Thousands gather at Gallipoli

Thousands of Australian pilgrims have attended the Gallipoli dawn service, at the site where the Anzac legend was born 93 years ago today.


The journey to Gallipoli in Turkey has become a rite of passage for many young Australians and New Zealanders to honour the troops who landed on the beach in the early morning of April 25, 1915.

Video: Sydney remembers.

More than 8,000 Australians died during the eight-month Gallipoli campaign.

Australia Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon is at Gallipoli representing the Australian government.

Speaking before the dawn service and the Lone Pine service to begin at 1pm (AEST), Mr Fitzgibbon said the lessons learned from battles should always be remembered.

“The very folly of war is the first lesson,” he said on ABC Radio.

“Those campaigns on Gallipoli of course were a gruesome and a terrible, shocking and unjustifiable waste of human life and of course also some strategic mistakes were made.

“We should always remember the lessons learned.”

The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Shepherd, also is in Gallipoli.

Mr Fitzgibbon will deliver a speech at the Anzac Cove dawn service and later at the Lone Pine Memorial Service.

Trekkers flock to PNG

Meanwhile Kokoda Track trekkers swelled the numbers at this year's Anzac Day dawn service at the Bomana War Cemetery in Papua New Guinea's capital of Port Moresby.

Close to 500 people witnessed the service commemorating the Anzac spirit in PNG which saw several major military campaigns during World War II.

While more Australians died in other battles across PNG, the increasing popularity of walking the Kokoda Track, where 600 Australians fell fighting invading Japanese, has brought with it larger crowds at the Bomana Cemetery.

Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, commended Australians who fought on the Kokoda Track and those who now make the pilgrimage.

Last year about 5,000 Australians made the journey along the Kokoda Track.

Smith said the Pacific military campaigns during WWII were not only the darkest hours for Australians, but also PNG.

Smith, along with others Australian officials, have been in the country for the PNG-Australia ministers forum, firming a new era in bilateral relations.

“An agreement earlier this week, not only to preserve the special value of the Kokoda Track, but also to assist and improve the lives of those who live in the area, some of who are descendants of those Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who saved Australian lives,” he said.