The Centenary of the First World War (2014-18) will be a significant international commemorative event. Across the world, communities, individuals, families and governments will seek to make meaning of one of humanity’s most devastating conflicts.
The Anzac Centenary provides us with the opportunity to remember those who have fought and served in all the wars and conflicts of the last hundred years.
National Anzac Centenary Advisory Board
In 2011 the Commonwealth Government established a national Anzac Centenary Advisory Board to provide strategic advice and recommendations on the planning and implementation of Anzac Centenary events and initiatives.
In 2010 the National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary was appointed to provide recommendations to the Commonwealth about how this historic anniversary should be commemorated.
Read the Commission’s Report which was released in March 2011. It is currently being considered by government.
Read Victoria’s submission to the Commission made in September 2010.
Victoria during the First World War (1914-18)
Enlistment and service
112,399 Victorians enlisted for service in the First World War and 89,000 Victorians served abroad. Victorians represented 27% of the total First Australian Imperial Force (AIF) (416,809).
- 7.9% of the Victorian population enlisted
- 38.6% of the Victorian males aged 18 to 44 enlisted.
- 19,000 Victorians died during the war as a result of their service
Victorians won 17 of the 63 Victoria Crosses awarded to members of the First AIF.
Source: Australian War Memorial, Shrine of Remembrance
The first Australian shot
During World War I the first shot fired by Australian forces was from the batteries at Point Nepean. It was directed at the German steamer 'Pfalz', which was attempting to flee during the declaration of war on 5 August 1914. The ship was taken back to Portsea where the crew was placed under arrest. This shot also represented the first fired by British Empire forces in the war, and possibly the first fired by allied forces. Some historians also claim that this was the first shot of World War I from either side.
During World War One, Melbourne was the capital of Australia. From 1901 to 1927, when it moved to Canberra, the Commonwealth Government met at Parliament House in Spring Street. During this time the Victorian Parliament met at the Royal Exhibition Buildings. Melbourne was home to the Department of Defence, the Department of Repatriation and other government agencies central to managing Australia's involvement in the war and its aftermath. Australia's Prime Minister during most of the war was Billy Hughes who lead the nation from 27 October 1915 to 9 February 1923.
The last man and last shilling
It was in the Victorian town of Colac on 31 July 1914 that Andrew Fisher (Labor opposition leader and Prime Minister September 1914 to October 1915) declared that Australians will defend Britain ‘to our last man and our last shilling’.
Victorian military units
The following Military units were raised in Victoria, or primarily made up of Victorians: 5th Battalion, 6th Battalion, 7th Battalion, 8th Battalion, 14th Battalion, 21st Battalion, 22nd Battalion, 23rd Battalion, 24th Battalion, 29th Battalion, 31st Battalion, 37th Battalion, 38th Battalion, 39th Battalion, 46th Battalion, 57th Battalion, 58th Battalion, 59th Battalion, 60th Battalion, 4th Light Horse Regiment, 8th Light Horse Regiment , 9th Light Horse Regiment, 13th Light Horse Regiment , 3rd Pioneer battalion, 2nd Machine gun battalion, 6th Machine gun battalion, 10th Machine gun battalion, 15th Machine gun battalion, 4th Field Artillery Brigade.
For more information about military units see the Australian War Memorial.
The Shrine of Remembrance
Construction on the Shrine of Remembrance began in 1928 and was opened on 11 November 1934. It is recognised as one of the finest war memorials in the world and hosts over 120 ceremonies each year. The Shrine was officially opened on Remembrance Day (11 November) 1934.