Like many other countries where it is observed, Australia’s Remembrance Day is on November 11. The holiday is dedicated to Australian soldiers who lost their lives in World War I and onwards. As an act of solidarity, citizens observe a minute of silence to pay their respects to the deceased, who died fighting while protecting the nation. Initially known as Armistice Day, the Australian Government adopted the United Kingdom’s proposal of renaming the day to Remembrance Day. It is not a public holiday.
History of Remembrance Day Australia
On November 11, 1918, after four years of nonstop warfare, the conflict on the Western Front came to a standstill and complete silence. Germany, the last remaining opponent of the allies, signed the armistice that ended World War I.
The Allies’ victory would not have been possible without the five divisions of the Australian Corps, who were at the forefront. With their spectacular victory at the Battle of Hamel in the summer of 1918, turning the tables of the war at Amiens, capturing Mont Saint-Quentin and Pèronne, and overcoming German defenses at the Hindenburg Line, the Australian troops displayed true valor. By the time the exhausted soldiers had withdrawn by early October, they had achieved a reputation as a force to be reckoned with. Their sweet success came at a heavy cost, however. Almost 48,000 Australian casualties were reported during 1918, including 12,000 deaths.
In the four years of the Great War, more than 330,000 Australians had served, and 60,000 of them were killed. The loss has cast a shadow over the social sphere, even in post-war times.
Remembrance Day was observed for the first time in 1919 by the British Commonwealth. The day was originally named Armistice Day in commemoration of the armistice agreement signed by Germany on Monday, November 11, 1918 — the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Until 1930, the observance of Armistice Day took place on the Monday of the week in which November 11 fell. This changed in 1931 when a Member of Parliament for Comox—Alberni, Alan Neill, forwarded a bill to observe the holiday on November 11 every year. The bill also proposed changing the name to Remembrance Day, which was approved, making the first observance of Remembrance Day on November 11, 1931.
Remembrance Day Australia timeline
After four years of warfare, World War I ends on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
The second anniversary of the armistice becomes a funeral when the remains of an unidentified soldier are returned from the battlefields of the Western Front.
In Australia, Remembrance Day gains prominence on its 75th anniversary.
Governor-General Sir William Patrick Deane formally declares November 11 to be Remembrance Day, urging all Australians to observe one minute of silence at 11.00 A.M. on November 11 each year.
Remembrance Day Australia FAQs
What is Remembrance Day in Australia?
On Remembrance Day, Australians pause on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to remember their fallen soldiers, particularly in World War I.
What is the difference between Anzac Day and Remembrance Day?
Anzac Day commemorates and honors Australian troops and veterans, and is tied in with the creation and history of the nation. Remembrance Day is mostly about remembering and paying respects to Australian lives lost at war.
Why do we celebrate Remembrance Day in Australia?
Remembrance Day is a day dedicated to Australian soldiers and citizens who served in the war and lost their lives or sustained heavy injuries. A minute of silence is observed, and many memorial events are hosted.
How To Observe Remembrance Day
Wear red poppies
As a symbol of Remembrance Day, adorn your blazers, shirts, and other articles of clothing with red poppies to remember the fallen soldiers of war.
Observe a minute of silence
Australians stop whatever they are doing at precisely 11 A.M. on November 11 every year to observe a minute of silence for respecting and remembering those who died in the war, particularly World War I.
Travel to a memorial site
Travel to a tribute event or memorial site to learn more about the events in the history of war, and the stories of those who served and lost their lives.
5 Facts About Remembrance Day In Australia
In the battlefields that were drenched in blood, the Flanders poppy was the first plant to bloom.
A sprig of rosemary
Rosemary symbolizes loyalty and has more significance for Australians than any other plant as it grows on the Gallipoli peninsula, commemorating the Anzac troops lost to battle there.
A flag at half-mast
There are several rules to hoisting the Australian flag at half-mast — it can never be flown at night and, in a cluster of flags, Australia’s flag should be raised first and lowered last.
The Unknown Soldier
Australia laid an Unknown Soldier to rest on Remembrance Day 1993, at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
So many untold stories
Over 60,000 Australians died at war, with many of them having no known graves.
Why Remembrance Day is Important
Remembering the fallen
We must remember the sacrifices of Australians who patriotically served the country and protected it. They died for us, their families, and for the country they believed in. Their sacrifices will not be in vain and will be remembered till the end.
Preventing history from repeating itself
The conditions during World War I were truly horrifying. Remembrance Day is one of the many occasions on which we reflect and commit to never letting such heinous wars take place again.
Through remembering the fallen, our unity and patriotism are strengthened. Culture, traditions, soldiers, and resilience in the face of war are what make a great nation.
Remembrance Day Australia dates