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ANZAC Day in Australia

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.

Is ANZAC Day a Public Holiday?

ANZAC Day is a public holiday in 12 territories, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

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

©iStockphoto.com/ scotto72

Celebrate ANZAC Day

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.

Public Life

ANZAC Day is on April 25 and it is celebrated Australia-wide. However, holiday arrangements vary in states and territories.

If April 25 is on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday is a day off for the general population in Western Australia. In the Australian Capital Territory, only public servants, including school teachers, get the day off. This excludes those employed by the federal government.

In the Northern Territory, the Monday following ANZAC Day is a non-working day only if April 25 falls on a Sunday.

In the rest of Australia, there is no day in lieu when ANZAC Day falls on a weekend, although there may be substitution arrangements in some cases. Even where Monday is a public holiday if ANZAC Day falls on a weekend day, remembrance ceremonies usually 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 on ANZAC Day or the public holiday associated with it. Some small stores and those supplying building materials and motor vehicle parts and accessories are open from noon.

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.

About ANZAC Day

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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2015SatApr 25ANZAC DayNational HolidayAll except WA
2015MonApr 27ANZAC DayNational HolidayWestern Australia
2016MonApr 25ANZAC DayNational HolidayAll
2017TueApr 25ANZAC DayNational HolidayAll
2018WedApr 25ANZAC DayNational HolidayAll
2019ThuApr 25ANZAC DayNational HolidayAll
2020SatApr 25ANZAC DayNational HolidayAll except WA
2020MonApr 27ANZAC DayNational HolidayWestern Australia
2021SunApr 25ANZAC DayNational HolidayAll except NT, WA
2021MonApr 26ANZAC DayNational HolidayNorthern Territory, Western Australia
2022MonApr 25ANZAC DayNational HolidayAll
2023TueApr 25ANZAC DayNational HolidayAll
2024ThuApr 25ANZAC DayNational HolidayAll
2025FriApr 25ANZAC DayNational HolidayAll

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