THE actions of Australian and NZ forces during World War I’s Gallipoli campaign left a powerful legacy.
The “Anzac legend”, inspired by that bloody campaign, has become an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping Australia’s views of the past and the future.
Anzac Day commemorations have been held since 1916, and the Australian War Memorial continues this tradition, commemorating not only the Anzacs, but the courage and sacrifice of all Australian servicemen and women during periods of war and peace.
Held on April 25 of each year, Anzac Day was initially created to honour the members of the Australian and NZ Army Corps (Anzac) who fought at Gallipoli during World War I. Now, Anzac Day is also recognised in the Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn Islands and Tonga.
Thousands join to remember
EVERY Anzac Day, thousands of people join together at the Australian War Memorial to pay tribute to and remember those who have served in all conflicts.
This year marks the 104th anniversary since soldiers landed on Gallipoli’s beaches and the Australian War Memorial says it’s proud to host commemorations on April 25.
“Anzac Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915,” says Australian War Memorial director Dr Brendan Nelson.
“It is the day on which we remember all Australians who served and died in war and on operational service past and present.
“The spirit of Anzac, with its qualities of courage, mateship and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity.”
Anzac Day at the Australian War Memorial will begin at 5.30am with a quiet, reflective and reverential dawn service, which will include a commemorative address delivered by Cpl Mark Donaldson.
From 10.30am to 12.30pm is the national ceremony. It’ll be a traditional order of service including a commemorative address, wreath laying, hymns, the sounding of the last post, observance of one minute’s silence, and the national anthems of Australia and New Zealand.
This year’s commemorative address will be delivered by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.
To conclude the day’s commemorations is a special last post ceremony, which this year will tell the story of Sgt Charles James Backman, who was killed on the first day of the Gallipoli campaign.
More information at awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac-day
Hotel offers lots to do on Anzac Day
JUST a five-minute walk from the Australian War Memorial, Mercure Canberra is a great location to warm up after the dawn service, or relax after the National Ceremony, says general manager Patina Farnham.
Starting from 6am Mercure Canberra will have egg and bacon rolls, hot and cold drinks in the car park, a shotgun breakfast operating in Olims Bar and Bistro as well as a buffet breakfast in the courtyard restaurant.
Then, from noon, the front car park will be alive with food stalls and pop-up bars and two-up, which will be followed by the local band, Back to the Eighties.
“You need to be there early to get a spot at the front,” she says.
With a vibrant atmosphere, Patina says Anzac Day at Mercure Canberra is always a melting pot of people from all walks of life coming together to remember the Anzacs and say thanks for the sacrifices made both on that day and still to this day.
“It’s important for the Mercure to commemorate Anzac Day as this significant part of Australian history has shaped our nation to what it currently is,” she says.
“Without our Anzacs we may not be living the amazing lives as Aussies that we currently do.”
Mercure Canberra, corner of Ainslie and Limestone Avenue, Braddon. Call 6243 0000 or visit mercurecanberra.com.au
Labor Club promises a great day
ON Anzac Day the Canberra Labor Club in Belconnen is always buzzing with wonderful people commemorating the day, says Labor Club marketing co-ordinator Melanie Steele.
“The club has a buzzing atmosphere full of like-minded people looking to commemorate the day and show their respect to the Anzacs who have served our country,” she says.
“We believe in the importance of commemorating the Anzacs and the service they provided for our country.”
On Anzac Day there will be a $12 veal rump or veal schnitzel lunch special, which will be running from midday, along with two-up.
“We have great specials, great facilities and great staff to make it a fantastic day,” she says.
Canberra Labor Club, Chandler Street, Belconnen. Call 6251 5522 or visit laborclub.com.au
Service Club celebrates at old site
EVEN though the traditional site of the Canberra Services Club was burnt down in Manuka in 2012, it’s still around and it’s still the spot to go on Anzac Day, says president Mike Kinniburgh.
“We haven’t gone, we’re still here,” Mike says.
“At the moment there isn’t a proper services club or RSL club in Canberra so we need support so we can keep supporting service men and women.”
The club, which was built straight after the war in the ’40s, is one of Canberra’s oldest clubs.
This year, Anzac Day will continue to be acknowledged on the old site – at “the tank” on Canberra Avenue and Mike says all proceeds will be going to war widows of the ACT.
The day starts at 4.30am with a gunfire breakfast and then the club will continue to serve food all day.
Mike says people can hang around or go to the War Memorial and then come back for two-up, which will kick off at 1pm, finishing at 6pm.
“It’s a great family atmosphere,” he says.
“The beauty about it is it’s outside so there’s lots of space for kids to run around.
“We have a wet weather option as well.”
Traditional Canberra Services Club Site, Canberra Avenue, Manuka, near Manuka Oval, call 6162 0503 or email firstname.lastname@example.org