Moving scenes across Australia as millions of Aussies flock to Anzac Day dawn services across the nation to remember our diggers – after Covid prevented most ceremonies and marches previously
Millions of Australians have gathered at Anzac Day dawn services across the country to pay tribute to servicemen and women.
The moving ceremonies kick off a day of commemorations 107 years after the Australian and New Zealand forces landed on the shores of Gallipoli during World War 1.
Australians gathered at Currumbin on the Gold Coast, Martin Place in Sydney, Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance and the Australian War Memorial in Canberra starting at 4.30am, long before the 6.25am sunrise.
This year sees the return of full scale Anzac Day commemorations since 2019 in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions in recent years.
The Last Post is played in Sydney’s Martin Place, where thousands gathered for the Anzac Day dawn service
Melburnians braved chilly conditions at the Shrine of Remembrance at Monday’s service
Across the Tasman, thousands of Kiwis joined New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for a service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Gallipoli has also welcomed back thousands of Australians and Kiwis for the first time since 2019.
In Melbourne, crowds braved the chilly conditions to pay their respects to the fallen at the Shrine of Remembrance.
RSL Victoria state president Robert Webster expected numbers to be slightly down on pre-pandemic crowds due to the long weekend and school holidays.
‘But one of the messages that we’ve been giving to the broader community is that we’ve got 270-odd sub-branches across the state, most of whom will be running a dawn service or a local march,’ he told AAP.
‘So go local.’
Dr Webster said Covid restrictions in recent years was hard on veterans who see Anzac Day as a time to reflect and catch up with mates.
Big crowds are expected at Anzac Day marches will be held in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra later on Monday morning.
Governor-General David Hurley will deliver an address to the nation from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra following the march.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of Anzac Day commemorations at the memorial.
Monday is the first Anzac Day since forces withdrew from Afghanistan, where 41 Australians died in service.
Veterans’ Affairs Minister Andrew Gee said the number of lives saved and terrorist attacks prevented by Australian defence personnel could never be known.
But what is known is that they improved medical services, built critical infrastructure and helped a generation of women and girls access education and build careers.
‘The men and women who’ve served our nation through the generations have never asked for much in return,’ Mr Gee said.
‘In the end it comes down to one thing: that we never forget what they have done for us. That we keep their memory alive in our hearts and in the consciousness of our nation.
‘That sacred duty of remembrance currently rests with our generation and it is a commitment that we will in turn pass onto the next.’
Anzac Day commemorations are back to full capacity for the first time in three years
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led the the country’s Anzac Day commemorations at the Auckland War Memorial Museum
Federal election campaigning will take a back seat to Anzac Day commemorations.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor deputy leader Richard Marles will be in Darwin for services, as Labor leader Anthony Albanese remains in isolation at his Sydney home as he recovers from COVID-19.
Overseas, Anzac services will take place in Turkey, France, Thailand, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.
‘No matter how you mark Anzac Day this year – at a dawn service, at your own home, at your local RSL, or watching the national service on television – I encourage all Australians to pause and reflect on all those who have served, and those who continue to serve,’ Mr Gee said