Centenary of Anzac
With the approach of the centenary of the First World War
and in particular the 100th anniversary of the landing of the ANZACs at
Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, Prime Minister Rudd announced in 2010 the creation of a National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac
Centenary on Anzac Day. The Commission, which included former Prime Ministers
Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke, was asked to advise the Government on appropriate
ways for Australia to commemorate the centenary. The Commission delivered its report on 28 March 2011. The Government’s initial response is here.
The Commission recommended that a Centenary Advisory Board
be established and in July 2011 Prime Minister Gillard announced that the Board would be chaired by former Chief of the Defence Force Angus
Houston. On 12 October 2011 the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on
the Centenary of Anzac announced the members of the Board in a statement to the House of Representatives. The
Anzac Centenary website can be found here.
On 7 March 2014 the Minister announced the termination of
the Centenary Advisory Board and its replacement with the Anzac Centenary Public Fund Board.
On 19 February 2013 the Prime Minister and the Minister
Assisting the Prime Minister on the Centenary of Anzac announced the Anzac Centenary Local Grants program. This provided funding for communities
to commemorate the centenary with region-specific activities. Funding was
initially set at $100,000 per electorate but was subsequently increased to
Further information about the local grants program can be
found on the Anzac Centenary website.
The concept of a ballot in allocating places for the 2015
Anzac Day service at Gallipoli was first raised in a media
release by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs on 26 September 2012. Noting
the anticipated level of demand and the difficult local terrain, the Minister
suggested a ballot as a fair way of distributing access:
The commemorative site is surrounded by thick scrub, steep
terrain and bounded by the Aegean Sea. There are also heritage and conservation
measures in place to preserve and protect the battlefields meaning the area
cannot be expanded. Due to these geographic and safety constraints, a limit of
10,000 public places exist for the Dawn Service. These places will be shared
between Australia and New Zealand – with Australia to be allocated about 80 per
cent of the total.
Subsequently, the Minister announced the Government’s approach to the ballot:
- surviving widows of Australian First World War veterans will be
- five per cent of tickets (400 double passes) will be available to
direct descendants of Gallipoli veterans, with preference given for sons and
daughters of Gallipoli veterans.
- there will be 400 double passes for Australian veterans from
other conflicts who have served overseas.
- there will be 400 places for school students and their
The remaining places (3,000 double passes) were available to
all Australians and were distributed under the following criteria:
- applicants must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident of
Australia to register, but do not need to be living in Australia at the time of
- applicants must be a minimum of 18 years of age on, or before, 25
April 2015 to register.
- applicants can only register once. All passes will be issued as
double passes—the accompanying pass holder does not need to be an Australian
citizen or permanent resident of Australia. No additional passes will be
provided to an individual who is successful in the ballot. Pass holders must
make all arrangements for their travel and cover all costs including flights,
accommodation, transport and travel insurance, etc.
The ballot opened in mid-November 2013 and closed on 31 January 2014 with more than 50,000
applications. On 3 April 2014 the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs announced that the outcome of the ballot had been determined and that applicants would be
informed by email and letter by 25 April 2014. Passes
were sent to those people who were successful in the ballot process.
attendance figure of 10,500 (8,000 for Australia, 2,000 for New Zealand and
500 VIP guests) was based on a consultant’s report from Providence Consulting
Group, a company ‘skilled in best use of real estate and the safe carrying
capacity of a site’ and then subsequently confirmed in consultation with the
Government of Turkey.
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs has delivered three statements
on the Centenary of Anzac which provide a summary of most aspects of the
centenary. The most recent statement can be found here.
The Minister also announced that there would be an additional ceremony on 6 August 2015 to commemorate the
Battle of Lone Pine.
Further commemorations at Lone Pine were announced by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs on 28 February 2016.
