FOR many, attending Anzac Day services at Gallipoli is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is both humbling and moving to be present in a place that has played such a critical role in shaping our national identity.
If you are planning to visit Gallipoli to attend the Anzac Day commemorations you should take careful note of the following:
- There is no shelter at any of the commemorative sites and you will be exposed to the elements for the entire period you are there — which could be for up to 24 hours — so make sure you dress accordingly
- Come prepared for sun, rain, wind-chill, even sleet and hail
- It will be cold overnight, temperatures may reach below zero so you will need to rug up — thermals, beanies, gloves, scarves, layers of warm clothing, even bring an extra pair of woolly socks. It can also be quite hot during the day, so also remember to bring a t-shirt, hat and sunscreen
- You will need to walk long distances, about 8km, up very steep and uneven dirt roads — remember to bring sensible walking shoes, thongs just won’t do
- Large crowds, limited public utilities, traffic and security arrangements can result in long waiting periods — but good Aussie humour and patience means that visitors are usually in good spirits
- Some food vendors will be onsite but it’s a good idea to bring plenty of water and snacks with you
- Gallipoli is a place close to the hearts of Australians, New Zealanders and the Turkish people. Please respect this sacred place
- Register with www.dva.gov.au/gallipoli — you will be provided with updates and information to make the most of your trip. This site also instructs you on what to bring and not bring with you.
Anzac Day at Gallipoli
Anzac Day marks the date of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
They landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, and some 8700 Australians died and a further 19,000 were wounded before the battlefield was evacuated eight months later.
There are four services held on Anzac Day at Gallipoli;
- Dawn Service at the Anzac Commemorative Site, and following the Dawn Service;
- Australian Memorial Service, Lone Pine;
- Turkish 57th Regiment Memorial Service, Turkish 57th Regiment Memorial; and
- New Zealand Memorial Service, Chunuk Bair.
What to expect at Anzac Cove on 24-25 April
The Anzac Commemorative Site usually opens to visitors from 6pm on 24 April. All visitors arrive as part of a tour group. Coaches will drop passengers off about 1km from the site. This will be the last time you’ll see your coach until after the services on 25 April.
After passing through the security check point, visitors make their way to the Anzac Commemorative Site. Seating is available in stands or you may sit on the grass.
During the night a reflective program is presented including historic documentaries, live interviews and music from the First World War era, performed by musicians from the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces.
After the Dawn Service, visitors make their way up to the Australian memorial at Lone Pine. The walk is around 3km including 1.5km up a steep, winding and uneven dirt road, and is followed by some security screening at Lone Pine. This walk can be difficult for people who are elderly, unfit or have medical conditions.
Following the Australian service at 10am, the New Zealand service at Chunuk Bair begins at 12.30pm.
After the New Zealand service is finished it’s time to get back on the coaches. It can take a couple of hours to get every visitor back on their coach, but the good humour and patience of visitors makes the time pass quickly.
What else is at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli?
There are many other areas in the Anzac battlefield that you will be able to visit while you are in Gallipoli.
An online walking guide can be downloaded from www.anzacsite.gov.au – the guide outlines key areas in the Anzac battlefield including:
- Ari Burnu cemetery;
- Beach cemetery, where Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick is buried;
- Anzac Cove
- Shrapnel Valley
- Pluggers Plateau
- Johnston’s Jolly; and
- The old trench lines
For the latest travel advice, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Smartraveller website www.smartraveller.gov.au
Also read: Diggers sipped rum, not beer, at Gallipoli
Also read: Anzac Day services in London