Anzac Events in Australia and New Zealand

Chris Grad - May 26, 2014
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The First World War was one of the most important conflicts of the 20th century and had a profound and lasting impact on New Zealand and Australia. The increasing turnout at Anzac Day ceremonials (Anzac standing for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) in both countries reveals an ongoing interest in its significance.

The New Zealand Government has established the WW100 centenary programme to commemorate the First World War centenary between 2014 and 2018. The programme will give all New Zealand citizens the opportunity to remember how the war distressed the country. The minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage Hon Christopher Finlayson is in charge of the First World War Centenary Programme (WW100).

In Australia, the occasion is referred to as Anzac Centenary, which remembers and commemorates those who lost their lives during the four years. The committees that are planning the occasion include the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board and the National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary. The government has also made provisions for $83.5M for a 7 year programme that will involve commemorative events in Australia and abroad, informative activities and resources, and renovations of galleries and war graves.

For New Zealand citizens, the centenary commemorations will not only honor those who went into battle, but will also express the stories of people who stayed at home. 17M dollars in lottery finance has been assigned by the Lottery Grants Board to celebrate the WW1 Centenary. Whether you think about the nature of the battle, visit a memorial or remember family members who took part, it signifies a chance to understand the history and how it still influences the citizens today.

Below are some of the major events that will be held to commemorate the centenary.

There is a New Zealand’s National War Memorial located at Dominion Museum building in Wellington on Buckle Street. The Memorial commemorates all citizens of New Zealand who lost their lives in the South African War, two World Wars, and the battles in Vietnam and Malaysia and on peace-maintenance operations worldwide. For an entrance, the Memorial's Hall of Memories is at present closed due to earthquake strengthening work on the building, but it will open soon. The Memorial’s renovation programme will go on throughout the year, and it is recommended that visitors make inquiries to ensure the memorial is open for visit. However, it is usual for the Memorial to be open during weekend.

The New Zealand’s 13th yearly symposium of the costume and textile association venue will be at Auckland War Memorial Museum, 30 to 31 May 2014 with the topic being 'Home Front.' This term was used during the First World War as an unofficial term for the civilian residents of a nation at war working as an active defense system for their military. Even though this term normally implies to the production and supply of war equipment, it also involves the provision of food parcels and warm clothing sent to their men from women at the front. It also includes the attempts of the local population drained from manpower to supply the nation with important goods and food.

In Australia the Reserve Forces Day Wreath Laying ceremony will be celebrated at 28 Jun 2014. The annual wreath laying ceremony gathers ex-servicewomen and men, friends and families to commemorate the service and sacrifice of everyone who took part in Bomber Command. As a public wreath laying ceremony, each visitor and guest is most welcome to participate in the ceremony located at Bomber Command Memorial, Australian War Memorial.

Albany will become the curtain raiser for the commemorative schedule of events celebrating the Anzac Centenary. A commemorative service will be conducted on 1 November 2014 with the attendance of the New Zealand Navy and ships from the Royal Australian Navy, and with other countries to confirm their presence. The date indicates the departure of the first convoy that transported troops to the Western Front and Gallipoli. Major events that will take place during the month of October and November include Anzac projections and storytelling, royal Australian navy ceremonial sunset, troops march, the official opening of the National Anzac Center, among others.

The Australian War Memorial located in Canberra will be commemorating the centenary of the WWI through a major renovation of its First World War galleries and various new public events and programs. At the moment, the Memorial’s First World War galleries are undergoing construction and are closed to the public. However, a temporary WWI exhibition, titled Anzac voices, is open in the Temporary Exhibition gallery of the memorial. Anzac voices follow the lives and tales of numerous soldiers throughout the First World War, stated through their belongings, diaries, and letters.

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