The Shrine hosts more than 150 official commemorative services each year. Services are held to remember the service of Australian men and women, particularly Victorians, in times of war and peacekeeping. The majority of these services take place:
- in the Sanctuary
- on the Forecourt
- at a Remembrance tree and its attendant memorial plaque
While each service is unique, each contains the following elements:
- laying of a wreath/wreaths
- recitation of Laurence Binyon’s 'Ode' from 'For the Fallen'
- the sounding of 'The Last Post' on a trumpet or bugle
- a period of silence
- 'Lest We Forget' (said by the MC, then repeated by all present)
- the sounding of the 'Rouse' on a trumpet or bugle
- playing of the Australian national anthem
Application to hold a wreath laying service
All ceremonial activities at the Shrine must be approved by the Trustees.
Organisations wishing to hold a service should fill out the application form below.
The Shrine of Remembrance holds more than 160 memorial activities each year. The majority of these ceremonies consist of a wreath laying ceremony in the ceremonial precincts of the Shrine or at a memorial plaque. They are held to remember the service of Australian men and women, particularly Victorians, in times of war and peace. This policy concerns itself with the appropriate conduct of these ceremonies and applies to any person, group, body, association or military unit wishing to conduct memorial activities within the Shrine Reserve.
- Permission to carry out any memorial activity must be sought through a formal application to the Shrine Trustees. Written permission must be granted prior to any activity being carried out.
- Memorial activities must include, as a substantial and focal point of the ceremony, a tribute to the remembrance of Australian servicemen and women.
- Activities in remembrance of allied servicemen and women may be approved provided there is a close and identifiable link with Australian service personnel. This affiliation must be highlighted during the service.
- Activities must follow the approved order of service. The approved order of the commemorative ritual required of all memorial activities is:
- Laying of the wreath/wreaths
- Recitation of the fourth verse of Binyon’s “Ode to the Fallen”.
- The sounding of “The Last Post” on a trumpet or bugle only.
- A period of silence.
- “Lest We Forget” (said by the person reciting the ode or laying the wreath and repeated by all present).
- The sounding of the “Rouse” or “Reveille” on a trumpet or bugle only.
- Playing of the Australian National Anthem.
- Any intention to vary from the approved format must approved by the Trustees prior to the activity.
- No banners, placards, signs or similar may be used in association with any activity, other than unit banners in the case of Australian or allied ex-service organisations, save with the approval of the Trustees.
- The Australian National Flag may be carried and displayed freely. Specific approval is required for other national flags to be carried or displayed.
- The Trustees may approve the flying of a foreign national flag or house flag in conjunction with the memorial activity as per the policy 3.02.2 Flags & Ensigns
- Where an activity has any association, direct or indirect, with a nation other than Australia, it will not be approved unless Australia currently has diplomatic relations with the nation concerned.
- Any speeches made on the Shrine Reserve must relate to remembrance of Australian servicemen and women and related themes. Any comments that could be regarded as political and divisive, either in Australia or any overseas country, are specifically prohibited.
- The playing of national anthems or other national tunes, other than the Australian National Anthem, requires specific approval from the Shrine of Remembrance Trustees. Such requests must be included in the formal application.
- All speeches are to be delivered in the English language. Where a visiting overseas dignitary may not be conversant with English, the speech may be delivered in the native tongue, but must be interpreted into English by a qualified interpreter immediately after its delivery. A copy of any proposed address must accompany the application or be submitted to the Trustees for approval five working days prior to the ceremony.
- Where approval is given for an activity to be held which relates to the National Day of an ally, such a ceremony must have the theme of remembrance of Australian and allied servicemen and women as its central focus. Festivities, celebrations, entertainments, concert performances, dancing and similar activities will not be permitted.
- Any organisation using the Shrine Reserve who obtains permission to bring equipment or furniture such as seating, public address system, barricades, dais onto the Reserve for their activity is responsible for removing all such equipment from the Reserve within an hour of the conclusion of the activity unless alternative arrangements are approved by the Trustees.
- Any organisation using the Shrine Reserve is responsible for the cleanliness of the Reserve following the activity. This requires removal, within an hour of the conclusion of the ceremony, of all litter generated by the activity. This includes any litter left by members of the public attracted to the Shrine Reserve by the activity.
- When it is anticipated that attendance at the service is likely to exceed 200 persons, the organisers are required to arrange for the attendance of St John’s Ambulance or equivalent medical support. A letter of confirmation and/or certificate is required to be submitted prior to the event.
- The following will only be permitted to be positioned on the WW2 forecourt: Official Dais (including covered VIP seating); Seating; Lectern; Band and/or choir; Military Guard of Honour. Any other equipment/seating etc. must be placed on the lawn areas as directed by the Coordinator Visitor Services.
- A Trustee, Life Governor or Governor will normally attend every activity on behalf of the Shrine Trustees. The Trustee, Life Governor or Governor must be included in the official party and recognised in any welcome.
- Participants are encouraged to wear official decorations and campaign medals. Relatives of deceased ex-servicemen and women are encouraged to wear their deceased relative’s war medals on the right breast.
- Uniform, including official decorations and campaign medals, may be worn by those entitled to do so.
- No weapons other than those carried by Shrine of Remembrance Guards, Victorian & Australian Federal Police or ADF personnel (including Cadets), are permitted within the Sanctuary and/or within the Shrine Reserve or as otherwise approved by Trustees.
- Catafalque Parties or Military Guards of Honour may only be provided by Shrine of Remembrance Guards or ADF personnel (including Cadets) or as otherwise approved by Trustees.
- House Flag: any banner or pennant which is neither a flag nor an ensign (e.g. unit association or club ‘flags’)
Policy 3.05 ‘Wreath Laying & Other Ceremonies’ shall be reviewed on an annual basis.
Procedures – Wreath Laying & Other Ceremonies
3.02 Flags & Ensigns
Adopted: April, 2008
Authors: D Mulqueen & C Widenbar
Last review: October 2013
Authorised by: Board of Trustees
3.07 Usage of Commemorative Spaces
RELATED ACTS Nil
Reviewed 29 June 2020