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Anzac Day 2023: Aussies flock to dawn services to remember fallen diggers of World War 1

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Australians have gathered at moving Anzac Day dawn services across the country to pay tribute to fallen servicemen and women as a ceremony in New Zealand is kicked off with an emotional haka.

Events have been held in major cities, suburban centres and country towns honouring men and women who served in past conflicts and those serving today.

At the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese led tributes on the 108th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings during World War I.

Around 8,700 Australians died during the 1915 Gallipoli campaign, where 75,000 Anzac troops fought in perilous conditions for eight months, in a battle that has defined Australia’s national identity. 

A schoolgirl is pictured at the Anzac Day Dawn Service, Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast

A schoolgirl is pictured at the Anzac Day Dawn Service, Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast

A veteran (pictured centre) is overcome with emotion at the Anzac Day Dawn Service, Currumbin Beach, Queensland

A veteran (pictured centre) is overcome with emotion at the Anzac Day Dawn Service, Currumbin Beach, Queensland

Students performed the haka outside the Auckland Museum as the sun rose on Anzac Day, as tens of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders attended emotional dawn services to honour fallen servicemen and women

Students performed the haka outside the Auckland Museum as the sun rose on Anzac Day, as tens of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders attended emotional dawn services to honour fallen servicemen and women

The students wore red poppies pinned to their school uniforms as they performed the ceremonial Māori war dance outside the Auckland Museum

The students wore red poppies pinned to their school uniforms as they performed the ceremonial Māori war dance outside the Auckland Museum

Thousands of red poppies bloomed in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium during the First World War

Thousands of red poppies bloomed in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium during the First World War

‘Every Anzac Day, from the greatest memorial to the simplest cenotaph, we honour all who have served in our name, and all who serve today,’ he said.

‘It is a collective act of remembrance, reflection and gratitude – one carried out by multiple generations of Australians and devoted to multiple generations.’

Mr Albanese said it was important to remember the contribution of defence personnel who did not make it home.

‘As we gather here, in towns and suburbs across the country, and in former battlefields across the world, we are surrounded by their names and the places that made their final claim on them, laid out in an atlas of grief,’ he said.

‘If we are to truly honour our veterans, we owe them something more than just gratitude. Just as they stepped up for us, we must step up for them,’ he said.

The prime minister said it was also important to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who donned the khaki and ‘fought harder for Australia than Australia was sometimes willing to fight for them’.

‘Yet we learn and we keep taking steps forward together,’ he said. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) lead tributes to Australia and New Zealand's fallen diggers  during his first Anzac Day address in the role

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) lead tributes to Australia and New Zealand’s fallen diggers  during his first Anzac Day address in the role

A bugler plays the Last Post at the Stone of Remembrance during commemorations at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra

A bugler plays the Last Post at the Stone of Remembrance during commemorations at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra

Governor Margaret Beasley is seen arriving at the Anzac Day service at Sydney's Martin Place

Governor Margaret Beasley is seen arriving at the Anzac Day service at Sydney’s Martin Place 

A young attendee at a dawn service in Brisbane appeared emotional during the ceremony

A young attendee at a dawn service in Brisbane appeared emotional during the ceremony

In Canberra, the service began with the sounds of a didgeridoo played by Sub-Lieutenant Jordon Bradshaw, permeating the silence in front of thousands of attendees.

Wreaths were laid in commemoration by Governor-General David Hurley and New Zealand High Commissioner Annette King.

Ceremonial lanterns, which were placed in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Monday evening, were carried by veterans and serving members into the War Memorial as the reveille was played by a lone bugler. 

The Anzac Day march will also mark three decades of peacekeeping efforts in Somalia, featuring 120 veterans who served as part of Operation Solace. 

The march will include the governor-general, who commanded the 1RAR battalion, and feature more than 1,000 veterans. 

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Anzac Day was one of the most meaningful dates on the national calendar.

