On April 25th each year, Australia stands still. This is ANZAC  Day, ANZAC being  an acronym for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. Across New Zealand and Australia tens of thousands of people will proudly remember all those countrymen who gave their lives in military service. While April 25th marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. On this date in 1915  the ANZACs went ashore in Gallipoli, to fight the Turks. ,  the commemoration has now been broadened to recognize not only the Gallipoli fallen, but those from both nations who have served in all theatres of war. 

A feature of ANZAC day is the Dawn Service. At the State War Memorial in Kings Park ,Perth, Western Australia, a crowd of 50,000 is expected, making it the world’s and Australia’s  largest dawn event, beginning at 4.30 am. Across the nation, in small towns and capital cities a nation will remember its military as the sun rises.

Gallipoli Day is also remembered in Ireland as it is estimated that some 3,000 Irishmen lost their lives in that awful place, many of them in the 10th Irish Division fighting alongside their ANZAC comrades, according to historian Jeff Gildea  “Overall, the Irish lost more men than New Zealand at Gallipoli throughout the course of 1915,” Mr Kildea told the Irish Echo in 2010.

One of our best known and loved folk singers, the late Liam Clancy, brought the Gallipoli story to many thousands who would not otherwise have known of this awful episode.  His memorable and moving rendition of Eric Bogle’s The Band Played Waltzing Matilda can be heard by clicking on the link. A grim reminder of the awful cost of war.

It is estimated that more than 6,000 Irish-born men and women served in what was known as the Australian Imperial Force during the First World War, with about 1,000 of them dying in action or  as a result of their battle wounds.  There is no doubt but that many thousands of Irish-born have followed them since. It is appropriate that we join our ANZAC friends in remembering this day too.

On a recent visit to Australia, I visited the Queensland State Memorial at Anzac Square in Brisbane and share some of the photographs below in remembrance of them.

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Shrine of Remembrance in Brisbane’s ANZACs Square


Another view - with the Eternal Flame burning in the centre, the  18 pillars represent 1918 .

Another view – the 18 pillars represent 1918


World War 2 Memorial

World War 2 Memorial

Detail from the World war 2 Memorial

Detail from the World war 2 Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

My favourite memorial honours participants in the South West Pacific campaign. A Papua New Guinean helps a wounded Australian soldier descending the Kokoda Trail ….


..while a fresh and resolute soldier forges on into battle..

The Korea Borneo Malaya Memorial

The Korea Borneo Malaya Memorial

The Eternal Flame at ANZAC Square Brisbane

The Eternal Flame at ANZAC Square Brisbane

As WB Yeats wrote in his poem An Irish Airman Foresees His Death:

“Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,

Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,

A lonely impulse of delight

Drove to this tumult in the clouds.”



Filed under Emigration from Ireland, Ireland, Ireland and the World, Irish Australian, Irish Diaspora, Irish History

15 responses to “ANZAC Day

  1. I love seeing our memorials in ANZAC SQUARE… at any time, but of course, even more poignant on this special day of commemoration. Many’s the time, I’ve been there as a child, then later, have taken my children, so that they, also, learnt of the importance of remembering those who fought that we may be free. Whether it be a dawn service, a morning service or just to visit the eternal flame, the memories of the sacrifices made by so many, from so many countries, are part of our very being. Lest We Forget.

  2. I was just “talking” to another blogger about “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”–such a heart-breaking song about the ANZAC and about the losses of all wars. And Liam Clancy’s rendition is stunning (but, of course, I’m a fool for all things Clancy and Makem). Your photos are beautiful and reverent.

    • It is a most poignant anti-war song. I have listened to many recordings and Liam Clancy’s is streets ahead of the others. Like you – I was and am a huge Liam Clancy fan. Such a wonderful story teller! Thanks for your very nice comments 🙂

  3. Nice post SV, and timely. Bogle’s song is wonderful and it should be the final word when considering if there is ever justification for sending men into armed conflict.
    Most of those lads had no idea what they were getting into and they were led by incompetent fools, in the main.

  4. Hi TSV. Was in Istanbul last week on a family break. Unfortunately Gallipoli was 5 hour journey away and time just did not permit. 1A 13 year old daughter might also have had something to say if it was being seriouslt considered! But met an Australian lady who was heading onwards to the commemoration. Nice post and the Irish related info is interesting. Thanks. MB

  5. Pingback: Photo 7/30: War | HX Report

  6. Hi again TSV! Used your theme for my Photo Of The Day today – and acknowledged your Blog & post in so doing. Thanks for the idea.

  7. Excellent post! The ANZAC Square is immensely impressive. Thank you for the reminder.

  8. Maria Mercer

    Thank you TSV for your post and photos of Anzac Square Memorials and the Eternal Flame in Brisbane. It is a special place which pays tribute to the Anzacs and to those who fought in all wars and conflicts, especially for me the Vietnam Memorial as my brother is a “Vietnam Veteran”. I attended the march as I do every year. It was great to see so many serving and ex-serving Army, Navy, Air Force personnel marching, including my “Brother”.
    Lest We Forget.

    • I really enjoyed discovering Anzac Square. Vietnam is special to me too as it was then that I became politically aware and now have a few friends who served there . ANZAC day is a great annual remembrance. Thank you Maria for dropping by!

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