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Join us online for ANZAC Day 2020


Each year on the 25th of April, Australians and New Zealanders come together to commemorate Anzac Day. Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and on this day we recognise the sacrifices that Australian and New Zealand servicemen and servicewomen have made, not only in defending their country but, in upholding our nations’ longstanding commitment to peace and security.

This year we'll be coming together in spirit as we honour our veterans and service members from home. Wherever you are, together we can keep the Anzac spirit alive by enjoying or participating in one of the many activities or resources available online. To make this easier for you, we have compiled a list of resources and a few ideas, along with a brief history lesson or two, to make your 2020 Anzac Day just as commemorative.

Commemorate with us: Livestream of Anzac services

Friday 24 April: Join us Friday 24 April 3pm (EDT) as we tune into Australia's national commemorative service live from the Australian War Memorial. You can watch the service from the Department of Veterans' Affairs Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels.

Saturday 25 April: Join the Embassy of Australia Saturday 25 April 5.45am (EDT) as we commemorate Anzac Day with a small ceremony at the Ambassador's Residence in Washington, DC. We are committed to the safety and well-being of our extended expat community, and as a result, this ceremony will be conducted via livestream as we practice social distancing. Watch the service live from our Youtube channel. After conclusion of the service we will also be posting the video to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram TV channels.

Hear a message from Ambassador Sinodinos on our Anzac Day service:


However you choose to mark the day, Australian War Memorial's #AnzacatHome website is a great resource to help you make the most of Anzac from home. AWM will be adding new content right up to Anzac Day, so be sure to check regularly!

What is ANZAC Day?

'ANZAC' stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. On the 25th of April 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. These became known as Anzacs and the pride they took in that name continues to this day. The meaning of Anzac Day today includes the remembrance of all Australians killed in military operations. 
(source: Australian Army

Why is Anzac commemorated with a dawn service?

The first commemorative event of Anzac Day is the Dawn Service at 4.30 am. This is about the time men of the Anzac approached the Gallipoli beach. However, the origin is the traditional ‘stand-to’, in which troops would be woken so that by the first rays of dawn they were in position and alert, in case of an enemy attack in the eerie half-light. It is a ritual and a moment remembered by many veterans. Commemorative services were held as early as 25 April 1916, but the term 'dawn service' is not recorded until the 1920s. The first official dawn wreath laying service was held at Sydney's Cenotaph on Anzac Day 1928. (source: Parliament of Australia)

If I'm invited to a gunfire breakfast... should I be worried?

Firstly, no. Secondly ‘gunfire’ was the name given to the breakfast taken by soldiers prior to a morning battle. Typically a gunfire breakfast consists of rum-laced coffee or tea that is served alongside the bacon and eggs. It harks back to the measure of liquid courage that was served up at the beginning of the day to help soldiers face the coming battle. Today, gunfire breakfasts are often served around Australia at Returned and Services League of Australia (RSLs) on Anzac Day to honour the tradition.  
(source: RSL Queensland

Did you know Australia has a gambling game that is legal only ONE day of the year?

Let us introduce you to two-up - a game with origins dating back to the mid-1800s. Two-up was then popular among Australian soldiers who fought in the First World War because the game does not require lots of equipment to be played. Simply two coins, one piece of wood (the kip), two players (the ringer and the spinner), and a bunch of mates to place bets. Today, two-up is illegal to play due to gambling regulations, but Australian States and Territories have relaxed legislation to allow the game to be played on one day of each year, Anzac Day.
(source: Triple J Hack)

What are the iconic symbols of Anzac Day?

Ceremonies, such as Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, include many meaningful symbols of commemoration:
Medals: Medals were awarded to sailors, soldiers, nurses and airmen for their service and bravery. Veterans often wear their medals to a commemorative event, such as an Anzac Day march. Both female and male veterans wear their medals on their left side. Widows, widowers and other relations of veterans may wear their relative's medals on the right. A veteran with medals on both sides may wear their own medals on the left and those of a relative on the right. The Victoria Cross is the highest Australian military award for bravery in battle. They create the medals from melted down cannons that Britain captured from Russia during the Crimean War. Since 1900, 100 Australians have received the Victoria Cross.

