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Hellfire Pass, Thailand

Anzac Day Dawn Service

Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre

Anzac Day Service

Snapshot
Service: Anzac Day Dawn Service
Date: Thursday, 25 April 2019
Time:

5:30am: Dawn Service commences

Seating style:

Non-allocated seating will be provided for visitors attending the ceremony on a first-come, first-served basis with individual chairs on the grassed area

Venue: Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre, approximately 3 hours drive northwest of Bangkok in Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand
Weather: Extremely hot and humid tropical weather
Attendance registration:

Not required

Visa requirements: Australian Passport holders — Check your visa requirements
Security: TBA
Important Notes: For further information regarding Anzac Day 2019 at Hellfire Pass and other Commemorative Services in Thailand, please visit the Australian Embassy Bangkok website

Links

Introduction

The Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre and Memorial Walking Trail is dedicated to those Australians and other Allied Prisoners of War and Asian labourers who suffered and died at Hellfire Pass and elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region during the Second World War.

During the Second World War, thousands of forced local labourers and Allied Prisoners of War suffered and died constructing and maintaining the Burma–Thailand railway. The Australian Government constructed the interpretative memorial in cooperation with the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand. The memorial, dedicated in 1998, was designed and constructed by Hewitt Pender Associates Pty Ltd, Australia and Woods Baggot Limited, Thailand.

The interpretive centre explains to visitors the story of why and how the railway was built and attempts to convey the hardships and suffering endured by so many who were forced to work in extremely harsh conditions. The Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre and Memorial Walking Trail symbolises the importance of this site to the Australian people. After visiting the centre, visitors are encouraged to proceed to the memorial walking trail.

The Office of Australian War Graves continues to improve visitors' experience when visiting the site. The audio guide tour introduced several years ago continues to be well received and many visitors and tour groups use the guide as they walk through the centre and along the paths to the memorial and beyond. The audio guide, available in English, Dutch, Japanese and Thai, provides a history of Hellfire Pass and first hand comments from ex-prisoners of war.

In 2008, the new access to the Cutting was completed and the carefully designed pathway and stairs now winds down below the contemplation deck providing safe, easy access. Maintaining the site with approximately 100,000 visitors per annum continues to be challenging for the Manager and staff.

Hell Fire Pass Interpretive Centre – What to expect

The official Anzac Day Dawn Service in Sandakan is conducted by the Australian Government and is made possible with the assistance of the local communities of Kanchanaburi. The service will be held at the Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre on Thursday, 25 April 2019, commencing at 5:30am.

The weather in the Kanchanaburi region of Thailand in April can be extremely hot (tropical weather). The Dawn Service is conducted outdoors and visitors are exposed to the elements, with limited sheltered areas. Tropical storms and downpours have been experienced at past services. Visitors should ensure they are appropriately equipped for hot, humid and potentially wet weather. This includes bringing bottled water and appropriate clothing. The surfaces at the Centre can become slippery due to rain and humidity, sensible walking shoes are recommended.

Limited medical support is provided at the Commemoration. Visitors should ensure to bring their own medication, including non-prescription pain relief medication as this is not available from authorities on site. The medical support provided is equipped for medical emergencies and is not designed to treat minor ailments.

What to take with you

A small day pack or small bag may be useful containing the following;

  • Wet weather jacket
  • Insect repellent
  • Bottled water
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat

Traffic arrangements

The local Thai police manage all traffic arrangements outside the Centre. Attendees are responsible for their own travel arrangements to and from the Interpretive Centre. No public transport will be provided.

Tour operators

Tour operators are advised to send their contact details to wargraves@dva.gov.au so that updated information can be provided.

Seating

Seating at the commemoration is not allocated or reserved (other than a limited area for Accessible Seating visitors who have registered) and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Some sections have restricted and/or indirect views of the Commemoration. There is a possibility large groups may not be seated together.

Mobility Assistance

Limited assistance will be available for visitors at the commemoration who have registered a health or accessibility requirement. Evidence from your General Practitioner may be requested to support your registration. Those requesting accessible seating are able to have one carer with them to provide assistance. Consideration may be given to accompanying guests. Unfortunately due to limited accessible seating, it is not possible to extend this service to others travelling with their groups, please send your contact details.

Visitors attending the Dawn Service who are unable to stand for long periods of time are advised to contact Overseas Memorials at wargraves@dva.gov.au or register by calling the DVA General Enquiries line on 1800 555 254 before 1 April 2019.

There is no wheelchair transport provided to and from the Sandakan Memorial Park.

Accessible seating exclusions

  • Personalised or dedicated one-to-one assistance
  • The provision of carers, wheelchair pushers, or physical assistance with seating or embarking and disembarking from vehicles
  • Wheelchairs, walkers or mobility aids — any visitor requiring this assistance must bring their own
  • Oxygen or personalised medications
  • Specialised support for ‘high care’ individuals
  • Support travelling to or from your accommodation

Wreath Laying

Wreath laying, by invited official representatives, will occur during the services.

Members of the public who wish to lay a wreath will have the opportunity to do so at the appropriate time during the service.

Members of the public who are laying a wreath/tribute are to supply their own and it is their responsibility to carry it with them, care for it and transport it to the Memorial. There are no facilities or arrangements for storage or transport of personal wreaths at the Memorial.

Guides, apps and other event information

Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre

Explore the Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre online, with access to audio guides, interactive maps, images and historical information.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's (CWGC) war graves app provides information about the cemeteries around the world and allows you to search for the location of an individual’s war grave.

Contact information

The Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre, managed by the Office of Australian War Graves with the assistance of the Thai Army.

The Dawn Service is coordinated by the Australian Government and consular assistance for Australians in Thailand is provided through the Australian Embassy, Bangkok, Thailand.

Hell Fire Pass Interpretive Centre

Tha Sao, Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi 71150, Thailand
Phone: +66 34 919 605

Australian Embassy, Thailand

181 Wireless Road
Bangkok 10330
Phone: +66 2 344 6300

Department of Foreign Affairs – Emergency helpline

Consular Emergency Centre 24 Hour Phone Service:

Department of Foreign Affairs, Canberra, Australia

R.G. Casey Building
John McEwan Crescent
Barton ACT 0221
Phone: +61 2 6261 1111

In Australia

Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Office of Australian War Graves

Freecall

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