Guide to the the Anzac Day Souvenirs Collection


Title: Anzac Day Souvenirs Collection

Collection number: Souvenirs 1

Scope and content note: The collection contains items that mark Anzac Day, the anniversary of 25 April 1915. It includes programs for concerts, commemorative and sporting events, invitations, menus, forms of service, seating tickets, poems and other memorabilia. There are items from 1916 to the present day, and the collection is growing.

Provenance: The collection has been acquired over many years, from many different sources and donors.

Extent - Space occupied: 4 boxes, containing 34 folders, 0.8m

Extent - Number of items: approximately 1000 items.

Location: Published & Digitised Collections, Research Centre, Australian War Memorial.

Related collections: Photographs, Concert and Theatre programs.


Administrative information

Processing history: Finding aid updated and collection re-numbered and re-housed in 2001.

Access: Open

Publication rights: Contact Curator, Published & Digitised Collections

Copyright: Contact Curator, Published & Digitised Collections

Preferred citation: Anzac Day Souvenirs Collection, Australian War Memorial, Souvenirs 1.


  • Anniversaries
  • Anzac Day ceremonies
  • Formal dinners 
  • Memorial services
  • Menus
  • Programmes
  • Sports meetings


Historical background

Anzac Day

Anzac Day - 25 April - is probably Australia's most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as Anzacs, and the pride they soon took in that name endures to this day.

Why Anzac day is commemorated

When war broke out in 1914 Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only fourteen years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula to open the way to the Black Sea for the allied navies. The plan was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), capital of the Ottoman Empire and an ally of Germany. They landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war. The idea that some sort of "blood sacrifice" was a necessary rite of passage or initiation ceremony in the birth of a nation was common in the late Victorian and Edwardian period. In attempting the daunting task of storming the Gallipoli peninsula the Anzacs created an event which, it was felt, would help to shape the new Australia.

Early Commemorations

The date, 25 April, was officially named Anzac Day in 1916; in that year it was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies and services in Australia, a march through London, and a sports day in the Australian camp in Egypt. In London, over 2,000 Australian and New Zealand troops marched through the streets of the city. A London newspaper headline dubbed them "The knights of Gallipoli". Marches were held all over Australia in 1916. Wounded soldiers from Gallipoli attended the Sydney march in convoys of cars, attended by nurses. For the remaining years of the war, Anzac Day was used as an occasion for patriotic rallies and recruiting campaigns, and parades of serving members of the AIF were held in most cities. During the 1920s, Anzac Day became established as a national day of commemoration for the 60,000 Australians who died during the war. The first year in which all the States observed some form of public holiday together on Anzac Day was 1927. By the mid-1930s all the rituals we today associate with the day - dawn vigils, marches, memorial services, reunions, sly two-up games - were firmly established as part of Anzac Day culture. With the coming of the Second World War, Anzac Day became a day on which to commemorate the lives of Australians lost in that war as well, and in subsequent years the meaning of the day has been further broadened to include Australians killed in all the military operations in which Australia has been involved. Anzac Day was first commemorated at the Australian War Memorial in 1942, but due to government orders preventing large public gatherings in case of Japanese air attack, it was a small affair and was neither a march nor a memorial service. Anzac Day has been annually commemorated at the Australian War Memorial ever since.


Bean, C.E.W , Anzac to Amiens (Penguin: Ringwood, Victoria, 1993)

McKernan, Michael & Stanley, Peter (eds.) , Anzac Day seventy years on (Collins: Sydney, 1986)


SERIES 1: Celebrations - concerts and dinners, 1916 - 1992

Description: Menus, musical programs, song lyrics (including an invitation to Capt. Bean, 1917, in the Somme) for concerts and dinners held overseas and in Australia. The collection includes an ANZAC biscuit recipe. (23 items, 1 oversize)

