The landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 by Australian and New Zealand soldiers established a tradition and a reputation for these young nations. These soldiers were organised into units as part of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).
The Gallipoli campaign cost more than 26,000 Australian casualties, including more that 8,000 deaths. The public’s demand for the recognition of this sacrifice lead to the creation of the ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland. The first observance of the sacrifices made by Queensland's sons came to fruition on 25 April 1916 with morning church services, a combined veterans and military parade and evening gatherings around 9 pm, at which time the whole State paused for one minute's sacred silence.
Through the ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee's encouragement, other commemorations were held throughout Australia and New Zealand and in London. By the late 1920s, ANZAC Day was a public holiday in every state and territory.
ANZAC Day Dawn Service
At 4.28 am 25 April 1915, Queenslanders from the 9th Battalion Australian Imperial Force (AIF), as part of the 3rd Brigade covering force, were the first to land at Gallipoli. It is for this reason that the first commemorative event of ANZAC Day, the dawn service, commences at 4.28 am in Brisbane. Dawn also holds significance for servicemen who as part of their operational routine would wake a half hour before dawn to “stand to” in preparation for any possible enemy attack. The Australian Army today still conducts this procedure of “stand to” at dawn and dusk. This is a ritual remembered by many veterans.
ANZAC Day March
In all communities, the march has long been the centrepiece of ANZAC Day. Marches were held during the Great War and were continued by veterans in the 1920s, to honour lost friends and publicly express comradeship. Today the RSL organises the marches. While it was traditionally for veterans who saw active service, it was later relaxed to include those who served in Australia in the armed services or ‘land armies’, during the Second World War. Now participants in all wars and members of the Australian Defence Force are included in the march. It has been relaxed further, with some encouragement or acceptance of children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren marching, to assist aged veterans or to represent those no longer with us.
Timings for many community ANZAC Day marches are published on the RSL Queensland Branch website.
The Great War, now known as the First World War (1914-1918), ended with an armistice. The cessation of hostilities became effective at 11am on the 11 November 1918. The cease-fire was made permanent in 1919 when members of the British Commonwealth and the League of Nations signed the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919. This was exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, one of the events that triggered the start of the war.
In Australia and other allied countries, including New Zealand, Canada and the United States, 11 November became known as Armistice Day - a day to remember those who died in World War I. The day continues to be commemorated in Allied countries.
After the Second World War, the Australian Government agreed to the United Kingdom's proposal that Armistice Day be renamed Remembrance Day to commemorate those who were killed in both World Wars. Today the loss of Australian lives from all wars and conflicts is commemorated on Remembrance Day.
In October 1997 the then Governor-General issued a Proclamation declaring 11 November as Remembrance Day—a day to remember the sacrifice of those who have died for Australia in wars and conflicts.