‘The values for which we stand are more enduring than any conflict, as long as we have the courage and commitment to defend them always,’ he said.

NSW Premier Chris Minns appeared solemn as he spoke at a dawn service in Sydney's Martin Place on Tuesday morning

NSW Premier Chris Minns appeared solemn as he spoke at a dawn service in Sydney’s Martin Place on Tuesday morning

Premier Chris Minns posed with attendees at the Cenotaph at Sydney's Martin Place, which was erected in honour of the servicemen and servicewomen whose remains are elsewhere

Premier Chris Minns posed with attendees at the Cenotaph at Sydney’s Martin Place, which was erected in honour of the servicemen and servicewomen whose remains are elsewhere

Dozens of colourful wreaths were laid at the base of the Cenotaph in Sydney's Martin Place

Dozens of colourful wreaths were laid at the base of the Cenotaph in Sydney’s Martin Place

NSW Commissioner of Police Karen Webb (right) appeared moved by the emotional service

NSW Commissioner of Police Karen Webb (right) appeared moved by the emotional service

Servicemen perform for emotional onlookers during the dawn service at Sydney's Martin Place

Servicemen perform for emotional onlookers during the dawn service at Sydney’s Martin Place

At Sydney’s Martin Place, NSW Premier Chris Minns spoke at his first service after being elected before attending a service at an RSL in his electorate of Kogarah.

Dozens of colourful wreaths were laid at the base of the Cenotaph, a monument erected in honour of the servicemen and servicewomen whose remains are elsewhere. 

Up to 7,000 current serving members and veterans will march from Martin Place to the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park.  

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service people will be recognised at the Coloured Digger March in Redfern later on Tuesday. 

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her partner Dr Reza Adib pay their respects during an Anzac Day dawn ceremony in Brisbane

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her partner Dr Reza Adib pay their respects during an Anzac Day dawn ceremony in Brisbane

Veterans are seen at Elephant Rock during the Anzac Day dawn service at Currumbin on the Gold Coast, Queensland

Veterans are seen at Elephant Rock during the Anzac Day dawn service at Currumbin on the Gold Coast, Queensland

People lay poppies at a service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne

People lay poppies at a service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne

Veterans and attendees waved Australian flags during the dawn service in Currumbin

Veterans and attendees waved Australian flags during the dawn service in Currumbin

Young service people attend the service at Currumbin, to honour the fallen diggers

Young service people attend the service at Currumbin, to honour the fallen diggers

Tens of thousands gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance during the Anzac Day dawn service in Melbourne

Tens of thousands gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance during the Anzac Day dawn service in Melbourne

Lance Corporal A.Davis is seen standing on the steps of the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Tuesday morning

Lance Corporal A.Davis is seen standing on the steps of the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Tuesday morning

Dignitaries walk up the steps of the Shrine of Remembrance during Melbourne's dawn service

Dignitaries walk up the steps of the Shrine of Remembrance during Melbourne’s dawn service

Spectators can head into Elizabeth Street in Sydney to pay tribute to servicemen and their families as they make their way through the CBD alongside marching bands and bagpipes. 

Rear Admiral Christopher Smith said it was important to acknowledge the sacrifice of servicemen and women.

‘We gather today not to glorify war, but to remember ourselves, that we value who we are and the freedoms we possess,’ he said.

The march will feature more than 120 veterans who served as part of Operation Solace. Among those will be Governor-General David Hurley, who commanded the 1RAR battalion group during the operation.

Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria James Angus highlighted the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War at Melbourne’s dawn service.

‘Every Anzac Day is both historic and tragic. Historic because each anniversary marks another war, another battle. Tragic because of the terrible price paid by young Australians,’ he said.

