The 2014 ANZAC Day Dawn Service, marches and remembrance parade takes place on Friday 25th April 2014.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACs, and the pride they soon took in that name endures to this day.
The 25th of April marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
Why is this day so special to Australians?
When war broke out in 1914 Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only fourteen years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world.
In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula to open the way to the Black Sea for the allied navies. The plan was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), capital of the Ottoman Empire and an ally of Germany.
They landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months.
At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships.
Over 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war.
The idea that some sort of "blood sacrifice" was a necessary rite of passage or initiation ceremony in the birth of a nation was common in the late Victorian and Edwardian period.
In attempting the daunting task of storming the Gallipoli peninsula the ANZACs created an event which, it was felt, would help to shape the new Australia.
What does it mean today?
Australians recognise 25 April as an occasion of national commemoration. Commemorative services are held at dawn, the time of the original landing, across the nation.
Later in the day ex-servicemen and women meet and join in marches through the major cities and many smaller centres. Commemorative ceremonies are held at war memorials around the country.
It is a day when Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war.
Australian War Memorial - www.awm.gov.au
The Flanders poppy has been a part of Armistice or Remembrance Day ritual since the early 1920s and is also increasingly being used as part of ANZAC Day observances.
During the First World War, the red poppies were seen to be among the first living plants that sprouted from the devastation of the battlefields of northern France and Belgium. Soldiers' folklore had it that the poppies were vivid red from having been nurtured in ground drenched with the blood of their comrades.
Now each year, poppies adorn the panels of the Memorial's Roll of Honour, pushed in beside names as a small personal tribute to the memory of any one of the thousands of individuals commemorated there. This practice originates from a spontaneous gesture made by people waiting to pay their respects at the funeral of the Unknown Australian Soldier on 11 November 1993. After the main service the public were invited to file through the Hall of Memory and lay a single flower by his tomb. To do this they had to queue along the cloisters, beside the Roll of Honour, and at the end of the day hundreds of RSL poppies were found to have been pushed into the cracks between the panels.
Commemorative services and marches are held at dawn at the Shrine of Rememberance and in Victorian country towns. After the dawn service and march, the 'gunfire breakfast' recalls the 'breakfast' taken by many soldiers before facing battle.
Dawn Service is held from 6am at the Shrine of Remembrance.
There will be an Anzac Day March from 9am and a Commemorative Service 1pm
Note: ANZAC Day is a public holiday | business may not open until 1pm.
Essendon v Collingwood ANZAC Day Clash @ MCG
Most of the funds are raised through the sale of ANZAC badges. The badges are available in different denominations from $50 to $2 with the basis for the range being the ‘Rising Sun’ ANZAC Appeal brandmark.
This emblem is well known to all Australians and has been used to during the Appeal for many years. In addition to the Rising Sun, there is also the ever-popular $5 slouch hat badge.
See below for other things happening on ANZAC Day in Melbourne!
Date: Friday 25th of April 2014