On 25 March 2015 the Prime Minister launched the Spirit
of Anzac Centenary Experience, a travelling exhibition that tells the
story of Australia’s involvement in the First World War and subsequent
Links to sites with details of
The following sites contain extensive information about
Day (11 November) is the anniversary of the armistice which ended the First
World War (1914–18). It is set aside as a day to remember the sacrifice of
those who have died for Australia in all wars and conflicts. It was originally
known as Armistice Day.
For a history of how Armistice Day became Remembrance Day
see Jennifer Amess, ‘A
day of remembrance: 11 November’, Sabretache, vol. 24, April–June
1983, pp. 25–26.
The Flanders poppy (a bright red poppy) has been part of Armistice or Remembrance Day since the
early 1920s. Wearing a red poppy is a sign of remembrance for the servicemen
and women who died in war.
For further information see the Background Note, ‘Remembrance
Day 2008—the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I’, published by the
Parliamentary Library in November 2008.
The Simpson Prize
The Simpson Prize honours John Simpson Kirkpatrick, the famous stretcher bearer who used a donkey to transport wounded
men down the steep slopes above Anzac Cove and was killed by machine gun fire
while doing so. It encourages school students to consider what Anzac Day means
to them and to Australia through writing an essay. The list of 2016 prize
winners was announced on 15 March 2016.
War memorials and cemeteries
More than 90,000 Australians who fought in the First and
Second World Wars are buried overseas. Australia commemorates each of these war
dead through either a memorial headstone at a gravesite, an inscription on a
Memorial to the Missing (if the service person has no known grave), or a
memorial plaque at a crematorium. Their names are also inscribed on the Roll of
Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Australia’s war dead from the two world wars are buried in
more than 80 countries, in close to 800 cemeteries worldwide. The Department of
Veterans’ Affairs website contains a list of First and Second World War cemeteries with, for each cemetery, a
roll of those service personnel who are buried there.
The electronic version of this publication contains two maps
which plot the geographic location of the main Australian overseas cemeteries,
Memorials to the Missing, and war (or ‘battle’) memorials, and provide some
brief information on each site.
Kevin Blackburn discusses the restored Changi Murals originally created in a chapel (St Luke’s) within the huge prisoner of war camp
established in the Changi area by the Japanese after the fall of Singapore in
February 1942. Between September 1942 and May 1943 five near life-size murals
of scenes from the New Testament were painted by a British prisoner, Stanley
Warren, on two of the chapel’s walls.
Pass Memorial in Thailand is dedicated to those Australian and other allied
prisoners of war (POWs) and Asian labourers who suffered and died at Hellfire
Pass (Burma-Thailand Railway) and elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region during
the Second World War. It was officially opened on 24 April 1998 by Prime
Minister John Howard and the Prime Minister of Thailand, Chuan Leekpai.
War Memorial in London was dedicated on the morning of 11 November 2003 by
Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister John Howard, in the presence of The Duke
of Kent, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and a party of 27 Australian Second
World War veterans. The Memorial features a long, curving wall of West
Australian green granite, reflecting the sweep of the Australian landscape.
Inscribed on the wall are the names
of many of the battle sites where Australian and British military personnel
fought, superimposed upon the names of thousands of home towns of Australian
men and women who served during the two world wars. The periodic flow of water
across the wall highlights these names and is designed to evoke memories of the
suffering and loss felt by all.
National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux in northern France was unveiled on
22 July 1938 by King George VI. It lies within the Villers-Bretonneux Military
Cemetery and was erected to commemorate all Australian soldiers who fought in
France and Belgium during the First World War, and their dead, especially those
with no known grave. The servicemen named on the
memorial were Australians who died ‘in the battlefields of the Somme,
Arras, the German advance of 1918 and the Advance to Victory’.
The Park of the
Australian Soldier at Be’er Sheva in Israel, commemorating the charge
of the Australian Mounted Division’s 4th Brigade against Turkish positions
at Beersheba (as it was
then called) on 31 October 1917, was dedicated in Israel in April 2008.