Australians of all ages packed Currumbin's foreshore to commemorate Anzac Day on the Gold Coast

Australians of all ages packed Currumbin’s foreshore to commemorate Anzac Day on the Gold Coast

In Australia, commemorations will centre on the Australian War Memorial, where Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will lead tributes during the dawn service

In Australia, commemorations will centre on the Australian War Memorial, where Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will lead tributes during the dawn service

Young attendees were sombre as they attended a service at Currumbin's foreshore in Queensland

Young attendees were sombre as they attended a service at Currumbin’s foreshore in Queensland

Past and present servicemen were among the large crowds at a dawn service in Currumbin

Past and present servicemen were among the large crowds at a dawn service in Currumbin

A man at a Brisbane dawn service held a small Australian flag as thousands gathered around Anzac  Square

A man at a Brisbane dawn service held a small Australian flag as thousands gathered around Anzac  Square

Club members hold oars for a symbolic burial at sea during the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Currumbin, Gold Coast

Club members hold oars for a symbolic burial at sea during the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Currumbin, Gold Coast

In New Zealand, thousands of Kiwis spent their morning at dozens of dawn services, from Kaitaia in the north to Invercargill in the frosty south

In New Zealand, thousands of Kiwis spent their morning at dozens of dawn services, from Kaitaia in the north to Invercargill in the frosty south

This year’s Anzac Day will also coincide with 50 years since the end of Australian involvement during the Vietnam War.

More than 500 Australians died during the conflict and over 3,000 were injured. 

Services will also take place to mark Anzac Day in France, Papua New Guinea and Turkey.

In New Zealand, thousands of Kiwis have spent their morning at dozens of dawn services, from Kaitaia in the north to Invercargill in the frosty south.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, commemorating his first Anzac Day as New Zealand’s leader, spent his morning at his local dawn service in Wellington’s north.

Mr Hipkins said he would keep his two grandfathers in his thoughts.

‘My mum’s dad was a signalman in the Air Force,’ he said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, who is commemorating his first Anzac Day as New Zealand's leader, spent his morning at his local dawn service in Wellington's north

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, who is commemorating his first Anzac Day as New Zealand’s leader, spent his morning at his local dawn service in Wellington’s north

Mr Hipkins said he would be keeping his two grandfathers in his thoughts on Tuesday

Mr Hipkins said he would be keeping his two grandfathers in his thoughts on Tuesday

A poppy is placed on the memorial statue during dawn service at Civic Centre in Upper Hutt, New Zealand on Tuesday

A poppy is placed on the memorial statue during dawn service at Civic Centre in Upper Hutt, New Zealand on Tuesday

‘And my dad’s dad had a very long period away from home from Greece to Italy to J Force during the Second World War,’ he said, referencing the name given to NZ forces in occupied Japan.

‘The lifelong impact that had on both of my grandfathers is something that I’ve never underestimated.

‘I think about them on Anzac Day. I think a lot of Kiwis will feel the same.

‘They’ll be thinking about their grandparents or great grandparents and the enormous sacrifices that they made for us to enjoy the freedoms that we do on a day-to-day basis.’

Services will also take place to mark Anzac Day in France, Papua New Guinea and Turkey.

A veteran is pictured at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast

A veteran is pictured at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast

A member of the Veterans Australia motorcycle club is pictured at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast

A member of the Veterans Australia motorcycle club is pictured at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast

A veteran waves the Australian flag at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast

A veteran waves the Australian flag at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast

A man and woman are pictured attending the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Currumbin Beach on the Gold Coast

A man and woman are pictured attending the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Currumbin Beach on the Gold Coast

A veteran displays his medals at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast

A veteran displays his medals at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast

A woman with two dogs contemplates the moment at the Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast Anzac Day Dawn Service

A woman with two dogs contemplates the moment at the Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast Anzac Day Dawn Service 

Two veterans are pictured comforting each other at a Dawn Service on the Gold Coast

Two veterans are pictured comforting each other at a Dawn Service on the Gold Coast

First responders are pictured paying their respects at the Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast Dawn Service on Anzac Day

First responders are pictured paying their respects at the Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast Dawn Service on Anzac Day

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