Dive deeper into the events that shaped ANZAC history and led to the rituals and traditions we observe today.

Shadow image of Last Post

The Last Post

In military tradition, the Last Post is the bugle call that signifies the end of the day's activities.

Artwork image of people observing silence

A period of silence

The idea for one or two-minutes silence to remember the fallen is said to have originated with Edward George Honey, a Melbourne journalist and First World War veteran.

Close-up image of army soldier with rifle

Rifle volleys and gun salutes

While making a loud noise has long been regarded as a form of celebration, the origins of such salutes are a little obscure.

Poppies

Poems

Most remembrance ceremonies include a reading of a poem designed to help the listener understand the experiences of service people and their relatives in wartime.

Man playing bugle

The Rouse and the Reveille

Since Roman times, bugles or horns had been used as signals to command soldiers on the battlefield and to regulate soldiers’ days in barracks. 

Service personnel standing guard over the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier

Reversing arms

The tradition of reversing and resting on arms has been a mark of respect or mourning for centuries.

Wreaths on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The unknown soldier

Plans to honour an unknown Australian soldier were first put forward in the 1920s but it was not until 1993 that one was at last brought home. 

Flag and bugler

Flags at half mast

The tradition of lowering flags to half mast as a sign of remembrance is believed to have its origins on the high seas.

Bagpiper

The lone piper

The origins of the lone piper are obscure, although a lone piper has been a feature of Scottish military ceremonies for several hundred years.

Anzac Day march

ANZAC acronym

The acronym was first written as “A & NZ Army Corps”. However, clerks in the corps headquarters soon shortened it to ANZAC. 

Soldiers marching

Anzac spirit

“Anzac spirit” came to stand for the positive qualities which Australians have seen their forces show in war – endurance, courage, ingenuity, good humour and mateship.

Roll of Honour

Roll of Honour

The Roll of Honour records and commemorates members of the Australian armed forces who have died during or as a result of war service and other operations.

Commemorative Roll

Commemorative Roll

The Commemorative Roll commemorates Australians who died during or as a result of service in wars, conflicts or operations identical with the Roll of Honour, but who are not members of the Australian armed forces.

Young boy soldier

Boy soldiers

During the First World War, many boys gave false ages in order to join as soldiers. Their numbers are impossible to determine.

A bride and groom in uniform

War brides

More than 13,000 Australian soldiers married while serving overseas during the First World War.