Number Contents
1/1/1 No 1 Command Depot, 1917.
No 2 Command Depot, Weymouth, 1917.
Boulder, 1917.
4 Divisional Team ASC & 1 Auxilliary Hospital, 1916.
50 Battalion and 13 Infantry Brigade, 1916.
5 Australian Divisional Headquarters, 1917.
1 Australian Depot Unit of Supply, 1917.
AIF & War Chest Club, 1917.
Anzacs of Rouen, 1916 & 1917.
4 Command Depot, 1918.
City of Sydney, 1916.
6 Battalion, 1916.
Ismalia Club, 1916.
Le Havre, 1917.
Field Bakeries North, 1918.
His Majesty's Theatre, London, 1916.
Town Hall, Sydney, 1916.
Anzac Buffet, Sydney, 1916.
Luncheon, Anzac Day, Cadarga, Capetown, 1918. (RC06322)
1/2/1 His Majesty's Theatre, London, 1919.
City of London, 1919.
Melbourne, 1928
Wellington, 1938.
Australia House, London, 1937.
Wau, TNG, 1937.
Sydney, 1938, 1939, 1965.
Brisbane, 1952.
Tumbarumba, 1950.
Brisbane, 1941.
Australian War Memorial, 1992.
Beaudesert, 1986, 1987. (20 items)

SERIES 2: Celebrations - sports, 1916-1944

Description Programs for sports days, some held in conjunction with concerts. Some list the names of competitors, while others contain nominal rolls. (See also Services held in Germany, and Services held in the Middle East)

Number Contents
2/1/1 Ras-el-tin Convalescent Depot, Alexandria, 1916.
3 Command Depot, 1918.
Australian Base Depots, 1919.[5 copies]
4 Australian Division, 1916.
Tel-el-kebir, 1916.
13 Australian Infantry Brigade, 1916.
Adelaide, 1920.
Stalag 383, Bavaria, 1944.
Stalag 3C, 1943.
Brightlingsea, 1918.
3 Australian Division, 1919.
14 Training Battalion, 1917.
14 Infantry Brigade, 1916.
1 Australian Divisional Infantry School, 1917.
Australian Base Depots, 1918. (oversize). (24 items, 1 in oversize.)

SERIES 3: Celebrations and services held on ships, 1916-1941

Description: Programs for celebrations, services, dinners and sporting events held on ships, including troopships.

Number Contents
3/1/1 HMT Orontes, 1918.
SS Medic, 1919.
TSS Euripides, 1916.
TSS Maunganui, 1938.
TSS Monowai, 1938.
Stratheden, 1950.
SS Wyreema, 1919.
HMAT Dongola, 1919.
SS Stratheden, 1941.
(10 items)

SERIES 4: Services held in the Australian Capital Territory, 1928-1941

Number Contents
4/1/1 Programs for services held in Canberra at the Albert Hall, the Royal Military College and Parliament House. ( 15 items)

SERIES 5: Services held at the Australian War Memorial, 1941- Description This collection includes programs from the Dawn Service arranged by the Returned Services League, as well as the Anzac Day commemoration service arranged by the Australian War Memorial. The items in these folders include programs (on which are listed the names of special guests and the words of hymns), names of persons laying wreaths, invitations to the service, dais passes to the official stands, and orders of service. (See also the Australian War Memorial Ceremonies Collection)

Number Contents
5/1/1 (32 items)  
5/2/1 (41 items)  
5/3/1 (53 items)  
5/4/1 (60 items)  
5/5/1 (65 items)  
5/6/1 (66 items)  
5/7/1 (85 items)  
5/8/1 (64 items)  
5/9/1 (61 items)  
5/10/1 (64 items)  
5/11/1 (65 items)  
5/12/1 (70 items)  
5/13/1 (2 items)  

SERIES 6: Services held in New South Wales, 1916 - Present

Description: Programs, tickets, stickers, unit formation details, and details of competitions.

Number Contents
6/1/1 New South Wales Conservatorium, Canterbury Gardens, Darling Harbour, Manly, the Outer Domain, St Andrews, the Sydney Show Grounds, Orange and Tamworth. (35 items)  
6/2/1 Drummoyne Boys High School, the Hunter region, Hyde Park, Macleay, Martin Place [3 copies], Merrylands, Albury, Kapooka, Nowra, Orange, Paddington, Queanbeyan and Wagga Wagga. (38 items)  

SERIES 7: Services held in Queensland, 1918-1958

Number Contents
7/1/1 Brisbane, Toowoomba, Tewantin, Enoggera Terrrace and Gympie. (18 items)  

