ABOUT ANZAC DAY
ANZAC Day, originally a commemoration of the landing of Australian and New Zealand forces at Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915, has grown to become perhaps the most important national day in Australia. In addition to recognising the service and sacrifice of all Australians who have served in war or on peacekeeping operations ANZAC Day has become core to the identity of Australia itself, a day on which Australians reflect on the Anzac spirit and its place in Australia today.
ANZAC is an acronym and stands for Australian New Zealand Army Corps, the name given to the body of troops raised by the two countries to aid the British Empire in the Great War. Throughout the war Australian and New Zealand troops, or 'Diggers' and 'Kiwis', would live, fight and die alongside each other creating a bond that still exists today between the two nations.
ANZAC Day is also inextricably linked with the landings at Gallipoli in the Dardanelles Strait on the 25th April 1915. On this day ANZAC troops were committed to their first major action of the war, and though the campaign would ultimately prove a bloody failure and leave more than 8,000 Australians dead, it marked the beginning of the Anzac legend.
This legend was poignantly put into words by Sir William Deane, Governor-General of Australia on ANZAC Day 1999:
"Anzac is not merely about loss. It is about courage, and endurance, and duty, and love of country, and mateship, and good humour and the survival of a sense of self-worth and decency in the face of dreadful odds."
The Dawn Service & ANZAC Day March
The Dawn Service is a major part of the tradition of ANZAC Day and harks back to the military practice of 'standing to' at dawn. Each dawn and dusk, the most favourable times for attack, soldiers were called to 'stand to' and manned their posts in full kit, ready to repulse enemy attacks or launch their own.
Dawn Services are held across Australia, including Victoria's State service held at the Shrine, at 6.00am each April 25 and are followed by the ANZAC Day March in many cities and towns. The March, led by veterans and serving personnel, now also includes the descendants of veterans, sometimes alongside their relatives but more often, as the men of the Second World War in particular pass on, in honour of those who served.
For full ceremony details please click here.