How the nation commemorated Anzac Day

Commemorative events have been held around the country to mark Anzac Day, 101 years on from the landing of Australian and New Zealand forces in what is now Turkey.

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The Gallipoli campaign was launched to help British forces capture a strategic location in the Allies’ fight against the Ottoman Empire in the Great War.

The ceremonies remember the deaths of tens of thousands of Australian soldiers in the First World War, and other wars since.

The Prime Minister delivered the commemorative address to those gathered at the annual Anzac Day service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Malcolm Turnbull said Anzac Day is a time Australians choose a symbol of hope, rather than a reminder of despair.

But he also remembered the many young Australian lives lost in the First World War.

“Australia’s loss of over 60,000 dead is a staggering toll, even today. But we were a nation of five million. It would be like our nation losing 300,000 lives in a war today. Australia was a nation in shock in deep mourning but still resolved to keep fighting until the war was won and so it was.”

Mr Turnbull then turned his attention to more recent conflicts where Australians are involved, starting with Afghanistan.

“More than 25,000 Australians have served there since 2001. 41 Australians have died on active service and more than 260 have been wounded. Our forces in Iraq and the Gulf have been the second-largest Allied military commitment in the war against the terrorists Daesh. The war against terrorism is fought in every dimension, but the single most important priority is to defeat Daesh in the field in Syria and Iraq.”

Earlier in the day, tens of thousands of people Australia-wide attended dawn services.

Melbournians congregated at the Shrine of Remembrance.

More than 50,000 people are estimated to have been in Canberra alone, where a dawn service was also held to remember the Indigenous people who have served in Australian forces over the years.

Jason Orchid’s father fought in the Vietnam War.

“Because of his bush craft, dad would often lead the patrols. One of dad’s men told us many years later that he was able to pick the smallest sign of enemy activity with his innate activity of not looking at, but through the bush.”

The thousands at Sydney’s Martin Place heard Commander Forces Command Major General Peter “Gus” Gilmore issue a pledge for the future.

“I have no doubt that we carry their torch high. On this day 101 years since our Anzacs first strode ashore on Gallipoli, and everyday in the the future we should each commit ourselves to work together in their memory to leave a better Australia for our nation’s tomorrow. In this way, we will remember them. Lest we forget. “

Activists, meanwhile, have used Anzac Day to call for recognition of what are known as the Frontier Wars, the name given to battles between British colonisers and Aboriginal groups during the first European settlement.

In Canberra, Laurence ‘Sprocket’ Coghlan joined others in laying a wreath at the Australian War Memorial.

“So many people do not realise that the land they walk upon was once farmed and belonged to other people who were here. And that many of the unknown massacres and all that of areas are not known by the very people of that area. So, we’re hoping to open up a concourse of talking with the War Memorial to identify these massacre sites and to be able to put plaques in the area and memorial stuff as remembrance for our war dead – for the people who fought for our land, our water and our resources.”