On the 25th of April each year Australia holds solemn Anzac Day ceremonies of remembrance, gratitude and national pride for all our men and women who have fought and died in wars.
The acronym ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The name was first used about soldiers who landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey on April 25th, 1915 during the First World War (1914 -1918).
The ANZACs established the Australian national identity. For our fledgling nation the first supreme test of courage in battle was at Gallipoli.
The all volunteer ANZACs were in Gallipoli for only 8 months. (Gallipoli is not a city, but refers to an area called the Gallipoli Peninsula, very near the famous ancient city of Troy.) During the campaign 7,600 Australians and nearly 2,500 New Zealanders died and 19,000 Australians and 5,000 New Zealanders were wounded. Less than 100 were taken prisoner.
Last Surviving ANZACs
Ted Matthews is the last surviving ANZAC from the first landing at Anzac Cove in the Gallipoli Campaign. He was 18 years old when he went ashore on 25 April 1915 in the first Gallipoli landing. He one of the last to leave when the eight month campaign was aborted. Ted Matthews died in 1997 at the age of 101.
Alec Campbell is the last surviving ANZAC in the Gallipoli Campaign. He landed at Anzac Cove in early November 1915, some 7 months after the original ANZAC landing. Ted died in 2002 at the age of 103.
More information and a video about the ANZACs in our Flashback Blog.
Anzac Day Dawn Service
Since the first dawn service on Anzac Day in 1923, many speeches have been given recalling the valour, resourcefulness, comradeship and endurance of our brave men.
“That is surely at the heart of the Anzac story, the Australian legend
which emerged from the war. It is a legend not of sweeping military
victories so much as triumphs against the odds, of courage and
ingenuity in adversity. It is a legend of free and independent spirits
whose discipline derived less from military formalities and customs
than from the bonds of mateship and the demands of necessity.”
Former Prime Minister of Australia, the Honorable Mr. Paul Keating, at the Entombment of the Unknown Soldier at Australian War Memorial 1993.
See also our
Lest We Forget cards
The ANZAC Memorial at ANZAC Cove
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…
You are now living in the soil of a friendly country
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries…
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom,
And are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have
Become our sons as well.
Kemal Ataturk, the Commander of the Turkish 19th Division during the Gallipoli Campaign and the first President of the Turkish Republic. His words are engraved on the monument at Anzac Cove.
Also on our website
Please see our Australian Military page
for links to Anzac sites, Australian war
graves, memorials and museums.