Commemorate VP Day

Victory in the Pacific (VP) Day commemorates Japan’s acceptance of the Allied demand for unconditional surrender, effectively putting an end to World War II, and six years of global devastation.

Saturday 15 August 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of Victory in the Pacific Day for Australians, Join us as we look back on the years of commemorations, cavalcades and camaraderie that underpin the Queensland war experience and recognise those who bravely served our nation.

This year, Queenslanders will commemorate differently than in years past, at home, online and inside the Anzac Square Memorial Galleries, with a variety of resources curated by State Library of Queensland.

Airman embraces his girlfriend, Brisbane, 1946

Image: Airman embraces his girlfriend, Brisbane, 1946
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Explore the full extent of Queensland’s involvement in the Second World War inside the Anzac Square Memorial Galleries – a free, digital exhibition located beneath the Shrine of Remembrance in Brisbane CBD.

The galleries, which are normally closed on Saturdays, will be open special hours this VP Day—from 10am to 2pm—to accommodate those wishing to commemorate on site. Visiting the galleries in person is a great way to explore State Library’s digital collection of stories, letters, photographs and historical artefacts, with our friendly Visitor Services team onsite to enrich your experience.

VP Day stories

From 10 August, Queenslanders can commemorate at home, and on-the-go, by listening to voice-activated letters and diaries written around the end of the Second World War. Just ask Google Assist or Amazon Alexa to “Launch VP Day Stories”. 

VP Day Stories includes a selection of genuine archival audio curated by State Library in partnership with Anzac Square. To help commemorate from home, the team has also offered to place a poppy in the gallery of your choice at Anzac Square in Brisbane.

Get started by simply saying “launch VP Day stories” using your voice assistant.

Accessing VP Day Stories is simple, just say any of the below phrases to your voice assistant:

  • Say ‘Launch VP Day Stories’ to hear a selection of stories from veterans retold from letters and diaries.
  • Say ‘Place a Poppy’ for the team to place a poppy in a gallery of your choice at Anzac Square.
  • Say ‘Listen to the Last Post’ to 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.

The technology for the project has been developed right here in Queensland with Coolum Beach based software start-up, Alkira, a recipient of the Advance Queensland Ignite fund.

Young men attempt to reach a higher vantage point on VJ Day, Brisbane, 1945

Image: Young men attempt to reach a higher vantage point on VJ Day, Brisbane, 1945
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Search through State Library’s exciting new interactive online tool, Explorer where you can view images and film from the Second World War and help document the story of Queensland by tagging and commenting on collection items. You can also upload your own photos from the time.  


State Library has transcribed more than 150 newspaper articles which provide a unique insight into the events that lead to the end of World War II and VP Day celebrations across Queensland. These articles allow you to learn more about community sentiment in 1945 and the joy and relief that was felt when peace was finally announced.  This collection is accessible via Trove.

The Anzac Square team have also curated a list of eBooks, blogs and personal collections relating to WWII. To access these resources simply become a member of the State Library of Queensland. Members have access to countless resources that explore Australia’s unique military history, including WWII.

eBooks, blogs and personal stories relating to WWII can be accessed via One Search.

Women assembling camouflage for the war, Brisbane, ca. 1942

Image: Women assembling camouflage for the war, Brisbane, ca. 1942
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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 involvement in World War II.

From 10 – 15 August, RSL Queensland will be projecting their Stories of Peace animation onto Brisbane City Hall to thank Australia’s Defence families on the 75th Anniversary of VP day. Find out more.


Listen to Prime Minister Ben Chifley announcing the end of the war against Japan, 15 August 1945. [V-P Announcement: Segment No. 179490 in Prime Ministers of Australia: A Compilation of speeches and interviews. Screensound Australia, National Screen and Sound Collection, Screensound Title No: 214438]

Crane paper

Origami crane, symbol of peace

Image: Origami crane, symbol of peace



Sadako Sasaki was just two years old when her hometown of Hiroshima was blasted by an atomic bomb on 6 August 1945. Like thousands of others, she developed leukaemia attributed to her exposure. During her illness, Sadako embraced the Japanese legend of “a thousand paper cranes”; it was said that anyone who made a thousand of these origami cranes would be granted a wish. After her death, they became a symbol of peace.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII in the Pacific, you can download instructions for origami cranes.


Learn more about your family’s war history by searching for war service records through the National Archives of Australia.

Explore the collections here.

Military parade of Australian soldiers in New Guinea

Military parade of Australian soldiers in New Guinea, ca. 1943-1944

Image: Military parade of Australian soldiers in New Guinea, ca. 1943-1944
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Wall of respect

Wall of respect

Image: Courtesy Department of Veterans Affairs, #OneInAMillion: Wall of Respect


Don't forget to share your VP Day experience with us by using the hashtags #AnzacSquare and #VPDay75 on social media.

You may also be interested in contributing to the Federal Government’s #OneInAMillion social media campaign for VP Day. Find out more.

Stay in touch

Be the first to know about upcoming commemorative events at Anzac Square by subscribing to our e-newsletter. You can also stay up-to-date with the latest news from Anzac Square by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.