ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates Australians and New Zealanders who have served in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. It is a day for remembering particularly those who, in the course of that service, have made the ultimate sacrifice. ANZAC Day is marked annually on 25 April, the date of the landing of the Allied forces at Gallipoli in World War One in 1915.
When did it start?
The first official ANZAC Day was held in 1916 to mark the first anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign.
Where does the word ANZAC come from?
The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) formed part of an Allied expedition to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula (Turkey) to open the way to the Black Sea for Allied navies. The campaign failed to make an immediate and effective strike, dragged on for eight months and both the Allied and Turkish forces suffered heavy losses and great hardship before Allied forces were evacuated at the end of 1915. The actions of the Australian and New Zealand troops during the campaign bequeathed a powerful legacy, now part of the national identity in both countries. The word ANZAC has developed since 1915 to mean not only troops in WWI, but to symbolise an ethos of courage, resourcefulness and mateship.
What happens on ANZAC Day?
Traditionally, it is a day for solemn public commemoration, with veterans of past conflicts, current servicemen and women and the general public participating. The event is usually held at a local war memorial or cenotaph. A parade or
march may be involved. The Ode of Remembrance is frequently recited and the Last Post played. As Australia is now a very multicultural country, the commemoration may be interpreted also as a means of remembering all those who have suffered in war across the world. A guide to planning a commemorative event can be downloaded here. The Ode of Remembrance and versions of the Last Post are also available here.
Is it a public holiday?
Yes, ANZAC Day is a public holiday and is always observed on April 25.
Are there any special restrictions on ANZAC Day?
Trading restrictions apply to non-exempt shops between 12.01 am and 1.00 pm on ANZAC Day.
Some exemptions apply and can be found here. On ANZAC Day, the Victorian Business Line 13 22 15 receives calls regarding alleged breaches of the trading restrictions for investigation.
To protect the solemn observance of this day, trading hours for licensed venues are restricted on the morning of ANZAC Day. Late night trading venues such as nightclubs, pubs and bars across the state that would normally trade between 3.00 am and 12.00 pm are required to cease the supply of alcohol at 3.00 am on ANZAC Day. This restriction achieves a balance between the commercial interests of the industry and community expectations.
Applications for temporary limited licences and major event licences for ANZAC Day will still be considered if the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation is satisfied that the supply of alcohol is in connection with commemorative activities and will be consistent with the solemn observance of the day. Learn more here.
The ANZAC Day Act 1958 prohibits the holding of sporting events to which persons are required to pay an admission fee or make a donation in order to watch sport, without the written approval of the Minister for Sport.
The Minister may approve the holding of sport on ANZAC Day if:
• the sport does not commence before 1.00 pm
• a payment is made to the ANZAC Day Proceeds Fund in the case of the sport being held within the metropolitan area, or the RSL General Appeals Fund through the RSL State Branch Headquarters or local sub-branch for sport in country areas. Learn more here.
Can anyone use the term ANZAC to describe an activity on ANZAC Day?
No, as the commemoration of ANZAC Day is a solemn one, great care is taken about how the term is used, and there are very strict limitations, including the use of the term for commercial gain. Learn more here.
Where can I join in the commemorations?
Melbourne CBD – A major event is held in Melbourne, incorporating a Dawn Service at the Shrine of Remembrance (Kings Domain, Melbourne) and a march along St Kilda Road culminating at the Shrine.
Go local – Commemorative activities are also held in most towns and cities in Australia. You can find more information about your local commemorations here.
How do I get there?
Special rail and tram services are scheduled to allow people to travel to the city for the Dawn Service. Road closures may also affect your travel. Shuttle buses are arranged from some RSLs to transport people to the city. Find details here.
What happens at the Shrine?
The Dawn Service commences on the Shrine Forecourt at 6.00 am (assemble from 4.30am). The Official Wreath Laying Service commences at 8.15 am (assemble at 7.45 am).
What time is the March?
The ANZAC Day March along St Kilda Road starts at approximately 9.00 am and concludes at the Shrine by 1.00 pm for the Commemorative Service.
Is there free public transport on ANZAC Day?
Veterans and War Widows can travel for free on Victoria’s public transport network on 24, 25 and 26 April, to help them attend ANZAC Day commemoration activities. Free travel is also extended to Australian Defence Force members, Scouts and Guides and school students on ANZAC Day, 25 April. Find details here.