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Three red poppies with the wording ‘Anzac Day’ are centred on a green background.

Joe Salutes the Troops this Anzac Day

As all Australians and New Zealanders know, Anzac Day is the 25th of April, providing us with a chance to commemorate and respect all those who have put their lives on the line for their country, whether in conflict or carrying out peacekeeping duties. I have pulled the following together to salute our troops and perhaps give you a few ideas on how to plan your day and what you might do to show your respects.


Anzac Day is a commemoration for the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops in Gallipoli, Turkey on the 25th of April 1915, during World War 1. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, these diggers or soldiers were known as Anzacs. For the next 8 months the Anzacs, in supporting the Allied Forces, suffered significant casualties and loss of lives, this had an enormous impact on Australians and New Zealanders back home where the population was far smaller, so the impact of the losses was profound.

Since then, the date has become one to remember not just those involved in that conflict but all others where servicemen and servicewomen who represent their countries put their lives on the line. The ceremonies and their meanings have evolved since 1915 but one that came about somewhat spontaneously through the actions of everyday Australians was attending a dawn service.

A silhouette of an Australian service personnel with head bowed is centred. Red poppies also feature on a dark background.

Dawn Services

Dawn services started out as being simple and short and tended to be limited to just veterans who were able to reflect and remember comrades who they had fought with or had developed a strong bond with. The first dawn service is recorded to have been held on the 25th April 1916 on the Western Front by an Australian battalion to mark the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.

As the service developed it was set out that before dawn army veterans would be instructed to stand-to, when a bugler would then play the Last Post. Thereafter two minutes of silence would follow and be respected by all in attendance. To finish the Reveille is then played, this tends to be mainly used to wake up military personnel at sunrise but in this instance it brings the silence to its conclusion.

There is no set format to ceremonies and around the country some are conducted by means of a more extensive service which includes prayers, hymns, the laying of wreaths and readings as well as the playing of the Australian or New Zealand national anthem. Others have remained stoic and simple in the format of the dawn stand-to. You are also likely to hear in most ceremonies the reading of the fourth stanza from the Laurence Binyon poem, For the Fallen, known as The Ode.

Whilst most of the coverage and focus in Australia tends to be on the ceremony at the War Memorial in Canberra, there are many dawn services and marches around the country which are attended in ever-increasing numbers.


Anzac Day Marches

Marches around Australia take place and are carried out by veterans of past conflicts along with those currently serving in the Australian Defence Force and Reserves. Also, on the marches there are allied veterans, members of Scouts and Guides Australia and the Australian Defence Force Cadets and Australian Air League.

The Anzac Day Marches in each state capital are shown live on TV, these are then usually followed by more informal events that veterans and current service personnel attend. They tend to be held in pubs and most often in RSL clubs and as many of you will be aware will likely feature a few games of Two-Up.

Two Australian pennies are centred, one displaying the ‘heads’ side up and the other displaying ‘tails’ side up. On a yellow background.


The game was originally, and still is, played with Aussie pennies as their size and weight are perfect for the game as the coins need to be stable on the wood, known as a kip, from which they are easy to spin in the air. They also make it simple to see the result very quickly so that bets can be settled as soon as possible. Nowadays the pennies used in the game tend to be marked with a clear and obvious white cross on the tails side.

Two-Up is a traditional Aussie gambling game that features an appointed spinner chucking two coins up into the air. Punters then bet whether the coins will land with both heads up, both tails up, or with one head and one tail. The game is legalised one day per year and continues to be played in pubs and clubs across Australia on Anzac Day to show respect and to engage with an experience the diggers had many years ago.


Public Holiday

Anzac Day is a public holiday in Australia, New Zealand, and Tonga. In Australia this year as the day falls on a Friday it is a day off work for most allowing us all to pay our respects however we deem fitting – be mindful in certain states local restricted trading hours are implemented so it is worth checking this out earlier in the week.


Sporting Events

In the AFL there are 2 matches on Anzac Day this year, GWS plays Brisbane in the evening, but it is the traditional game at the MCG which is the focus for the day. Played between fierce rivals Collingwood and Essendon, this has become one of the biggest domestic annual sporting events. The match celebrates the Anzac spirit of courage, sacrifice, endurance and of course mate-ship and fittingly pays tribute to the sacrifice of the servicemen and servicewomen of Australia and New Zealand.

This year there are 3 NRL matches on Anzac Day as the Warriors take on the Titans, and Melbourne plays South Sydney. But it is the annual match at the SCG which focuses on paying tribute to the Anzacs as rivals Sydney Roosters and St. George Illawarra Dragons battle it out each year to commemorate the day with the victors claiming the ANZAC Day Cup.

To all serving men and women, Joe Fortune and his online casino salute you!