Follow in the footsteps of Queenslanders past and present, who have been coming to Anzac Square for almost a century, to commemorate Australia’s service community.
As ground zero for the State’s key commemoration events, Anzac Square and Memorial Galleries attract thousands of people from across the country each year, looking to uphold the spirit and traditions of the ANZAC’s including on Australia’s two major days of remembrance, Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, as well as for other key events.
Victory in the Pacific (VP) Day – 15 August
After the Japanese surrender to the allies on 14 August 1945, the Australian Prime Minister announced the official end of WWII on 15 August 1945, and this day is commemorated annually as Victory in the Pacific or VP Day. In some countries, it is also known as Victory over Japan or VJ Day. The first VP Day was celebrated with jubilation as crowds filled streets in towns and cities across the nation, including at Anzac Square, to celebrate the much-anticipated end of WWII. Today VP Day remains an occasion to commemorate all those Australians who served and died in WWII, and especially those who served and fought in the War in the Pacific.
Vietnam Veterans’ Day – 18 August
Approximately 60,000 Australians served their country in Vietnam between 1962 and 1972 and the day now commemorated as Vietnam Veterans’ Day is the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, which took place on 18 August, 1966. This infamous battle, involving Delta Company of 6RAR, saw 108 Australians, who were vastly outnumbered by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces, endure a long, brutal attack in rain and mud in a rubber plantation near the Australian base at Nui Dat. Against the odds, the Australians prevailed, but with the loss of 18 of their men and dozens more wounded. In 1987, Long Tan Day was officially adopted as Vietnam Veterans’ Day and is now an annual occasion to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of all Vietnam veterans.
Remembrance Day – 11 November
The Armistice signed on the 11 November, 1918 came into effect at 11:00am that day and brought an immediate cessation of hostilities after four long years of fighting in WWI. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month thereafter became a solemn day of remembrance, originally observed as Armistice Day. Britain’s King George V introduced the observance of two minutes’ silence at 11:00am on Armistice Day 1919, in commemoration of those lost in and impacted by the war. During WWII, Armistice Day became known in Commonwealth countries as Remembrance Day, with its scope widened to include remembrance of all wars. In the United States, Remembrance Day is commemorated as Veterans’ Day.
Every year on Remembrance Day at the cenotaph at Anzac Square, you will hear a bugler play the Last Post and those gathered there will pause for a minute’s silence at 11:00am, in honour of the fallen. Many will also wear or place remembrance poppies.
Anzac Day - 25 April
Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during WWI – the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. The following year, on 25 April 1916, the first instance of Anzac Day was held in Brisbane, when 6,434 servicemen paraded through the streets of Brisbane before 50,000 onlookers.
Each year since then, Australians have gathered together on Anzac Day to remember and commemorate all those, past and present, who have served or died in war and on operational service. The annual dawn service and marches held at Anzac Square on Anzac Day are part of this major annual commemorative event, and are attended by thousands of service personnel, their families and our community who come together in the Anzac Spirit.
Victory in Europe Day - 8 May
On Tuesday 8th May 1945 the Allies accepted Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces on all fronts, bringing an end to hostilities in Europe in WWII. This action secured an end to years of carnage and destruction that resulted in the deaths, injury and displacement of millions of people throughout Europe. In countries all over the western world, Victory in Europe (VE) Day, as it became known, was celebrated with millions of people taking to the streets, dancing and singing, celebrating peace and mourning all who were lost during almost six years of conflict.
VE Day came at a time when many Australians were still engaged in the War in the Pacific, but many thousands of Australian men and women served alongside their allies in the European theatre of war from 1939 to 1945. VE Day therefore remains an important event here and an annual occasion for commemoration and acknowledgment of the enormous sacrifices made during WWII in Europe.
Illustrated covers from The Queenslander
The Queenslander was the weekly summary and literary edition of the Brisbane Courier (now The Courier-Mail). Launched by the Brisbane Newspaper Company in 1866, it was published until 1939. In 2009 State Library digitised around 1000 coloured covers and pages from The Queenslander.
All of the covers can be found in One Search, the library catalogue and copies of a selection of them can be ordered through the Library Shop. The complete contents of the newspaper is also available online via Trove.