August 2014 marked 100 years since the commencement of the First World War, whilst Remembrance Day 2018 will mark a Century since the ceasefire. Across the globe, the Anzac Centenary (2014 – 2018) will be marked by millions of people, in places of special importance and in ways personally meaningful to them.
In Victoria, local communities will have the opportunity to plan their own commemorations and to share in the stories of those who served.
These stories will reconnect Victorians to the Anzac legacy and create a lasting testimonial that will educate and inspire future generations.
The Anzac Centenary will enrich and deepen our understanding of the commitment and sacrifice made by Australian servicemen and women during the First World War and by those who continue to serve in uniform around the world.
World War one
In 1914 Victorians marched innocently into war. Some of them rushed to enlist; others – men too old to enlist, women and children – encouraged the soldiers and immediately began to work for them.
They did this by raising funds and providing necessities and little luxuries for the soldiers at their training camps at home, for their troopships, for the camps overseas, and at the front wherever the soldiers may have been: on Gallipoli, in the desert, on the Western Front.
As soon as they first faced the enemy, in 1915, Victoria’s soldiers found that war was grim business. Those at home quickly learned to count the cost. That cost became awfully high once the soldiers reached the Western Front.
Casualty lists poured onto the pages of the newspapers and were prominently displayed all around the State. Yet men continued to enlist and those at home loyally supported them until – mercifully – the war was over on 11 November 1918.
One hundred years later, Victorians in every part of the State have the opportunity to learn, honour and understand what was sacrificed, what was achieved, and how it helped to change the lives of future generations
With a series of programs, activities and events across the five year Anzac Centenary program, all Victorians are invited to learn more about the course of the war, about the achievements of Victoria’s soldiers, and about the contribution and generosity of those at home.
Every Victorian can participate in Anzac Centenary commemorations.
They will tell a part of the story of Victoria and Australia at war. They will show ways in which people may deepen and develop their knowledge and understanding of every aspect of the war.
A diverse Victoria
In 1914, when war broke out, Victoria was a very different place.
Photographs taken in 1914 would generally not show the presence of Aboriginal Victorians , nor the multicultural society that we enjoy today.
When the war broke out there were significant numbers of Aboriginal Victorians, but their presence in the community was not acknowledged and recognised in the way it is today. More than 500 Aboriginal Australians enlisted in the First World War. Their families and communities grieved, just as other Victorians grieved, when loved ones didn’t return home.
The list of soldiers who died at Gallipoli is long. Alongside names like Percy, Smith and Taylor are also the names of foreign-born Anzacs. They fought under names like Cazalet, Harcus and La Nauze. Their sacrifice is another contribution to the Australian story.
Today, all Victorians, no matter what part of the world they may have come from, or for however long their families have lived here, can share in the story and achievements of the men and women who served Australia in the First World War.
For more information about Aboriginal Australians in war visit the following websites: