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Villers-Bretonneux

Anzac Day Service

Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Anzac Day Services

Snapshot
Service: Anzac Day Service
Date: Thursday, 25 April 2019
Time: TBA:
TBA: Australian National Memorial opens
TBA: Official commemoration 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: The Australian National Memorial, (outside the village of) Villers-Bretonneux
Weather: Extremely cold (close to freezing)
Attendance Passes: TBA
Visa requirements: Australian Passport holders – check your visa requirements
Security: Airport-style screening, including restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels
Important notes: Due to the installation of technical equipment for the conduct of the commemoration, for safety reasons the central tower of the Australian National Memorial will be closed to the public from 22-26 April 2019

Links to further information

Introduction

On 25 April 2019 we will gather at the Australian National Memorial (ANM) situated next to the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery just north of the village of Villers-Bretonneux, France. The ANM is the site of an intense battle fought over 100 years before as part of wider efforts to halt a German spring offensive which was threatening to win them the war.

Throughout early April, in 1918, Australian units helped defend Villers-Bretonneux from this onslaught, but at dawn on the 24 the Germans attacked and captured the town. Leading the British counter attack, the Australian 13 and 15 Brigades enveloped the town and successfully cleared it of Germans on 25 April, the third anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli.

The Commemoration, on 25 April 2019, not only commemorates this remarkable action which effectively ended the German offensive launched a month prior but also marks the 104 anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli.

Getting to the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux

The Australian National Memorial (ANM) is located approximately 20km east of Amiens and is roughly half-way between the town of Villers-Bretonneux and the towns of Corbie and Fouilloy. Amiens is situated approximately 150km north of Paris.

Traffic arrangements

Traffic management is the responsibility of and managed by French Authorities.

The ANM is located approximately 90 minutes drive north of Paris and sits adjacent to the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery. It is located on Route de Villers-Bretonneux 80800 Fouilloy, 20km east of Amiens and is roughly half-way between the town of Villers-Bretonneux and the towns of Corbie and Fouilloy.

Walk — for residents and those staying in Villers-Bretonneux, Corbie or Fouilloy

For those residents of, or visitors staying in, the towns of Villers-Bretonneux, Corbie or Fouilloy they are able to walk to the ANM. These visitors will be directed along pedestrian/bike path which will be illuminated for safety. The walk from Villers-Bretonneux is approximately 45 minutes (3.7km) and the walk from Corbie and Fouilloy will take approximately 30 minutes (2km). At the end of the pathways visitors will enter the ANM and move through airport-style security screening.

Tour coaches and tour operators

If you are a tour operator and have not made contact with the department, please send your contact details to overseascommemorations@dva.gov.au so that we can ensure you are provided updated information.

What to expect

Attending this centenary Commemoration is a once in a lifetime experience, but it is important that you know what to expect. The ANM has no permanent seating infrastructure or shelter. As the Commemoration will be in the morning at an outdoor venue, it is important that you ensure you are prepared for the very cold conditions experienced in November and the potential for wet weather.

There is a 300 metres walk uphill on arrival at the ANM, approximately two AFL field lengths, to access the seating area.

Security and crowd management arrangements will be in place, including airport-style screening and bag searches. A strict prohibited items list will be enforced. Instructions of security personnel should be adhered to at all times.

Limited medical support is provided by French health authorities 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.

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.

Large groups may not be able to sit together and there may be separation from group and/or tour guides. You should make sure that you have your guide’s details in case you are separated.

Accessible seating

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 to overseascommemorations@dva.gov.au so that we can ensure you are provided further details.

Accessible seating inclusions

  • Transport to and from the front of the ANM to the accessible seating area.
  • Access to a limited number of dedicated accessible toilets.

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 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.

Expected weather conditions

The weather on 25 April at the Australian National Memorial (ANM) is unpredictable, however, it is always extremely cold, close to freezing, regardless of whether or not it is raining. The average temperature recorded at the ANM has been -40 Celsius. The ANM is located on top of a ridge which is consistently exposed to wind varying from a light to strong breeze, contributing to the extremely cold conditions experienced at the ANM during the Anzac Day service.

In the 10 years that the service has been delivered at the ANM 50 per cent of them have experienced rain during the period people are on the site. This has varied from short, light showers to consistent heavy rain for the duration of the service with periods of sleet and even a short snow storm. Every year the French medical services have had to provide treatment to visitors to the commemorative services as a result of the cold and, potentially, wet conditions. It is recommended to bring warm and protective wet weather clothing against the elements.

Health, fitness and first aid

Visitors will often need to stand and queue for long periods at times, for security screening to enter the commemorative sites, as well as for the limited public amenities. You may be required to walk long distances, over rough and uneven ground.

Limited medical support is provided by local health authorities at the commemorative sites. If you require any medical equipment, including medications, wheelchairs or mobility aids, you will need to bring these with you.

Medical support is designed to deal with medical emergencies. It is recommended you bring Band-Aids, aspirin/paracetamol and sunscreen with you as these are not provided by the first aid teams.

What to take

Prior to progressing through security, you should bring photographic ID such as current passport (or a copy of their passport), current Australian driving licence, or current national identity card readily accessible and within reach for validation.

In your preparations, consider that you will experience very cold and sometimes wet conditions on the morning of the Commemoration.

You will also need to ensure they have everything needed for the morning in a small bag, or day-pack. Your bag should not be any larger than that allowed as carry-on luggage on a plane.

What to pack

  • Passport or appropriate photo identification
  • Wet weather and windproof jacket and pants
  • Warm clothing for single digit temperatures
  • Prescription medication (if required)
  • Non-perishable food and snacks
  • Drinking water (opened bottles will not be allowed through security screening, however, water will be available on site)
  • Sunscreen (for later in the morning)
  • Compact personal camera

Prohibited items

The following items are prohibited at the Commemoration:

  • Dangerous or hazardous items of any kind including fireworks, flares, lasers and smoke canisters;
  • Advertising or marketing messages;
  • Large backpacks (Day-packs, e.g. Aircraft cabin bag sized are acceptable)
  • Furniture or camping equipment including tents, folding chairs and stretchers;
  • Alcohol of any kind;
  • Glass containers and cans of any kind;
  • Opened bottles of liquid;
  • Flammable liquids;
  • Weapons or sharp objects, including umbrellas (a poncho will be issued in the information pack provided);
  • Large objects;
  • Musical instruments of any kind and any other object that may be used to cause a disturbance including air horns and vuvuzelas;
  • Hiking poles (Medical aids, such as walkers and walking sticks will be permitted subject to medical need);
  • Large flags or banners;
  • Professional photographic equipment (e.g. Large zoom lenses – no larger than 100mm, audio visual or cinematographic devices apart from accredited media);
  • ‘Selfie’ sticks and large camera tripods;
  • Drones and remote control devices; and
  • Any other item that might compromise public safety or enjoyment of the Commemoration or that is illegal under the laws of Australia or the host country.

Lenses with a total focal strength of greater than 100mm or any other commercial digital video equipment are not permitted at this Commemorative service. In order to preserve the solemnity of the commemoration, and as this service will be broadcast live, roaming by the general public to take photos during the service is not permitted. Accredited media will also be restricted to a media zone area.

These items can either be left in your vehicle, or surrendered for temporary confiscation at the security check point where your bags will be checked as part of the security screening process. Temporarily confiscated items can be collected upon return through the check point. If items are not collected upon return, they may be disposed of.

Laying a wreath

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

Members of the public who wish to lay a wreath or floral tribute (wreath/tribute) will have the opportunity to do so at the conclusion of the service. Those members of the public who wish to lay a wreath/tribute are required to register their details by emailing the following details to overseascommemorations@dva.gov.au - wreath laying registrations from the public will need to be submitted by 16:00 AEDT (06:00 GMT+1) 24 April 2019.

  • Your attendance pass registration Application ID number
  • The name and title of the person(s) laying the wreath/tribute
  • The name of the organisation/group or the person/relative being represented.

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.

Visit the Sir John Monash Centre

The brand new Sir John Monash Centre (SJMC) in Villers-Bretonneux is a must-see for Australian visitors. Opened on 24 April 2018, the Centre offers an outstanding Western Front experience for visitors. The Sir John Monash Centre tells Australia’s story of the Western Front in the words of those who served. Set on the grounds of the Australian National Memorial this cutting-edge multimedia centre reveals the Australian Western Front experience through a series of interactive media installations and immersive experiences.

You can download the SJMC app prior to your visit.

In order to visit the centre on this day, people will need to make a booking. Bookings will also need to be made in the days leading up to 25 April and for 26 April and the following two days due to the expected high numbers. To make a booking, go to: https://sjmc.gov.au/book-your-visit/

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. Visit the CWGC website to download the app.

Guides, apps and other event information

Australian Remembrance Trail

Explore the Australian Remembrance Trail online, with access to audio guides, interactive maps, images and historical information. You will step back in time, reliving the experiences of the soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force. Stay informed of updates to the Australian Remembrance Trail via The Anzac Portal.

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. Visit CWGC to download the app.

Australian Embassy in Paris

Find out about the broad range of events organised by local French communities in the Somme around November and throughout the year. Download the 2018 commemoration ceremony dates calendar.

Further Reading

Visitors wishing to locate a particular grave or name on a memorial to the missing should consult the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website to identify the exact location of the grave or name on a memorial to the missing prior to travelling to France or Belgium. Limited assistance may be available on the day.

Contact information

In Australia

Department of Veterans' Affairs

For Consular Assistance in France

Have you registered on Smartraveller? Visit Smartraveller for the latest travel advice.

Emergency helpline

Consular emergency centre 24-hour phone service:

  • Within Australia, phone: 1300 555 135 (local call cost)
  • Outside Australia, phone: +61 2 6261 3305 or
  • SMS, text: +61 421 269 080.
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