By: Mike Crooks
Since the horrific loss of thousands of ANZAC diggers at Gallipoli during the First World War, Australians and New Zealanders have paused to remember the fallen.
Every April 25, on what has become known as Anzac Day, there are Dawn Services, marches, Christian services and other moments to mark Australia’s contribution to historic and recent wars, as well as peacekeeping missions worldwide.
April 25, 1915 marked the first day of the Gallipoli invasion, and the first Anzac Day was held in 1916. (ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.)
This Anzac Day, the national Anzac Day Dawn Service begins at 3.30am at the capital’s Australian War Memorial. From 4.30am, Australian Defence Force personnel read excerpts from the letters and diaries of Australians who were on the front line of wars. The actual dawn service takes place from 5.30am.
This is followed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Association Commemorative Ceremony at 7.30am.
The service, and other services throughout Australia, are screened on the ABC.
Following the morning services, there is a National Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial.
“We encourage everyone to attend these special ceremonies at the Australian War Memorial,” Memorial Director Matt Anderson said.
“Anzac Day means so much to so many people and it is a comfort to commemorate together.”
Throughout the nation there are many more services across capital cities and rural areas.
In Sydney, the Anzac Day Dawn Service begins at 4.20am at the Cenotaph in Martin Place. There is also a Sunset Service at the Cenotaph at 5pm.
In Melbourne, there is a Dawn Service at the Shrine of Remembrance at the city’s King’s Domain, followed by a Commemoration Service.
Meanwhile, in Queensland the day kicks of at 4.30am in the Brisbane CBD at the Shrine of Remembrance in ANZAC Square.
In Perth, the Dawn Service is held at King’s Park, overlooking the city. This is followed by a “Gunfire Breakfast” at Government House Gardens from 7am. A veteran’s march takes place in the city from 9am.
Adelaide sees its morning service held at the National War Memorial (on Kintore Avenue and North Terrace) at 6am. Following a march in the city, there will be a Remembrance Service at North Adelaide’s Pennington Gardens.
In the Tasmanian capital of Hobart, the Dawn Service takes place at 6am at the Cenotaph at the Queens Domain, followed by the Main Parade on Elizabeth Street.
Finally, in the Northern Territory, after a Dawn Service at the Darwin Cenotaph, on the CBD’s Esplanade, a march takes place in the city’s Knuckey Street.
There are many church services throughout Australia for Anzac Day.
At St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, there is an Anzac Day Eve mass on April 24, as well as a mass at 9am on April 25.
The Anzac Day Commemoration Committee also has a list of prayers that can be recited at Christian services.
The day of remembrance also marks the one day of the year that playing two-up is legal in pubs and RSL clubs.
It is a nod to diggers who played the game (involving betting how two coins will fall) in their downtime.
Pubs and clubs throughout the nation host the coin toss competition for players and viewers alike.
In a relatively new tradition, Anzac Day sees the Essendon Bombers take on the Collingwood Magpies in an AFL match at the MCG. They vie for the Anzac Day Trophy.
The match raises money for the Anzac Day Proceeds Fund, which provides support to veterans.
In the NRL, the Sydney Roosters and the St. George Illawarra Dragons vie for the Anzac Day Cup at Allianz Stadium.
The Returned & Services League clubs throughout the country are also a hive of activity on April 25.
“The RSL is committed to leading the nation in commemorative services,” read an RSL Australia statement.
“You are invited to commemorate with us.”
So, visit your local RSL for a beverage or Anzac biscuit with a digger.
Lest we forget.
For more information visit here.
Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.
Feature image: Photo by David Clode on Unsplash