Australians have gathered at moving Anzac Day dawn services across the country to pay tribute to fallen servicemen and women as a ceremony in New Zealand is kicked off with an emotional haka.
Services in every capital city kicked off a day of parades and ceremonies 108 years after the Australian and New Zealand forces landed on the shores of Gallipoli during World War I.
This year marks 50 years since the end of Australian involvement during the Vietnam War, during which more than 500 Australians died and over 3000 servicemen and women were injured.
NSW Premier Chris Minns appeared solemn as he attended a dawn service in Sydney’s Martin Place while in New Zealand students performed a haka, a ceremonial Māori war dance, at the Auckland Museum.
The students wore red poppies pinned to their school uniforms, the first flower to bloom in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium during the First World War.
Students performed the haka outside the Auckland Museum as the sun rose on Anzac Day, as tens of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders attended emotional dawn services to honour fallen servicemen and women
The students wore red poppies pinned to their school uniforms as they performed the ceremonial Māori war dance
Thousands of red poppies bloomed in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium during the First World War
Commemorations in Australia will centre on the Australian War Memorial, where Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will lead tributes during the dawn service.
It will be his first address at Anzac Day as prime minister since taking on the role last year.
‘Every Anzac Day, from the greatest memorial to the simplest cenotaph, we honour all who have served in our name, and all who serve today,’ he said.
‘It is a collective act of remembrance, reflection and gratitude – one carried out by multiple generations of Australians and devoted to multiple generations.’
The Canberra dawn service started with the sounds of a didgeridoo played by Sub-Lieutenant Jordon Bradshaw, permeating the silence in front of thousands of attendees.
Wreaths were laid in commemoration by Governor-General David Hurley and New Zealand High Commissioner Annette King.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will lead tributes during the dawn service during his first Anzac Day address in the role
Governor Margaret Beasley is seen arriving at the Anzac Day service at Sydney’s Martin Place
Dozens of colourful wreaths were placed at the Cenotaph during the dawn service at Sydney’s Martin Place
In Brisbane, Australians of all ages attended a dawn service where the Last Post will be played
A young attendee at a dawn service in Brisbane wore a poncho and appeared emotional as they paid their respects
In Australia, commemorations will centre on the Australian War Memorial, where Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will lead tributes during the dawn service
Ceremonial lanterns, which were placed in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Monday evening, were carried by veterans and serving members into the war memorial as the reveille was played by a lone bugler.
Mr Albanese said it was important to remember the contribution of defence personnel who did not make it home.
‘As we gather here, in towns and suburbs across the country, and in former battlefields across the world, we are surrounded by their names and the places that made their final claim on them, laid out in an atlas of grief,’ he said.
‘If we are to truly honour our veterans, we owe them something more than just gratitude. Just as they stepped for us, we must step up for them,’ he said.
The prime minister said it was also important to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who donned the khaki ‘fought harder for Australia than Australia was sometimes willing to fight for them’.
‘Yet we learn and we keep taking steps forward together.’
NSW Premier Chris Minns appeared solemn as he spoke at a dawn service in Sydney’s Martin Place on Tuesday morning
Premier Chris Minns posed with attendees at the Cenotaph at Sydney’s Martin Place, an empty tomb or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere
NSW Commissioner of Police Karen Webb (right) appeared moved by the emotional service
Servicemen perform for emotional onlookers during the dawn service at Sydney’s Martin Place
A man at a Brisbane dawn service held a small Australian flag as thousands gathered around the Shrine of Remembrance
At the dawn service in Sydney’s Martin Place, the sombre tune of the last post was ringing out across the darkness at 5am as silence falls over the country for one minute as the song comes to a close.
The Sydney Maori Choir, composed of New Zealanders now living in Sydney, sing a haunting rendition of the Song of Sorrow in tribute to Australian and New Zealand soldiers who have died fighting for their country.
Over 7,000 current serving members and veterans, some serving as far back as the Second World War, will begin their march from Martin Place to the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park Sydney later today.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Anzac Day was one of the most meaningful dates on the national calendar.
‘The values for which we stand are more enduring than any conflict, as long as we have – like our forebears – the courage and commitment to defend them always,’ he said.
At the Sydney dawn service, Rear Admiral Christopher Smith said it was important to acknowledge the sacrifice of servicemen and women.
“We gather today not to glorify war, but to remember ourselves, that we value who we are and the freedoms we possess,” he said.
This year’s Anzac Day march in Canberra will also mark 30 years of Australian peacekeeping efforts in Somalia.
The march will feature more than 120 veterans who served as part of Operation Solace. Among those will be Governor-General David Hurley, who commanded the 1RAR battalion group during the operation.
On the Gold Coast, Australians of all ages packed Currumbin’s foreshore to commemorate Anzac Day
Young attendees appeared solemn as they attended a service at Currumbin’s foreshore in Brisbane
Past and present servicemen were among the large crowds at a dawn service in Currumbin, on the Gold Coast
In New Zealand, thousands of Kiwis have spent their morning at dozens of dawn services, from Kaitaia in the north to Invercargill in the frosty south
The governor-general will lead the march and then serve as the reviewing officer for the troops taking part.
This year’s Anzac Day will also coincide with 50 years since the end of Australian involvement during the Vietnam War.
More than 500 Australians died during the conflict and over 3000 were injured.
Services will also take place to mark Anzac Day in France, Papua New Guinea and Turkey.
In New Zealand, thousands of Kiwis have spent their morning at dozens of dawn services, from Kaitaia in the north to Invercargill in the frosty south.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, commemorating his first Anzac Day as New Zealand’s leader, spent his morning at his local dawn service in Wellington’s north.
Mr Hipkins said he would keep his two grandfathers in his thoughts.
‘My mum’s dad was a signalman in the Air Force,’ he said.
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, who is commemorating his first Anzac Day as New Zealand’s leader, spent his morning at his local dawn service in Wellington’s north
Mr Hipkins said he would be keeping his two grandfathers in his thoughts during his first Anzac Day as New Zealand’s PM
A poppy is placed on the memorial statue during dawn service at Civic Centre in Upper Hutt, New Zealand on Tuesday
‘And my dad’s dad had a very long period away from home from Greece to Italy to J Force during the Second World War,’ he said, referencing the name given to NZ forces in occupied Japan.
‘The lifelong impact that had on both of my grandfathers is something that I’ve never underestimated.
‘I think about them on Anzac Day. I think a lot of Kiwis will feel the same.
‘They’ll be thinking about their grandparents or great grandparents and the enormous sacrifices that they made for us to enjoy the freedoms that we do on a day-to-day basis.’
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