Holy Day or Holiday?: On the Origins of Anzac Day in Queensland

This article, by Mark Cryle, was originally published on the Queensland State Archives website, April 2014.

Anzac Day observance in Australia did not begin as a government initiative, nor was it instigated by returned services associations. Indeed, in the lead up to 25 April 1916, the date of the first anniversary of the landing, acting Prime Minister George Pearce was less than enthusiastic about the event, suggesting that the nation might wait for a military victory before setting a date for commemoration.[1]

The idea of an ‘Anzac Day’ had been mooted since shortly after the Gallipoli landing in 1915 – and there were a range of events in 1915 so-named – and it was in Queensland that the first major organisational endeavours towards an anniversary commemoration began.[2] In the wake of a public meeting in the Exhibition Hall in January 1916 – attended by many influential public figures including the Premier T J Ryan, the Governor Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams and the Mayor of Brisbane, George Down – an Anzac Day Commemoration Committee (ADCC) was formed.[3]

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1 Response

  1. […] According to the records held by State Library of Queensland the ANZAC Day originated in Queensland. During the public meeting in the Exhibition Hall in January 1916, the Anzac Day Commemoration Committee was formed. Canon David John Garland is acknowledged as the main contributor of ideas around how the day should proceed, you can read the ““Citizens’ celebration” programme here. This week the Canon Garland Memorial – ANZAC Day Origins was unveiled at Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park. There is also an extensive article about the Committee and the origins of the ANZAC Day on the Queensland State Archives website – link here. […]

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