Although it was not scheduled as part of their tour, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge looked on as Canberra remembered those who have served Australia.
Prince William and Kate joined Governor-General Peter Cosgrove at the event to mark the 99th anniversary of the dawn landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli.
Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith delivered a touching speech commemorating servicemen and women who sacrificed on Anzac Day and every day since.
“The Anzac spirit…Is a life force that resides in all Australians,” Corporal Roberts-Smith said.
He also placed emphasis on providing continuing emotional support for the service people of today who have experienced great mental and physical duress.
At a press conference following the service, Corporal Roberts-Smith said that wounded soldiers needed to be supported and celebrated.
“Sometimes they [the wounded] get lost in the system,” Corporal Roberts-Smith said. “The role myself and my fellow Victoria Cross recipients need to take on is to continue to keep the plight of the wounded at the forefront at all stages.”
Anzac Day’s 99th anniversary saw over 60,000 gather at the Shrine of Remembrance, embracing the chilly morning at 6am for the Dawn service.
While the weather was a cold seven degrees, it did not deter the patriots from paying their respects to those who sacrificed their life for Australia.
Teary 67-year-old veteran Patrick James told The New Daily he’s very happy with the turnout.
“The culture is changing. It’s good to see people out here.”
Leon Gray, 32, who has served in the Solomon Islands, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan said it was awe-inspiring.
“The ambience had a streak to it, the silence with thousands of people around, that I had never felt before.”
Bryce, 9, came to the service to represent the First Bunyip scout group.
“It was very cold and I was very tired,” he told The New Daily. “The dawn service got a bit boring. I came because of the scouts.”
As Melbourne prepares for the march, World War two servicewomen Betty Flood and Jean Parry have a quiet moment with a cup of tea.
“We are just having a cuppa to prepare us for the march, which is the most important day of the year for us. We must pay our respects to the fallen and those serving right now,” they told The New Daily.
A cold, clear Anzac morning greeted those arriving at Hobart’s Cenotaph for the dawn service.
A large, well rugged-up crowd gathered in darkness at the Queens Domain above the River Derwent.
The red crosses atop the Cenotaph were illuminated ahead of the service, which took place in temperatures of around 6C.
The service was one of around 80 in Tasmania with organisers hopeful 6000 will attend in the capital.
Governor Peter Underwood will preside over the service.
Hobart’s Anzac Day parade along Macquarie Street begins at 11am (AEST) followed by the main ceremony at midday.
Thousands are gathering at Adelaide’s war memorial to hear a World War II veteran speak and to join South Australian Governor Kevin Scarce to lay wreaths.
For the first time, defence scientists who have been awarded the Australian Operational Service Medal will march together under the defence civilians banner.
— sarah hanson-young (@sarahinthesen8) April 24, 2014
Three diggers from World War II and a contingent of US marines who are based in Darwin are expected to attend the Dawn Service escorted by two helicopters.
At the dawn service in Anzac Square in Brisbane’s inner-city this morning, Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley paid tribute to those who sacrificed their lives.
Ms Wensley told the service of the importance of remembering those who put their lives on the line to defend the country.
She said it was also important to honour those who care for the men and who returned home scarred from war and the families of the fallen.
“At this service and in the many other commemorations being held today, we remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and we remember those who came home, many who carry, or will carry the scars of battle for a lifetime,” she said.
“We remember not only our own country men and women, but all gallant warriors, particularly our New Zealand comrades who form part of the original Anzac force, which landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, 99 years ago.”
Later this morning, thousands are expected across the state to watch traditional Anzac Day parades.
The biggest turnout is expected in Brisbane, where 141 units made up of returned servicemen and current serving military personnel will march through the CBD at 10:00am (AEST).
Ms Wensley will take the salute and address the parade assembly, the last time she will do so as outgoing governor.
Vehicles and buses will take the dwindling number of World War II veterans – the youngest of whom is now 78.
An estimated nearly 10,000 people gathered at Martin Place for this year’s dawn service. A separate service was also held in Manly.
— Barry Du Bois (@Baz_DuBois) April 24, 2014
More than 3000 New Zealanders gathered at the Auckland Domain to remember those lost and injured in combat.
War veterans marched into the court of honour at Auckland War Memorial Museum to begin the dawn ceremony.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown placed a wreath on the cenotaph, and the ode to the fallen was recited by veterans in both Maori and English.
The choir sang both God Defend New Zealand and Advance Australia Fair before the veterans marched away, being applauded several times as they did.
The crowd was a diverse one, with the city’s large Asian, Indian and Pacific Island communities well represented as well as those of Maori and Pakeha ethnicity.
Resident Alastair Peebles said he was particularly pleased New Zealand’s battlefront colleagues across the Tasman were recognised.
“I thought it was great that the Australian national anthem was sung, and that the Australian flag had pride of place on top of the museum,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of things in common and it’s great for the kids to see it.”
There were similar scenes around the country, with major ceremonies in Christchurch and Dunedin, and in dozens of smaller centres.
A crowd of more than 50,000 is estimated to have attended the Anzac Day dawn service in Perth.
People began arriving at the state war memorial in Kings Park in the early hours of the morning to gain a good vantage spot.
Speakers and video screens were used to carry the service throughout the park.
The turnout was much bigger than expected as dusk services have been held throughout the week as an alternative.
Captain Angela Bond from HMAS Stirling said the dawn service in Perth is special.
“The sun rises up behind the memorial and it’s just quite a majestic sight,” she said.
“Also WA was the first state to have a dawn service and that was conducted by a pastor down in Albany.”
Thousands gathered in Wellington in front of the cenotaph, possibly for the last time as next year’s ceremony will be at the newly-constructed National War Memorial Park in front of the historic Wellington carillion.
St Kilda AFL player Sam Gilbert says Wellington’s Anzac Day dawn service sent shivers up his spine.
Gilbert, who will miss the Anzac day game against Brisbane in Wellington, stood silently with thousands of Kiwis including Prime Minister John Key to honour the two nations’ war heroes.
“It’s very special. It’s one of those things you’re in awe at, when you’re here,” Gilbert told reporters at Wellington’s Cenotaph.
“To hear when the guns fire, it sends shivers down your spine.
“It’s great to be a part of it.”
Gilbert’s grandfather was a gunner in Papua New Guinea during World War Two, while his grandmother was a nurse in Perth.
“So there’s a fair bit of history with the war so it’s something that means a lot to me.”
The brutality and ultimate sacrifice of war couldn’t be compared to the battles fought on football fields, he added.
“If you actually look at Anzac and war, it’s something you can’t compare football to. It really puts not just football but life into perspective.”
— Chris Bath (@ChrisBath7) April 24, 2014