The website of the Office of Australian War Graves contains
links to overseas
memorials, with information on current projects overseas and in Australia.
War memorials in Australia
In addition to the Australian
War Memorial (opened on 11 November 1941), there are a number of other
sources of information about war memorials in Australia:
Memorials in the Australian landscape’, (Wartime, summer 1998) Ken
Inglis describes the importance of local memorials to Australian communities.
See also, K Inglis, Sacred Places: war memorials in the Australian landscape, Melbourne University Publishing, Carlton, 2008.
Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial located in Ballarat, Victoria, honours more
than 35,000 Australians who were held prisoner during the Boer War, the First
World War, the Second World War and the Korean War.
The National Capital Authority’s website has information
about the memorials
lining Anzac Parade in Canberra. New memorials planned for positions on or
near Anzac Parade are: the Australian
Peacekeeping Memorial, the site of which was dedicated
on 29 November 2007, with the winning design announced on 19 December 2008; the Boer
War Memorial the site of which was dedicated on 31 May 2008; and twin
memorials to the First and Second World Wars at the opposite end of Anzac
Parade to the Australian War Memorial. The design chosen for the twin memorials
to the First and Second World Wars has aroused some controversy and in February 2012 it was announced that
the location was to be moved back from Rond Terrace on the shores of Lake
Burley Griffin to Anzac Parade.
The Queensland Anzac Day Commemoration Committee’s website
has the history, descriptions and photographs of the state war memorials in
each state capital. State and city websites include those of Western Australia, Queensland (and Brisbane City), and New
South Wales (including the Cenotaph and Anzac
Memorial in Hyde Park and Anzac
Memorial was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II on 16 February 1954. It
stands 73 metres high in the forecourt of Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey
Square at the Department of Defence Offices, Russell, in Canberra. It is one of
the city’s most prominent and distinctive landmarks. The press
release from Senator Robert Hill on the 50th anniversary of its unveiling
contains further details.
Driveway, which runs between Sydney and Canberra, was suggested by the
Garden Club of Australia. Over fifty groves have been planted alongside the
Hume and Federal Highways. The Driveway is a memorial to those who served in
the Second World War and subsequent wars. The first of its trees—at Macquarie Place in Sydney (a plane tree), and the War Memorial in Canberra (a snow gum)—were
planted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1954. It was intended to have a variety of
trees, each selected for its suitability to local soil and climatic conditions.
Each of the trees honours a serviceman or woman and some bear a plaque with his
or her name. During the 1990s the Remembrance Driveway Committee and the NSW
Roads and Traffic Authority worked together to develop ‘Victoria Cross’ rest
areas along the highway—Gordon VC, Mackay VC, Kingsbury VC, Chowne VC, Derrick
VC, French VC, Kibby VC, Edmondson VC, Wheatley VC and Gurney VC.
The Australian War Memorial maintains a program of travelling exhibitions.
Gallipoli and the
Anzacs, a site hosted by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, contains a
range of educational resources.
of Australian War Graves (within the DVA) has stepped up activities to enhance
commemoration of Australian service in France and Belgium. In response to an
increasing number of visitors to the battlefields and war cemeteries, eighteen
interpretive panels have been erected in France and two in Belgium to explain
the significance of each battle site. In 2009 the Australian Government
announced plans for an Anzac
Trail to commemorate the achievements of Australians on the Western Front,
and a dedicated gallery on a
website commemorating Australia’s
wartime heritage is now available.
The Australian Corps
Memorial Park at Le Hamel—one of several
memorials on the Western Front—was restored in 2008 and re-dedicated
by the Governor-General on 8 November 2008.
A new interpretive centre, the Sir
John Monash Centre will open at the Australian National Memorial site near
Villers-Bretonneux in April 2018.
Remains of war dead
Bodies of service personnel are often discovered on old
battlefields or in wrecked ships or aircraft. When such discoveries are made,
the standard practice is to inter bodies in a Commonwealth
War Graves Commission cemetery.
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