Above: Anzac Day Dawn Service, Anzac Commemorative Site North Beach, Gallipoli, 2011
Australians visiting Gallipoli or France for Anzac Day Dawn services should prepare well and register for travel and service updates, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has advised.
For information on what to bring, what to expect, and change-of-traffic notifications in the lead up to the April 25 services, travellers can register for sms and email updates on the department’s website.
The DVA said while attending an Anzac Day Dawn Service overseas was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it was important to come prepared, especially as more and more Australians are making the pilgrimage each year.
To help, the DVA has issued the following tips to help you make the most of your trip to Gallipoli or France in 2013.
• The commemorations are held in a remote national park—you will need to make sure you have appropriate clothing, food and water with you.
• Ask your tour operator about what time you’ll be arriving onsite, and where/when you will be picked up after the commemorations – there’ll be many buses on the peninsula so make sure you remember your bus number too.
• Dress appropriately – there is no shelter at the commemorative sites and once you get off your bus, you will be exposed to the elements for up to 24 hours. Be prepared for freezing temperatures overnight, warm days, rain and wind.
• Large backpacks are not allowed on the site and need to be left on your bus. Ensure you have everything you need with you as you will not be able to return to your bus until after the end of all the services.
• Wear sensible walking shoes – you will need to walk long distances of up to 8 kilometres, up steep and uneven dirt roads. A moderate level of physical fitness is recommended to attend the commemorations.
• You can buy food and drinks onsite but alcohol is NOT permitted and will be confiscated.
• Many thousands of people attend the commemorations, the majority arriving on more than one hundred buses, so be prepared for long delays due to traffic and security arrangements.
• Gallipoli is a sacred place, close to the hearts of Australians, New Zealanders and the Turkish people – please respect it when you are onsite: take rubbish with you and avoid walking over the grave sites.
• Assisted mobility support is available onsite. Register your details with DVA as soon as possible to request assistance: email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (02) 6289 6274.
Above: Anzac Day Dawn Service, Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France, 2012
• The Australian National Memorial commemorative site is two hours drive from Paris and 20 minutes from the Somme capital Amiens.
• From 5:00 pm on 24 April until 12 noon on 25 April the road running past the memorial is closed to all private vehicles. To attend the service you need to either be part of a formal tour on a tour coach, be booked on a shuttle provided by Somme Tourism Board or you can park in the neighbouring villages and walk between two to four kilometres to the site. For details on shuttle bookings visit www.anzac-france.com.
• Assisted seating and mobility support is available for those who need help. Register your details with DVA as soon as possible to request assistance: email email@example.com or call (02) 6289 6261.
• The office of the Conseil General de la Somme provides tea, coffee and croissants to visitors after the Dawn Service. Ample toilets are available onsite.
• After the Dawn Service, bilingual community services are held in the nearby towns of Villers-Bretonneux and Bullecourt – all are welcome to attend.
• Dress appropriately – it can be very cold as dawn approaches and then warm-up later in the day for community services. Layers of clothing are encouraged.
To find out more about Anzac Day commemorations in Gallipoli, France and other overseas services, and to register for updates see: www.dva.gov.au/anzac.