The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) was a small volunteer force of almost 2,000 men, raised in Australia shortly after the outbreak of the First World War to seize and destroy German wireless stations in German New Guinea in the south-west Pacific.
The AN&MEF comprised one battalion of infantry of 1,000 men enlisted in Sydney—known as the 1st Battalion, AN&MEF—plus 500 naval reservists and ex-sailors who would serve as marines. Around 100 of these men came from Victoria, departing by rail with the South Australian Contingent for Sydney where they joined the NSW contingent and sailed from Sydney on 19 August 1914 to Palm Island and then Port Moresby.
Among the Victorian contingent was Able Seaman Billy Williams, who was the first casualty of the Australian forces in World War One.
On the 17th of August, 100 years on, the Victorian Government commemorated these first Victorians to head into battle with a special event at Flinders Street Station.
Hundreds of people looked on as the Royal Australian Navy Guard, Band and Cadets marched across the Princes Bridge to Flinders Street Station. Once there, a commemorative ceremony was held before the public waved off the Cadets who left by steam train, just as the men of the AN&MEF had done a Century before.