We still remember them

From a booklet written by Rosemary Boyes, B.E.M. an early member of the Society.

A day of remembrance was first celebrated in 1916, but no public holiday was declared. Later years saw Memorial Services held, mainly on the Sunday following the actual date of the landing. The R.S.L. then pressed for the 25th April to be observed as a public holiday, this suggestion being met with some opposition from business interests.

Western Australia was the first State to observe the day as a public holiday, in 1919, N.S.W observing the day as such in 1920. The next year saw Victoria and Tasmania following suit. The year Queensland and South Australia proclaimed the day as a statutory public holiday, followed in 1924 by N.S.W., Victoria in 1925, and Tasmania in 1927.

Upon conclusion of World War II, it was decided that Anzac Day should become a day of remembrance for all who gave their lives in both World Wars.

Today in all States, Dawn Services are held at Cenotaphs and War Memorials, while later there is a parade of past and present members of three Services.

The first Anzac Day ceremony in Melbourne was April 25th, 1921, when a great crowd assembled to remember the sacrifice of the 60,000 young Australians who died in the First World War

The Service that day centred about the Cenotaph which stood in front of Parliament House in Spring Street. State Parliament House, Victoria, was at that time the home of the Federal Parliament as well, Canberra then being under construction.

The Cenotaph was a replica of the London Cenotaph in Whitehall. It was to remain the focal point of Anzac Day Services in Melbourne until the Shrine of Remembrance was dedicated in 1934.

The first Dawn Service held in Wodonga was 25th April 1925.

Before dawn that day a small group of men and a few women assembled quietly at the War Memorial, spending a few moments of silence as they remembered the men who awaited the signal on a similar cold grey dawn that would launch the attack on Gallipoli.

A great number of people had, by 10 o’clock, gathered in the streets to watch the March, and more than 100 ex-servicemen had assembled at the Post Office corner (cnr High and South Streets) to take part.