25th April 2020

The ANZAC tradition, the ideals of courage, endurance and mateship that are still relevant today was established on 25 April 1915 when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula. It was the start of a campaign that lasted eight months and resulted in some 25,000 Australian casualties, including 8,700 who were killed or died of wounds or disease.

The men who served on the Gallipoli Peninsula created a legend, adding the word ‘ANZAC’ to the Australian and New Zealand vocabularies and creating the notion of “ANZAC spirit”. In 1916, the first anniversary of the landing was observed in Australia, New Zealand and England and by troops in Egypt. In that year, 25 April was officially named ‘ANZAC Day’ by the Acting Prime Minister, George Pearce.

By the 1920s, ANZAC Day ceremonies were held throughout Australia. All States had designated ANZAC Day as a public holiday (October 1925 in Victoria). Commemoration of ANZAC Day continued throughout the 1930s and 1940s with World War II veterans joining marches across the country.

In the ensuing decades veterans from the conflicts in Malaya, Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam joined the march along with those who had served with our allies and in peace keeping missions. During the 1960s and 1970s the number of people attending ANZAC Day marches decreased. However, in the 1990s there was a resurgence of interest in ANZAC Day, with attendances at marches and services, particularly by young people, increased across Australia. Many young Australians have made the pilgrimage to the Gallipoli Peninsula to attend the Dawn Service.

This resurgence has continued in the 21st century with the focus on our contemporary veterans from campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and our immediate regions.

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