Anzac Day Dawn Service Information

The following is an excerpt from the Anzac Day Media Style Guide – Centenary Edition


Dawn Service

Timing varies according to location: dawn services can take place as early as 0430 in some places, or after 0600. The fact that the Gallipoli landings began around 0430 (after leaving the ships moored offshore at 0330) is coincidental. The timing evokes the ‘stand-to’, where troops were woken before dawn so that they would be alert and in position by first light. The experience of crowds standing quietly is now integral to the dawn service ritual.

Although DVA considers ‘dawn service’ to be a proper noun, media outlets do not. Accordingly, this guide uses lower case letters.

Some style guides advise that the term ‘dawn service’ should not be used at all, since officially the ceremony is a ‘dawn stand-to’. This is not common practice, however, and the term ‘dawn service’ is widely used and accepted by Australian media.

A typical Anzac Day dawn service includes the following elements:

  • Catafalque party
  • Ode of Remembrance
  • Last Post
  • Silence
  • Reveille
  • Laying of wreaths.

In some ceremonies the laying of wreaths now includes the laying of books which are later donated to libraries in hospitals and veterans’ facilities.