The origins of Anzac Day

On the eve of Anzac Day, as Queenslanders prepare to attend services and parades all around our State, it is timely to reflect on the history of our commemoration of this solemn and sacred day.

On the 10th of January, 1916, a Committee was formed to coordinate commemoration of the landing at Anzac Cove, at a public meeting held in the presence of the Governor, Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams.

One year to the day after Australian troops stepped ashore at Gallipoli, on the 25th of April 1916, 6,434 servicemen paraded through the streets of Brisbane before 50,000 onlookers.

Anzac Day Procession Through The Streets Of Brisbane 1916

Image: Men, women and children line the streets to watch the procession of the 41st Battalion through Brisbane on Anzac Day1916 (courtesy of the State Library of Queensland). 

This year, the Brisbane Anzac Day Parade will once again proudly make its way through the streets of the CBD, and in line with tradition, Queensland’s current Governor, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, will read the First Resolution and review the Parade.

The Dawn Service of Remembrance, which is so central to our commemorations today, emerged in many different parts of Australia. In Queensland, the Australian War Memorial’s 'Wartime' magazine recounts the story of Anzac Day in Toowoomba in 1919. At four o’clock in the morning, Captain George Harrington placed flowers at the graves and memorials of the war dead. As Harrington and his friends drank to these men at the first light of dawn, a bugler sounded the Last Post and Reveille, and this tradition continued in the years that followed.

As the Governor attends the Dawn Service tomorrow in ANZAC Square, Brisbane, and later, as he joins veterans, and serving Defence Force personnel – and their families, for the acknowledgement and celebration of service that characterises the Anzac Day Parade, he will be honouring traditions which go back a century.

And together with his fellow Queenslanders, the Governor will honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation.