Anzac Day commemorations have been an important part of Australia’s history since parades first began in 1916. There are a number of ways to mark this special occasion, honouring those who served and are serving.
With a little help from voice assistants Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant you can be transported back in time, to listen to the oral histories and diaries of past and present serving members of the Australian armed forces. These moving stories from WWI, WWII and beyond have been curated by State Library of Queensland for Anzac Square Memorial Galleries. You can also use Anzac Stories to play the Last Post and be guided through a minute’s silence. Get started by simply saying “launch Anzac Stories” to your voice assistant.
How to access Anzac Stories
Accessing Anzac Stories is simple, just say any of the below phrases to your voice assistant:
- Say ‘Launch Anzac Stories’ to hear a selection of oral histories from past and present serving members of the armed forces or stories retold from letters and diaries.
- Say ‘Ask Anzac Stories to Play the Last Post’ to conduct a virtual service and observe a minute’s silence.
- If you don’t already have an Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled device, you can still access the service by downloading the Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant app onto your smart phone.
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The experience features short stories about past war heroes and those currently in service from State Library’s collection.
The Ode that is recited on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day is the fourth verse of the poem “For the Fallen” written by the English poet Laurence Binyon in the early days of WWII. It was first published in The Times newspaper on 21 September 1914.
For the Fallen
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."
The poem can be found in First World War Poems From the Front by Paul O'Prey, and Imperial War Museum (Great Britain) Staff and is available online. Sign up for free State Library membership to access this ebook.
Learn about Indigenous participants in WWI
State Library of Queensland continues to discover and confirm Queensland Indigenous soldiers’ involvement in WWI. Listen to Des Crump discuss findings from research in 2018 here and discover a hidden history that has concealed these men and women for over one hundred years.
The State Library of Queensland’s collections provides members with access to a wide range of resources that explore Australia’s intriguing and unique military history. Sign up to become a member of the State Library and enjoy free access to countless eBooks, blogs, newspaper articles, journals and other resources from the comfort of your home. The Anzac Square team has created lists of eBooks, blogs and personal stories to help you navigate the collections. The eBook collection related to Australia’s involvement in war can be accessed here.
Personal stories and content found in the Anzac Square Memorial Galleries can be found here.
Are you looking for things to do indoors? Stay entertained with Kanopy, an on-demand film streaming service that provides access to over 30,000 films, including classic Australian, independent, world movies and documentaries.
Sign up for free State Library membership, log into the Kanopy database, create a Kanopy account and start your film journey today. The Anzac Square team has created a playlist for you of films and documentaries that relate to Australia’s military history. It can be accessed here.
The tradition of Anzac Biscuits goes back to WWI when they were baked and sent in care packages for soldiers. They are a simple biscuit, made without eggs so they were able to last long journeys overseas. Over the years, the recipe has remained fairly consistent. Originally, they were known by several different names, including Red Cross Biscuits, Soldier Biscuits and Nutties. We found a recipe for Anzac Biscuits in a newspaper article on Trove.
- Two break- fast-cupfuls John Bull oats,
- half-cupful sugar,
- one scant cupful plain flour,
- half-cupful melted butter.
- Mix one tablespoonful of golden syrup,
- 2 tablespoonfuls boiling water,
- and one teaspoonful of soda till they froth; then add the melted butter.
- Mix in dry ingredients and drop in spoonfuls on a floured tray.
- Bake in a slow oven.
A recipe for Nutties can be found in the publication 'Secret Recipes' published by Atlas Press, a Melbourne publishing house. It was part of the 'Veritas Library' series. According to the book, 'The Veritas Library employs Returned Soldiers who, owing to disablements and other causes, are unable to follow their pre-war occupations. Every returned soldier or other salesman who has authority to sell this book, carries a letter of declaration from the Publishers, constituting their authority to sell.'
Two-up was popular with Australian soldiers during WWI and WWII and has become an Anzac Day tradition. The simplicity of the game, requiring only two coins and a patch of reasonably level ground, made it as portable as the troops themselves. During and after the First World War, Two-Up became entangled in the digger legend that began to shape ideas of an Australian national character.
The diggers’ legendary enthusiasm for Two-Up, as well as their disregard for its illegality, was used for promoting a shared ideal about the Australian character that involved mateship, fair play, anti-authoritarianism and resourcefulness in the face of adversity. The association between Australian diggers and Two-Up was has now become an Anzac Day ritual, with games of two-up played nationwide after Anzac Day memorial services.
And don’t worry, since February 2012, it has been legal to play Two-Up in Queensland RSL clubs.
You can use your smart phone to play a game of Two-Up with your household. Just say, ‘Alexa, let’s play Two Up’ to launch the Two Up Skill and enjoy a few games with your family, partner or housemates. If you don’t already have an Alexa-enabled device, you can still access the service by downloading the Amazon Alexa app onto your smart phone. More information is available on the Alexa Skills page.