Anzac Day 2022: Millions of Australians flock to dawn services to remember our diggers

Millions of Australians gathered at Anzac Day dawn services across the country to honor servicemen and women for the first time most Australians have been able to gather since the start of the pandemic .

The moving ceremonies kicked off a day of commemorations 107 years after Australian and New Zealand forces landed on the shores of Gallipoli during the First World War.

This year sees the return of large-scale Anzac Day commemorations since 2019 following Covid-19 restrictions in recent years. It is also the first ceremony since Australia and the US-led coalition withdrew troops from Afghanistan.

Australians gathered at Currumbin on the Gold Coast, Martin Place in Sydney, the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, the Cenotaph in Brisbane and the Australian War Memorial in Canberra from 4.30am on Monday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison led commemorations in Darwin, where he used his speech to warn Australians of a ‘world change’ amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and the new security pact of China with the Solomon Islands.

“War strikes Europe again, coercion again troubles our region, an arc of autocracy challenges the rules-based order our grandparents ensured, and democratic free peoples stand together again “said the Prime Minister.

“As we face this world we must remember again, only then do we truly appreciate what these times demand of all of us.”

The Last Post is performed at Martin Place in Sydney, where thousands of people gathered for the Anzac Day service at dawn

Melburnians braved freezing conditions at the Shrine of Remembrance during Monday's service

Melburnians braved freezing conditions at the Shrine of Remembrance during Monday’s service

Across the Tasman, thousands of Kiwis joined New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for a service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Gallipoli, the site of Australia’s most disastrous war effort, also welcomed thousands of Australians and Kiwis for the first time since 2019.

In Sydney, thousands of people braved the rain to fill Martin Place to capacity for the solemn service.

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet attended with two of his seven children and led the commemorations reciting the poem Salute, written by Sydney Elliott Napier, who served with the First Australian Imperial Force in the First World War.

He was joined by State Opposition Leader Chris Minns and Deputy Federal Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek who was there on behalf of Anthony Albanese, who was isolating at home with Covid.

Major General Matthew Pearse reminded the crowd of a number of significant anniversaries in 2022.

They include the 80th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin, the Fall of Singapore, the Battle of the Coral Sea, and the Kokoda Campaign.

He added that it was a day to thank all veterans “for their service, their sacrifice and their resilience”.

“They are filled with stories of ordinary Australians who came together despite adversity to support their comrades and put their lives on the line to defend our national interests and secure a better future,” said the Commander of Forces Command.

An ADF soldier pays tribute to

An ADF soldier pays tribute to

Rain didn't put a damper on Sydney's dawn service,

Rain didn’t put a damper on Sydney’s dawn service,

The dedication was made by NSW Governor Margaret Beazley who then laid a wreath on behalf of the state.

There were similar scenes in Melbourne, where thousands of people braved the freezing conditions to pay respects to the dead at the Shrine of Remembrance.

RSL Victoria state chairman Robert Webster expected numbers to be slightly down from pre-pandemic crowds due to the long weekend and school holidays.

“But one of the messages we’ve been sending out to the wider community is that we have about 270 sub-branches across the state, most of which will be hosting a dawn service or local march,” a- he told AAP. .

‘So go local.’

Dr Webster said the Covid restrictions in recent years have been difficult for veterans who see Anzac Day as a time to reflect and catch up with friends.

A Sydneysider quietly reflects to pay respect to servicemen who died on Anzac Day

A Sydneysider quietly reflects to pay respect to servicemen who died on Anzac Day

Monday marks 107 years since Australian and New Zealand forces landed on the shores of Gallipoli during the First World War.  Pictured are Sydneysiders at Martin Place

Monday marks 107 years since Australian and New Zealand forces landed on the shores of Gallipoli during the First World War. Pictured are Sydneysiders at Martin Place

The veterans were joined by thousands of Sydneysiders at Martin Place, despite the rain

The veterans were joined by thousands of Sydneysiders at Martin Place, despite the rain

Veterans got up early to take their seats at Martin Place, many for the first time since 2019

Veterans got up early to take their seats at Martin Place, many for the first time since 2019

Large crowds are expected at the Anzac Day marches to be held in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra later on Monday morning.

Governor General David Hurley will deliver an address to the nation from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra after the march.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Anzac Day commemorations at the memorial.

NSW has temporarily lifted the ban to allow two to play legally in pubs, clubs and elsewhere over the three-day long Anzac Day weekend.

The unique aims to give back to veterans who missed out on the Covid-19 pandemic in the biggest commemoration of Anzac Day since 2019.

Australian soldiers regularly played the coin toss betting game in trenches and on troop ships during the First World War, after it was originally played by immigrants and convicts in the gold fields of the 1850s.

The game involves a designated “spinner” who tosses two coins or pennies into the air while players bet on whether the coins will land on a coin toss.

A member of the Australian Defense Force stands guard during Anzac Day commemorations at the Cenotaph in Brisbane

A member of the Australian Defense Force stands guard during Anzac Day commemorations at the Cenotaph in Brisbane

Millions of Australians paid their respects at dawn services across the country.  Pictured is a soldier standing guard in Brisbane

Millions of Australians paid their respects at dawn services across the country. Pictured is a soldier standing guard in Brisbane

Commemorations were restricted to TV services only and no marches for the first time in over a century in 2020 due to the outbreak of Covid, where thousands of people paid their respects at home during the commemorations of the alley dawn.

Services and marches have returned with limited crowds in most parts of the country in 2021, with the exception of Perth and the surrounding region of Peel which were plunged into an instant lockdown triggered by a quarantine outbreak in the hotels.

Monday is the first Anzac Day since forces withdrew from Afghanistan, where 41 Australians died in service.

Veterans Affairs Minister Andrew Gee said the number of lives saved and terror attacks averted by Australian defense personnel could never be known.

But what is known is that they have improved medical services, built essential infrastructure and helped a generation of women and girls to access education and careers.

“The men and women who have served our nation through the generations have never asked for much in return,” Mr Gee said.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to one thing: that we never forget what they did for us. That we keep their memory alive in our hearts and in the conscience of our nation.

“This sacred duty of memory currently falls to our generation and it is a commitment that we will in turn pass on to the next.”

Anzac Day commemorations are back at full capacity for the first time in three years

Anzac Day commemorations are back at full capacity for the first time in three years

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led Anzac Day commemorations at the Auckland War Memorial Museum

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led Anzac Day commemorations at the Auckland War Memorial Museum

The federal election campaign will take precedence over Anzac Day commemorations.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor deputy leader Richard Marles will be in Darwin for services, while Labor leader Anthony Albanese remains in isolation at his Sydney home as he recovers from COVID-19.

Overseas, Anzac services will take place in Turkey, France, Thailand, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

“However you mark Anzac Day this year – at a dawn service, at home, at your local RSL or watching the national service on TV – I encourage all Australians to take a break and to reflect on all who have served, and those who continue to serve,” Mr. Gee said.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet was joined by two of his children at the Sydney dawn service

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet was joined by two of his children at the Sydney dawn service

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek lays a wreath during the dawn service at Martin Place in Sydney

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek lays a wreath during the dawn service at Martin Place in Sydney