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This year Anzac Day falls on a Sunday, with the following Monday the 26th a national public holiday.
Anzac Day commemorative ceremonies have been held in almost every city and town across the nation since 1915, with ceremonies attracting bigger attendance in recent years. Many Australians also make the pilgrimage to the Dawn Service in Gallipoli.
In Melbourne The Dawn Service on Sunday commences at the Shrine of Remembrance Forecourt in Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra at 6am (so you need to rub your eyes smartly and arrive by 5.45 am). You can also easily access it via St Kilda Road. The Anzac Day Commemorative March along St Kilda Road starts at approximately 9am and concludes at the Shrine by 1pm for the Commemorative Service.
For more details on these official events, including the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Shrine at 8.15am, click here. The events are free for all to attend.
The ritual of the dawn service has its origins in an operational strategy. Given that pre-dawn, with all its hazy, misty shadows, can play tricks with one's eyes, this was a favoured time for an attack. Soldiers on the defence were therefore roused from their sleep in the dark, early hours (and rubbed their eyes), so that by the time the first dull light emanated from the horizon, they were ready, alert and manning their weapons. This procedure, which was also repeated at sunset, was known as "Stand To".
In addition to commemorative events, there are many more fabulous things to do across the long weekend, including markets and Art Melbourne. Click here for more details and ideas.
You might also like to catch the action of the traditional Anzac Day footy clash between Collingwood and Essendon at the MCG.