Skip links and keyboard navigation

How we remember

Since the Boer War in 1899, over one million Australians have served in ten wars. Since 1947, more than 30,000 have served in over 50 peacekeeping operations. During these engagements, more than 101,000 Australian lives have been lost.

Alongside this loss we also give thought to over 900,000 men and women who have returned from service. They walk amongst us in our everyday lives, often carrying a heavy burden from their experiences as they transition into civilian life.

Sharing our stories

Sharing family photos, reading letters home from the war, sharing stories, attending bold ceremonies and taking a moment for quiet reflection—these actions and many others help us to keep the memory of Anzac alive for generations to come.

In November 2014, we asked you to share with us the things you do to remember.
Here are just some of the stories people shared on what and how they remember.


My friends and I have been, for the past several years, loading up our tinnie and heading over to the northern tip of Bribie Island, off Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, before sunrise. We erect an Australian flag, light a little fire on the shoreline, and listen to the Last Post on Hutcho’s iPhone. We stand, arm in arm, heads bowed, have our own minute silence, and say a few words to thank EVERYONE who has served in our Forces for giving us the amazing lifestyle we enjoy and cherish... then say cheers and thanks; while we crack the top off a stubbie then paddle out on our surfboards to catch a few sliders. Thank you to all past, ex, and present, servicemen and servicewomen for everything you have done and are doing for our wonderful Country.


I quietly express my gratitude for all of the things I have, even the little things, but most of all family. I hold my boys so close and cherish them even more on Anzac day because the Anzacs were also someone’s children.


I read newspaper stories about France in WW1 as my Great Uncle was killed there.


I always tell the kids about my visits to the war cemeteries in the Middle East and in particular El Alemien and Beersheba. They have also been told of the fall of Singapore and the huge loss of lives from that part of the war. Lest we forget.


I post a message and photo of my dad on Facebook telling everyone how proud I am of him. I like to tell the stories about my Dad in WW2. I always buy a badge and I always remember my Dad.


I like to tell the story of my Grand Uncle Eric Bailey who was captured in Singapore and survived the Burma Thailand Railway. He always sought to put the war behind us and inspired many to strive for peace and happiness.


Write and send a story about a family member to my sons, decorate the house for Anzac Day with poppies and a tree of crosses to remember those many who never returned home.


I watch the Anzac Day parade every year on TV. Doing the family tree have found 1 of my husband’s relatives buried at Gallipoli and 3 at Flanders. Next year we are going to Gallipoli for the 100th on a special cruise. I am crocheting poppies to put on some of the graves next year.


My Grandfather was an aircraft mechanic in the RAAF during the Second World War. He was the only grandparent I knew while I was growing up. Each year, I wear his medals, along with my own, as a reminder of how he and I are connected.


I set up a blog,, devoted to my extraordinary great-uncle which explains everything and is illustrated. I spent so much of my formative childhood with him. Remembrance Day is most important to me.


I play my part in sharing Poppies on my Facebook wall in remembrance of my Grand Uncle who served in WW1 and died on the Western Front and my grandfather who died from war injuries from WW2 and taking part in re-enactment ceremonies as part of a military group as a Anzac nurse from WW1 to honour their memories.

Video 'How Queenslanders remember'

See how real people remember and honour those who served.

Get the Flash Plugin to see this video.

The history of Remembrance Day

After more than four years of relentless warfare, the guns of the Western Front fell silent at 11am on 11 November 1918.

This moment in time represents Germany’s call for an armistice and their acceptance of the allied terms of an unconditional surrender. This moment attained a special significance in the years following the First World War.

In 1919 an Australian journalist, Edward George Honey, published an article in the London Evening News appealing for a five minute silence on Armistice Day. Five months later a similar suggestion from another person was sent to the King, who quickly endorsed this. During rehearsal, five minutes proved too long and a two minute interval was agreed to.

On 7 November 1919, King George V issued a proclamation asking all people of the British Empire suspend normal activities for two minutes on the hour of the Armistice.

After the end of the Second World War, the Australian and British governments changed the name to Remembrance Day and the tradition of a two minutes of silence was popularly adopted.

In 1997, Governor-General Sir William Deane issued a proclamation formally declaring 11 November to be Remembrance Day. He urged all Australians to observe one minute's silence at 11am on 11 November each year to remember those who died or suffered for Australia's cause in all wars and armed conflicts.

The significance of the red poppy

During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium. In soldiers' folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground.

Moina Michael, who worked for the American YMCA, was so moved after reading Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae poem ‘In Flanders Field’ she decided to wear a red poppy. At a meeting of YMCA secretaries from other countries, Moina talked about the poem and wearing the poppy. Anna Guérin, the French YMCA secretary, took the idea further by selling poppies to raise money for widows, orphans, and needy veterans and their families.

The poppy soon became widely accepted throughout the allied nations as the flower of remembrance, to be worn on Armistice Day. The Australian Returned Soldiers and Sailors Imperial League (the forerunner to the RSL) first sold poppies for Armistice Day in 1921. Source:

Visit the Anzac Day website to purchase red poppies and associated commemorative merchandise or call (07) 3263 7118.

The First World War fallen

You can now explore almost 10,000 digitised military death records.

Preview the records and find out more.

Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia (CC BY-ND 3.0)
Last updated
3 December, 2018

Page feedback

Your privacy

Information collected through this form is used to improve this website.

Any information you submit that could identify you (e.g. name, email address) will be stored securely, and destroyed after we process your feedback.

  1. This page was
  2. We want this information to be the best it can be and we know we can’t do it without you. Let us know what you thought of this page and what other information you would like to see.

    We do not reply to feedback. Contact us if you need a response.

  3. Contact (optional)