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Anzac Day in Australia

Quick Facts

ANZAC Day is the anniversary of the landing of troops from Australia and New Zealand on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey during in World War I.

Local names

NameLanguage
Anzac DayEnglish
Anzac DayGerman

Anzac Day 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Anzac Day 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015
List of dates for other years

ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is the anniversary of the landing of troops from Australia and New Zealand on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey, in World War I on April 25, 1915. The bravery of all military personnel who participated in this campaign and the lives of those who died in all military actions are remembered.

ANZAC

ANZAC Square in Brisbane, Australia, features the eternal flame and is dedicated to Australia's military heritage.

©iStockphoto.com/ scotto72

What do people do?

Many ceremonies, parades and other activities are held on ANZAC Day to remember the lives of those who participated or died in military action, particularly on the Gallipoli Peninsula in World War I. Dawn prayer or church services are a particularly important aspect of ANZAC Day. These represent the comradeship that the soldiers experienced as they rose each morning to prepare for another day of military action. After the services, gunfire breakfast (coffee with rum in it) is often served.

In major cities and many smaller towns, parades, marches and reunions of current and past military personnel and memorial services are held. The fourth stanza or verse of a well known poem, known as The Ode, is read aloud at many ceremonies. The poem is called "For The Fallen" and was written by Laurence Binyon in 1914. It commemorates those who died and can never grow old.

After the formal events, many people play games of "two-up". This is a gambling game played using two coins. This form of gambling is usually illegal in many Australian states. However, the authorities usually turn a blind eye to it on ANZAC Day.

Public Life

ANZAC Day is on April 25 and is celebrated Australia-wide. However, holiday arrangements vary in states and territories. In the Australian Capital Territory and in Western Australia, the day off for many workers and students falls on the following Monday if April 25 is on a Saturday or Sunday. In New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, and South Australia, if April 25 falls on a Sunday, the day off for many workers and students is on the following Monday. In Tasmania and Victoria, there is no day in lieu when ANZAC Day falls on a weekend (although there may be substitution arrangements in some cases).

Many remembrance ceremonies occur on April 25, regardless of the day of the week. In many areas, large retail outlets, including supermarkets, department stores and shops in designated shopping areas, are closed all day. Some small stores and those supplying building materials and motor vehicle parts and accessories are open from noon.

Many public transport systems operate a normal, weekend or reduced service depending on the location. Some public transport services do not run on ANZAC Day, while extra services may be provided around special events, such as the parades. It is wise to check the appropriate timetables carefully if you need to travel on ANZAC Day. There may be some disruption to traffic, particularly around parades and ceremonies.

It is important to note that in the year 2011, Anzac Day and Easter Monday both falls on Monday, April 25. The Council for the Australian Federation (CAF) announced that Anzac Day will be observed on Tuesday, April 26 due to this overlap with Easter Monday. However, all states and territories in Australia have their own legislation in place that designates Anzac Day as a public holiday on April 25, so there have been varied approaches to when the holidays will be observed.

The Parliament in Tasmania rejected a proposed substitute holiday for Anzac Day and Easter Monday, thus both holidays will be observed on Monday, April 25, in 2011. However, Victorians will observe Easter Monday on April 25 and will have a substitute public holiday for Anzac day on Tuesday, April 26, in 2011.

 In South Australia (SA), the Minister for Industrial Relations Paul Holloway proclaimed that Tuesday, April 26, 2011 as a special public holiday, creating an extended five-day Easter weekend. The Proclamation states that due to the dates of Easter Monday and Anzac Day both falling on April 25, Easter Monday will be observed on Tuesday, April 26, in 2011. The people of New South Wales will also observe Anzac Day on Monday, April 25, and have a substituted a public holiday for Easter Monday on Tuesday, April 26.

In Western Australia and the ACT, a special holiday was declared for Tuesday, April 26, however neither Easter Monday or Anzac Day have been substituted, because it was not considered appropriate to lessen the significance of either day by  moving the observance to some other time, so Tuesday, April 26 was simply declared to be a holiday.

The Queensland Government has appointed Tuesday, April 26 as a substitute public holiday for Easter Monday in 2011.

Background

In the early months of 1915, World War I was raging in most of Europe, including the Ottoman empire in the geographical area that is now Turkey. Russian troops were fighting on many fronts, particularly against troops from Germany and the Ottoman and Austro -Hungarian empires. At dawn on April 25, 1915, forces from France, Great Britain and the British Empire, including Australia and New Zealand, landed at a number of places on the Gallipoli peninsula. The campaign aimed to open up new fronts for the Allied forces and a trade route to Russia.

In the ensuing battle, many lives were lost on both sides and the Allied forces did not succeed in opening a trade route to Russia. The last ANZAC forces withdrew from the Gallipoli Peninsula by December 20, 1915, in a successful operation with very few casualties. In spite of their losses, the ANZAC servicemen and many Australians and New Zealanders saw this battle as the start of the ANZAC spirit. This is an Australasian ideal based on the "mateship" and cheerful suffering the forces showed during this campaign

ANZAC Day is also a public holiday and day of remembrance in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga. It is also commemorated with special services and events on or around April 25 in a range of countries across the globe. These include: the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Canada and the United States (including Hawaii).

Note: Although ANZAC Day is on April 25, some states and territories have their own holiday arrangements for this day.

Anzac Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
WedApr 251990Anzac DayNational holiday 
ThuApr 251991Anzac DayNational holiday 
SatApr 251992Anzac DayNational holiday 
SunApr 251993Anzac DayNational holiday 
MonApr 251994Anzac DayNational holiday 
TueApr 251995Anzac DayNational holiday 
ThuApr 251996Anzac DayNational holiday 
FriApr 251997Anzac DayNational holiday 
SatApr 251998Anzac DayNational holiday 
SunApr 251999Anzac DayNational holiday 
TueApr 252000Anzac DayNational holiday 
WedApr 252001Anzac DayNational holiday 
ThuApr 252002Anzac DayNational holiday 
FriApr 252003Anzac DayNational holiday 
SunApr 252004Anzac DayNational holiday 
MonApr 252005Anzac DayNational holiday 
TueApr 252006Anzac DayNational holiday 
WedApr 252007Anzac DayNational holiday 
FriApr 252008Anzac DayNational holiday 
SatApr 252009Anzac DayNational holiday 
SunApr 252010Anzac DayNational holiday 
MonApr 252011Anzac DayNational holiday 
WedApr 252012Anzac DayNational holiday 
ThuApr 252013Anzac DayNational holiday 
FriApr 252014Anzac DayNational holiday 
SatApr 252015Anzac DayNational holiday 
MonApr 252016Anzac DayNational holiday 
TueApr 252017Anzac DayNational holiday 
WedApr 252018Anzac DayNational holiday 
ThuApr 252019Anzac DayNational holiday 
SatApr 252020Anzac DayNational holiday 

Other holidays in April 2014 in Australia

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