SERIES 8: Services held in South Australia, 1916-1965

Number Contents
8/1/1 City of West Torrens, 2000, Adelaide and Mount Gambier. There is also a circular to be read to school children, and "orders for the day" for the 1946 ANZAC day procession in Adelaide. (14 items)  

SERIES 9: Services held in Tasmania, 1936-2000

Number Contents
9/1/1 Hobart, Glenorchy and other places in Tasmania. (9 items)  

SERIES 10: Services held in Victoria, 1917-1984

Number Contents
10/1/1 Melbourne, Blackburn, Geelong, Hamilton and Red Cliffs. (19 items)

SERIES 11: Services held in Western Australia, 1918-Present

Number Contents
11/1/1 Perth, Boulder and Kalgoorlie. (13 items)

SERIES 12: Services held in Africa, 1916-1959

Number Contents
12/1/1 Accra (Ghana) and Cape Town. (See also Services held in the Middle East) (4 items)

SERIES 13: Services held in the Far East and the Pacific, 1937-1995

Number Contents
13/1/1 Kavieng (New Ireland), 1937.
Port Moresby, 1944.
Kure, Japan, 1946 and 1955.
Shanghai, 1948.
India, 1949.
Singapore, 1949.
Japan and Korea, 1955 and 1956.
Bien Hoa, South Vietnam, 1966.
Australian Army headquarters, Pteah Australii, Phnom Penh, 1993.
Hell Fire Pass, 1995.
East Timor, 2000
East Timor, 2002. (23 items)

SERIES 14: Services held in France and Belgium, 1917-2009

Number Contents
14/1/1 Le Havre.
Amiens (5 items)

SERIES 15: Services held in Germany, 1944-1948

Number Contents
15/1/1 Programs for services at Stalag 383, Bavaria.
Germany, 1945.
Berlin, 1948. (6 items)

SERIES 16: Services held in Great Britain, 1916-1996

Number Contents
16/1/1 Westminster Abbey, 1916 - 1918 and 1985.
King's College Chapel, Cambridge, 1918.
St Clement Danes, the Strand, 1920 and 1935.
St Paul's Cathedral, 1937.
Pembroke Dock, 1944 and 1945 (461 Squadron, RAAF).
Dallachy, Scotland, 1945 (455 Squadron, RAAF and 489 Squadron, NZAF).
Binbrook, 1945 (460 Squadron, RAAF). [2 copies]
Eltham and Well Hall, 1948.
St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, 1945 and 1948.
Warrington, 1970.
South West Gloucestershire (no date).
British Military Cemetery, Staffordshire.
Battersea Park, London, 1996.
Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving on the occasion of the 90th Anniversary of ANZAC Day, Westminster Abbey.
Celebration commemorating ANZAC Day 1945, England (456 Squadron, RAAF). (33 items)

SERIES 17: Services held in Europe and the Middle East, 1916-

Description: Ceremonies of varying sizes have been held at Anzac Cove from at least 1919, though the earliest program in this collection is from 1923. Newspapers of the time carried reports of ceremonies. Some of the reports include photos of the proceedings. This section also includes Anzac Day ceremonies held in Europe.

Number Contents
17/1/1 Cairo, 1916 and 1918.
Suez Camp, Egypt, 1918.
Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 1923, 1936, 1948, 1990, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004.
Wayne's Keep Cemetery, Nicosia, Cyprus, 2003. [4 copies]
(See also Services held in Africa) (21 items)

SERIES 18: Services held in New Zealand, 1948-1988

Number Contents
18/1/1 A nominal roll for 1938 voyage from New Zealand on T.S.S "Maunganui" and T.S.S. "Monowai" .
Christchurch, 1939,1944 and 1948.
Wellington, 1939, 1947 and 1948.
Auckland, 1948, 2002. (15 items)

SERIES 19: Services held in North America, 1948-1988

Number Contents
19/1/1 New York, 1948.
San Francisco, 1949 and 1986.
Vancouver, B.C. 1950 and 1951.
Washington, 1952, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988. (12 items)

SERIES 20: Verses and memorabilia, 1916-

Number Contents
20/1/1 Verses, keepsakes, items of prose and leaflets commemorating the various anniversaries of the ANZAC landing. (32 items)