Anzac Day 2018
Anzac Day on the Western Front, Belgium – Wednesday, 25 April 2018
The Australian Embassy in conjunction with the New Zealand Embassy, Last Post Association and the municipalities of Zonnebeke, Ieper/Ypres and Comines-Warneton will organise an extensive program of commemorations on Anzac Day in West Flanders. They include a dawn service at Buttes New British Cemetery and commemorative services at Menin Gate and Toronto Avenue Cemetery. Our Anzac Day 2018 Program honours the almost 13,000 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 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 Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
26 Sepember 2016
Anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood
Australia honours the service and sacrifice of those who fought in the Battle of Polygon Wood on the 99th anniversary today.
Almost 6,000 Australians from the Australian Imperial Force 4th and 5th Divisions were killed or wounded in the battle fought near Ypres in Belgium during the First World War.
The attack on Polygon Wood was the 5th Division’s first major battle since Fromelles in July 1916, and the first time in the First World War two Australian Divisions fought side by side.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said we must never forget the sacrifice of every Australian who has served in our armed forces and the sacrifice of those who serve today.
“On the anniversary of Polygon Wood, we should reflect on the experiences of the soldiers who fought in that battle so far from home and particularly those who paid the ultimate price,” Mr Tehan said.
“The Australians captured the Butte at Polygon Wood – a fortified mound – upon which veterans of the battle later chose to erect the 5th Division Memorial, which is the memorial that today commemorates that division’s sacrifice on the Western Front.
“I am pleased to announce the Australian Government, with the assistance of the Belgium Government, will hold a Dawn Service to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood next year. This service will commemorate the centenary of many of the 1917 battles in this region, and will be held at Buttes New British Cemetery at Polygon Wood.”
Further information about the 100th anniversary commemorations is available at: http://www.anzaccentenary.gov.au/
New brochure of Australian Remembrance Trail published by Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917
A team at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 in Zonnebeke, led by Freddy Declerck, has complied and published a new brochure on the Australian Remembrance Trail. It provides a brief history of Australia's engagement in Flanders during World War One, gives details of key sites along the Trial in the province and outlines Australian related exhibitions and resources available at the museum.
- Anzac Day 2016 ceremonies outside Australia
- 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