As you’re probably aware, Anzac Day is coming up this weekend on Saturday 25 April. However, while the coronavirus restrictions are still in place, this year’s public dawn services and parades across the country have been cancelled. As have the many social events that typically see Aussies flock to the RSL for a drink with mates and a game of Two-Up.
Despite the cancelled 2020 events, there are still ways in which Australians can pay their respects to those who lost their lives in the war and get involved in commemorations from home. We’ve listed some of these below.
But first, a side note for those who are wondering if Monday 27 April is a public holiday, it’s not – unless you live in Western Australia or the ACT which are the only two states in Australia that will have a public holiday this year. Due to the solemn nature of the holiday, it is the case in most states that Anzac Day is to be observed with a public holiday on 25 April even if that is Saturday or a Sunday. It is not intended to be an additional holiday for workers.
Now, here’s how you can commemorate Anzac Day from home during coronavirus lockdowns:
Dawn service & live streams
The Australian War Memorial in Canberra has confirmed they will hold a commemorative service at 5.30am (AEST). The service will involve a revised ceremony with no veterans’ march and no members of the public present. There will also be a 10am closed service from Sydney. Both services will be broadcast live on the ABC.
To substitute local dawn services, RSL state and territory branches have urged people to commemorate the day by standing at the end of their driveways or on their balconies at 6 am on April 25 for a moment of reflection while the Last Post is played. You can also stream an audio file of a short commemorative service while you stand at home. Download here.
Share your Anzac Day observations on social media with the hashtags, #ANZACspirit #lightupthedawn #ANZACDay. Some states also have their own hashtags to use which can be found on individual state RSL websites and Facebook pages.
Virtual visits & activities
Kokoda: The Spirit Lives
Watch the iconic Anzac Day documentary Kokoda: The Spirit Lives, a film by Patrick Lindsay commemorating the WWII Kokoda campaign and exploring the spirit of Kokoda, then and now. You can catch it on Channel Nine at 1pm on Anzac Day. To give you a taste, here’s a seven-minute trailer:
KTF Anzac Day tribute
The Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF) – an Australian NFP organisation that works with the communities living along and around the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea – will have a special Anzac Day tribute to celebrate enduring friendship between Australia and its nearest neighbour forged in the battles of Kokoda. Tune into their Facebook Page to watch interviews with Kokoda veterans and a new birds-eye view of Isurava memorial. Check out what to expect in the preview below:
Bake some Anzac biscuits
The recipe for these yummy goodies is super easy to follow and are sure to be a hit among the family. Check out the recipe here.
Anzac Day kids colouring
To ensure the kids can pay their own Anzac respects, KTF has also got a Kokoda-themed colouring wreath for children. They’re encouraging kids to colour and write their own message of support, then ‘lay’ their wreath at the end of their drive at 6am on Anzac Day as part of the RSL’s #lightupthedawn, and of course post to KTF’s page using #ktfkids4png. Get the colouring page here.
Virtual Kokoda Trek
Australian Kokoda Tours (AKT) want to connect those at home with the Kokoda track, virtually. Each day from now until ANZAC Day, Australian Kokoda Tours will post what trekkers would have encountered on the trail if their annual ANZAC Day 2020 trek had gone ahead earlier this week. Follow the virtual trek daily via AKT’s Facebook page here.
Plan your own Kokoda Trek for 2021/22
Thousands of Australians have made the pilgrimage to the Kokoda trail each year to immerse themselves in their proud wartime history. Today the track appears much as it did in 1942 with trenches and rusted weapons and treks are usually 10- or 11-days long. The physical challenge of trekking Kokoda is not for everyone so there are also non-trekking experiences available with drive- and fly-in options to key Kokoda Campaign sites. Learn more or plan your own visit here.