Anzac Day is the solemn day of remembrance of those Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers who have fought and died for their country, and is marked annually on the anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War.
Anzac Day is celebrated on 25 April each year, regardless of on which day it falls. The day is a public holiday, however no replacement holiday is given if Anzac Day falls on a weekend (except in Western Australia).
It was on 25 April 1915 that the armies of Australia and New Zealand entered into their premier battle of the First World War, at Gallipoli, Turkey. At the time, Australia had only been recognised as a federal commonwealth for thirteen years.
Many Australians were sympathetic to the United Kingdom, which they regarded as the motherland. So the volunteer armies of Australian and New Zealand, eager to fight the good fight in the war, bravely landed on the shore of the Gallipoli Peninsula with the intent to capture and secure a safe passage for Allied navies.
At Gallipoli, the Anzacs faced off with one of the fiercest armies history has ever known. Despite landing under the cover of darkness, the Anzacs were met with immediate bombardment and gunfire. On the shores of Gallipoli, the Australian and New Zealand armies fought for eight months forcing a stalemate. Eight thousand Anzac soldiers lost their lives before the Allies called for an evacuation.
While the operation itself was not a success, the valour and determination shown by Anzacs, the “Knights of Gallipoli,” were immediately commemorated in Australia, London, and even at the Allies’ camp in Egypt in 1916. Parades and ceremonies were held in their honour, and even those who were wounded in combat were a part of the parade while they were still recovering.
By the 1920s, the day had become a way to memorialise the sixty thousand Australian soldiers who died in the First World War. By the next decade, all Australian states had a form of celebration for Anzac Day, and many of the traditions we still carry out today had already taken shape. Forevermore, the 25th of April would be known as the day Australia arrived as a force in the world.