Explore Canberra on Anzac Day

Wake up at dawn and commemorate the ANZACs with these ceremonial activities until dusk falls in Canberra.

On April 25, many Australians will be in Turkey commemorating the landing on Gallipoli. Many more Australians will be paying respect to our troops here in Australia.

Most communities hold their own local ceremonies. However, if you are looking to reflect on our history in a unique way, a trip to Canberra can be eye opening.

Canberra is our nation’s capital city and is home to the Australian War Memorial. The city is an ideal location for anyone looking to immerse themselves in a powerful Anzac Day experience.

4:30am: Dawn Service

Dawn services are a core element of Anzac Day ceremonies. In Canberra, the dawn service takes place at the front of the Australian War Memorial.

From dusk, images of Australian troops will be projected on the memorial building. At 4:30am excerpts from letters and diaries written by Australians during periods of conflict will be read aloud. Following this, at 5:15am, 15 minutes of silence will be observed before the service begins at 5:30am.

The dawn service is open to the public and is extremely popular, so arrive early. Using public transport is recommended as there are many road closures during the day.

6:30am: The Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander commemorative ceremony

This ceremony honours all Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander troops which have served in the Armed Forces since 1901. This service takes place at the Aboriginal memorial plaque beside Mount Ainslie.

Two-Up from 12pm

A strong Australian tradition is playing the game ‘Two-Up’ at your local pub. This is a gambling game that was played by soldiers during World War I. It involves a “spinner” tossing two coins and players bet on how the coins land. This game has since become a huge tradition for many on Anzac Day across the nation.

Here are just some of the pubs and clubs in Canberra that play ‘Two-Up’:

  • Canberra Services Club
  • Siren Bar and Restaurant
  • The Dickson Tradies and Quality Hotel
  • The Canberra Irish Club
  • The Duxton

4:55pm: Last Post Ceremony

In the Commemorative Area of the Australian War Memorial, the daily Last Post Ceremony will take place at 4:55pm. This ceremony marks the closing time of the war memorial to the public for the day. This is a free event and typically finishes at 5:15pm.

5:15pm: Anzac Day dinner

After spending a long day commemorating Australia’s troops there are plenty of restaurants and clubs around Canberra where you can indulge in a feast. Many restaurants host special dinners on Anzac Day, however, when in doubt you can always turn to the local RSL to finish the day.

There is so much to see and do in Canberra, and while you are visiting our capital city you might need to extend your stay. For trip ideas and must-see sights, see why Canberra was named one of Lonely Planet’s Top Cities.