Australia has many remarkable entries in history. One of the most important dates relating to the fabric of our culture is Anzac Day, and it’s a significant date for respect and remembrance across Australia and New Zealand.
ANZAC literally means - Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. But more than the words, it’s a very special day for both countries. Celebrated on the 25th of April every year, its origin dates back to 1915, when the two great nations joined forces on their first major military operation in the Gallipoli Peninsula. A year later, the tradition to celebrate it began and the rest is history.
An important part of the Anzac Day celebration that’s hard to miss is the Dawn Service. Dawn is significant – back in World War I, when soldiers were on the frontline, the half-light of dawn was considered by many to be one of the best times to attack the enemy. Soldiers were woken in the dark and told to get ready to attack. This was - and still is - referred to as a ‘stand-to’.
After the First World War ended, returned soldiers became sentimental about early morning moments, and began using the dawn as a time to reflect on the commitment, comradeship and fierce national pride that centred around being an ANZAC.
Anzac Day is a time of national significance, and if you’re not already planning to make it to a Dawn Service on Anzac Day in 2022, now’s the time to start planning. A key reason why it’s important to be present is that - unfortunately - attendance at dawn services has fallen by around 70% between 2015 and 2019, and undoubtedly COVID will have eroded the numbers even further. The main cause behind the sharp decline is the fading relevance of past wars to younger, more diverse demographics. But with the devastating Russian invasion of Ukraine front and centre in all of our minds, let’s hope this Anzac Day sees a resurgence in people wanting to remember, reflect and support not only our own armed forces, but all people who are fighting in global conflicts.
Dawn services across the country
No matter where you live, there will be a dawn service somewhere close by. The Anzac Day dawn service at Currumbin Beach’s Elephant Rock on the Gold Coast has become one of the most watched in the country, reaching around 13 million people nationally. If you’ve never made it to this highly moving ceremony, this is the place to be. The pre-dawn is eerie, emotionally charged and extremely poignant.
Like many other cities in Australia, Sydney celebrates Anzac Day to pay tribute to all of our veterans who served their country as part of the military forces over the years. While there are many locations across Sydney, the ANZAC Day commemoration at The Cenotaph in Martin Place in the heart of the city begins at 4:30am. The dawn service is followed by a march to the Liverpool Street end of Hyde Park.
If you’re looking for something unique in Sydney, a special commemorative service will be held at the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, where you’ll hear the haunting notes of the Last Post echo over the city.
In Melbourne, head to the Shrine of Remembrance, where, from 4:30am, representatives of the armed forces will read excerpts from letters and diaries of Australians who have experienced war first-hand. The ceremony will include the laying of wreaths on behalf of Australia and NZ, recognising the unity of ANZAC.
There’s no better way to celebrate Anzac Day in Adelaide than at the National War Memorial, where thousands are expected to gather for the 6:00am service. In Perth, the State War Memorial is expected to welcome around 40,000 people and is home to a number of wreath-laying ceremonies.
The nation’s capital will host its’ Dawn Service from 4:30am and will include a special commemorative ceremony after the Dawn Service, honouring the Indigenous Australian’s who have served in the Armed Forces.
If you’re in Darwin, head to The Cenotaph for the 6:00am service, and in Hobart more than 5,000 people are anticipated to attend the 6:00am service at The Cenotaph in Queens Domain.
Anzac Day in Gallipoli
Every Australian should experience Anzac Day in Gallipoli at least once in a lifetime. You’ll need to register to attend, and it’s advisable to use the services of a tour company to ensure you get the most out of this unforgettable experience. Most operators will include not only the Dawn Service but also guided tours of Anzac Cove, North Beach, Lone Pine, and the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Light up the Dawn
If you prefer to stay at home this coming Anzac Day, you can still join the Dawn Service from your driveway, balcony, or living room. The Returned and Services League (RSL) helped initiate the Light up the Dawn project, which originated in Australian communities in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.
It proved to be so successful, that they will be doing it again this year. It’s an observation of the Dawn Service that you shouldn’t miss. As soon as the sun peeks from the horizon, the country will stand in unison (pajama’s and medals optional) to let all veterans know that their contributions are valued and remembered.
Don’t miss the Dawn Service!
There are many reasons why you should make it to the Dawn Service, not the least of which is to show respect for the courage of those who serve or have served in the armed forces. And, if you need some additional funds to get to the service of your choice, we’re here to help. Just take a look at our cash loans from $500 to find out how quick and easy it is to get your hands on some extra funds. Once a loan is approved, the cash is usually in your bank account within a few hours – so you can go ahead and join your preferred Dawn Service - wherever it may be.