Rosemary: Rosemary is an ancient symbol of fidelity and remembrance. Since ancient times, the aromatic herb rosemary has been believed to improve your memory. Rosemary grows wild on the Gallipoli peninsula, where Australians served in World War I. Sprigs of rosemary are traditionally worn as a symbol of remembrance on Anzac Day. Here’s a good little video: 

Poppies The Flanders poppy has long been a part of Remembrance Day, the ritual that marks the Armistice of 11 November 1918, and is also increasingly being used as part of Anzac Day observances. During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium. In soldiers' folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground. 

Why are soldiers sometimes referred to as diggers?

Australian and New Zealand soldiers quickly became known as 'diggers' on Gallipoli because so much of their time was spent digging trenches. Australia's prime minister during most of World War I, Billy Hughes, was first nicknamed 'the Little Digger' in 1916.

Want more? Watch The Anzac Legend In Conversation - Professor Bruce Scates from the history department at Australian National University's project called Australian Journey, tells the story of the nation through 12 objects. This was a partnership between ANU, the National Museum and Monash University.


The Department of Veterans' Affairs have released an Anzac Day 2020 Spotify playlist. The playlist includes Australian and New Zealand National Anthems, commemorative music and hymns to make your own #AnzacatHome.

Music icon and former Australian of the Year, Lee Kernaghan, teamed up with a host of local artists and musicians to bring the song “Spirit of the Anzacs”. The song was recorded in 2015 in honour of the 100th anniversary of Anzac and pays tribute to all the men and women who have served and sacrificed on behalf of our country. The single is based on Paul Keating’s 1993 eulogy at the internment of the unknown soldier. Artists featured include Lee Kernaghan, Guy Sebastian, Jon Stevens, Jessica Mauboy, Shannon Noll and Megan Washington. Watch:

Gallipoli was not just a battle, but a monumental tale of courage, stubborn endurance and camaraderie. To mark the 2015 centenary anniversary of this historic event, Richard Tognetti, together with theatre director Neil Armfield and deviser Nigel Jamieson, created “Reflections on Gallipoli”, performed by the ACO as a National Tour. Archived footage and imagery and the spoken letters of Australian and Turkish soldiers are set to the music of Elgar, Bartók and Carl Vine, as well as traditional Turkish folk songs, performed onstage by the ACO. Watch:

Anzac like an Aussie

Bake Anzac cookies

Is there anything more Australian than a home baked Anzac biccie? It's nearly Anzac Day so it's time to start baking (and eating) an Aussie favourite! Dating back to WWI, these biscuits were said to be sent by wives to troops abroad because they’d last the distance and not spoil easily, providing a little taste of home. Here's two recipes we can vouch for:
Traditional recipe via Australian War Memorial
Modern recipe via Women's Weekly

Make a 'gunfire' breakfast

C'mon you don't need a recipe for this one, simply make your fav hot beverage - tea, coffee, milk... add rum and you're done! Oh and don't forget to cook the bacon and eggs ;)

Anzac activities for kids

Understanding Anzac  Day Years F-6: This resource for primary teachers will help you explore how we remember and understand the past through objects, stories, and ceremonies.
Understanding Gallipoli Years 5-9: a concise and useful overview of the Gallipoli campaign with activities
for students and teachers.
Making your Own Anzac Day Poppy: https://www.awm.gov.au/sites/default/files/education/programs/prepost/PRIM_makePoppy.pdf
Downloadable books, posters, and more made available free of charge for classroom and educational use from Australian War Memorial: https://www.awm.gov.au/learn/schools/publications
Anzac activity colouring sheets: http://www.supercoloring.com/coloring-pages/holidays/anzac-day
Anzac Word Puzzles for kids: http://www.anzackids.com/word.htm