Posted in School, Typical Australian

School Anzac Day ceremony

ANZAC day is not until Monday, which is a public holiday, so the schools had their ceremony today. Previously the ceremony was only for the grades three and up, this year all the students were there. And, parents and friends were invited, so a nice opportunity for me to experience another school tradition.

Last year Oliver was on his first trip to Melbourne and he stayed in a hotel near the Shrine of Remembrance when he stumpbled upon the Dawn service in the city on Anzac Day. This year it is very hard to miss. It seems to be a very well kept and important tradition. Starting from Anzac biscuits found in every store to people talking about it.

A couple weeks ago, when we were in our Peninsula road trip, the coffee vendor at the beach already had his sign up that he would be closed on ANZAC day. He always works during Christmas and New Years, but Anzac Day is his day off. He goes to the city the night before and brings his swag (a one person bivak-tent that is really popular here), so he is in the city for sunrise. At sunrise and at sunset the ones who were killed during a war are remembered, as I learned today.

Anyway, back to Essex Heights Primary school.  At 10 o’clock all the teachers and children interrupted their work and came out of the class rooms to gather around the flag posts.

The whole school gathered around the flag poles.
The flags went half-mast, always an impressive feeling, especially when it is done by kids.

In the past week they all spoke about Anzac Day in class. Even Kai came home talking about the first World war and Anzac Day.

There were speeches from 6th graders, the blowing of the horn, someone from the military giving a speech and the singing of the national Anthem. Mr. Crosset, the principle, clearly explained all the ceremonies, like the lowering of the flags, the minute silence and flowers are put around the flags. But most importantly, that it is very important to stay quiet during the ceremonies, as that as the way that you show respect. It is impressive to see this being followed by 500+ children from 5-12 years old.

Then the children brought flowers that they made themselves.


Every class made a one, so it was an impressive amount

Tree planting

Last year  it was one hundred years ago, that during World War I, forces from Australia and New Zealand landed on the peninsula of Gallipoli, which is the reason to celebrate Anzac day. This year schools across Australia are donated a ‘Gallipoli Oak’ that has been grown from an oak on the Gallipoli peninsula.
The ‘Gallipoli oak’ is ready for planting.
This ‘tree’, is a slow growing oak, so at the moment it looks more like a scrub than a tree, but it is a nice piece of history to come. Years from now people will look at this tree, read on the sign why it is there and take a step back in time, maybe even with a short stop to today. If the tree will manage to get big and strong that is….I am sure the school will do its best.
And with military precision it is planted into the ground.
A day with a lot of ceremony. Including the lowering of the flag, singing the national anthem and a minute silence. With the whole school there actively participating it is all quite impressive.
If you are Australian these ceremonies are probably common to you, as you were raised with them and you have been part of them for a long time. For a non-Australian they are not so common. Sure, we have ceremonies around the Second World War in the Netherlands, but you are never actually part of them, as you are here.


Mother, wife, explorer and loving the outdoors. We recently moved to Australia, so lots to explore here. We are keeping a blog about our experiences of moving and living on a different continent as a family.

2 thoughts on “School Anzac Day ceremony

  1. This is one of the most important remembrances for us in Australia. Not only at School but on the day Children are involved through community groups like cubs and scouts, to great great grandchildren of those have fought in war. In the last twenty years ANZAC Day has seen amazing resurgence amongst young people. It’s so great to see this respect for those that gave their lives that we might live in the freedom we do today


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