Anzac Day 2018
Anzac Day on the Western Front, Belgium – Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Australia’s Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, the Hon Darren Chester MP, led Australia’s participation during commemorative services on Anzac Day 2018 in Belgium. The services were organised by the Australian and New Zealand Embassies in conjunction with the Last Post Association and communities of Zonnebeke, Ieper/Ypres and Comines-Warneton. Our Anzac Day 2018 Program honoured the more than 12,000 Australian soldiers who fought and gave their lives in Belgium during World War One.
Past Anzac Days
Anzac Day on the Western Front, Belgium – Tuesday, 25 April 2017
Senator the Hon Stephen Parry, President of the Senate (L), and the New Zealand Ambassador to Belgium, Mr Gregory Andrews, stand at attention after laying their respective wreaths at the Cross of Sacrifice during the 2017 Anzac Day commemoration service at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Zonnebeke.
On Anzac Day 2017, the Australian Embassy, together with the New Zealand Embassy in Belgium and the Belgian Municipalities of Zonnebeke, Ieper/Ypres and Comines-Warneton organised an extensive programme of commemorative activities in West Flanders. The President of Australia's Senate, the Hon Stephen Parry led Australia's participation. A selection of photographs from Anzac Day 2017 is available here.
The day before Anzac Day the Hon Dan Tehan, Minister of Veterans' Affairs, visited West Flanders and photographs of his visit are available here.
Anzac Day 2016
Australia’s Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, led Australia’s participation during commemorative services on Anzac Day 2016 in Belgium. The services were organised by the Australian and New Zealand Embassies in conjunction with the Belgian towns of Zonnebeke, Ieper/Ypres and Comines-Warneton. They honoured the almost 13,000 ANZACs who fought and gave their lives in the battles of the Ypres Salient during World War One and included a dawn service at Buttes New British Cemetery and commemorative services at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Menin Gate and Toronto Avenue Cemetery. The day before Last Post Association chairman, Mr Benoit Mottrie, was presented with an honorary medal in the Order of Australia for his service to Australia-Belgium relations during a special ceremony at the Cloth Hall in Ypres.
Anzac Day 2015
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop represented the Australian Government at ANZAC Day commemorations in Ypres, Belgium to highlight the importance Australia attaches to honouring sacrifices made on the Western Front during the First World War. Nearly 13,000 Australians lost their lives in Belgium during the First World War. In Ypres, from August to November 1917, Australia suffered 38,000 casualties – our most costly experience of war. The day's program started at 6am with the Dawn Service at Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood. Services then followed at Tyne Cot Cemetery, the Menin Gate in Ieper/Ypres and Toronto Avenue Cemetery in Ploegsteert. There was also Australian participation during the nightly Last Post Association ceremonies at Menin Gate on the 24th and 25th April.
A Dawn Service was held on 26 September 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood: the first major battle for the Australian 5th Division in Belgium which resulted in 5,770 casualties The service took place at Buttes New British Cemetery in Zonnebeke, last resting place of more than 500 Australians. The Australian Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), and Lady Cosgrove led Australia’s representation at the commemoration and delivered the commemorative address. Video of the Dawn Service can be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/bk90L9zqwC0
Australian Commemorative Ceremony for the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Messines
On Wednesday 7 June 2017 the community of Comines-Warneton, assisted by the Australian Defence Force, conducted a ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Messines. The ceremony took place at 11.00am in the Strand Military Cemetery, Ploegsteert. For more information please click here.
The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
26 April 2018
The final arrangements have been put in place for the gifting of replicas of the famous Menin Gate lions from Australia to the City of Ieper, strengthening the bond between our countries which was forged on the Western Front more than a century ago.
Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester and Mayor of Ieper Jan Durnez today signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which will see the replica lions permanently displayed at the Menin Gate Memorial in Belgium.
"During the First World War, thousands of Australian troops marched through the Menin Gate on their way to the Western Front. Today, the names of more than 6,000 Australians with no known grave are listed on the Menin Gate Memorial," Mr Chester said.
"On behalf of the Australian Government I am proud to finalise the arrangements of this gift to the people of Ieper, which will be an everlasting reminder of the bond between our two countries."
After the First World War, the Menin Gate became the site for a memorial and lists the names of more than 55,000 British and Dominion soldiers killed in Belgium, many who have no known grave.
"As an expression of gratitude for the more than 13,000 Australian soldiers who died in Belgium during the First World War, the original Menin Gate lions were given to Australia in 1936," Mr Chester said.
"The lions have been on display inside the front entrance of the Australian War Memorial since 1991, but were last year loaned back to the City of Ieper for the centenary commemorations of the Flanders campaign."
The new replica lions will be displayed on the plinths in front of the Menin Gate Memorial where every evening the residents of Ieper honour every Australian who served in the First World War by sounding the Last Post.
- Centenary Commemorations on the Western Front 2016 - 2018
- DVA Anzac Portal
- History - WWI and Ieper/Ypres region
- In Flanders Fields Museum
- Last Post Association
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- ANZAC Centenary
- Australian War Memorial
- Remembrance Day
- Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front