The “incredible story” of Australia’s military will be remembered when the nation marks 105 years since the end of World War I.
Remembrance Day ceremonies around the country on Saturday will commemorate the more than 100,000 Australians who died at war and in peacekeeping operations.
Along with NSW Premier Chris Minns and Governor Margaret Beazley, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will attend a service at the Martin Place cenotaph in Sydney.
Poppies illuminated the sails of the Sydney Opera House at dawn ahead of the day’s observances.
Recognising current conflicts still raging across the world, Veterans Affairs Minister Matt Keogh will spend Remembrance Day in the UK with Australian soldiers training Ukrainian armed forces.
“For more than a century Australia and the United Kingdom’s defence personnel have stood shoulder to shoulder in the interests of peace and stability,” he said in a statement.
Halfway across the world, battlefield historian Mat McLachlan continues tracing the Anzacs’ footsteps through Europe and says even all these decades later, he’s still learning new things about the fallen.
He relayed the story of Phillip “Tubby” Clayton, an Australian Army chaplain who founded a military hangout in Poperinge, Belgium that remains open to this day.
“Tubby Clayton, along with Neville Talbot, opened an ‘everyman’s club’ which provided rest and recreation to all soldiers, regardless of their rank,” Mr McLachlan said in a statement.
“Tubby and Neville expanded out their charitable activities to begin the international Toc H movement, which continues to deliver social service around the globe today.”
At the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, the National Ceremony will kick off from 10.45am, with proceedings to be broadcast live on ABC TV.
Victorian Governor Margaret Gardner will lay a wreath at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance before that state’s service.
Pigeons will be released from the Shrine’s upper balcony, a nod to the peace and love brought by the signing of the armistice to end WWI in 1918.
The commemorations will come across a backdrop of lessening interest of the younger generation, with research revealing one in four Australians plan to shun Remembrance Day.
Opposition veterans’ affairs spokesman Barnaby Joyce implored those people not to turn their backs, reminding them they wouldn’t be here without the troops.
“It is incredibly important people remember those that gave their lives, were maimed, lost their marriages, became psychologically disturbed and left their lives behind,” he told AAP.
“We’re asked for one minute in return … it doesn’t have to be a big deal, just quietly stop and reflect.”