be held after the Dawn Service at the Aboriginal Memorial plaque on the side of Mount Ainslie.
The Anzac Day National Ceremony follows at 10.15am with the traditional order of service including the National Anthem, Commemorative Address, laying of wreaths, hymns, sounding of The Last Post and observance of one minute’s silence. The ceremony also includes a march past of veterans, who this year will be reviewed by the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.
Following the ceremony, the Memorial will open until 5pm and families often take this moment to place red poppies beside the names of relatives on the Memorial’s Roll of Honour.
This year they can also learn more about the story of Australia in the First World War in the Memorial’s new exhibition Australia in the Great War in the redeveloped First World War galleries.
The Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, said that for generations to come this world-class exhibition would honour the service and sacrifice of Australians in the First World War.
‘Australia in the Great War speaks to a new generation of Australians, offering knowledge and understanding of the men and women whose sacrifice gave us what we have and made us who we are,’ Dr Nelson said. ‘Every Australian who sees this stunning exhibition will leave with a greater sense of what was achieved, the price that was paid and legacy left to us.’
For more information on Anzac Day at the Australian War Memorial, visitwww.awm.gov.au.