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Villers-Bretonneux

Anzac Day Dawn Service

Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Snapshot
Service: Dawn Service, Australian National Memorial
Date: Wednesday and Thursday, 24 and 25 April 2019 (Anzac Day)
Seating style: Chairs on flat grass and standing room on grass
Venue: The Australian National Memorial, (outside the village of) Villers-Bretonneux
Weather: Extremely cold (close to freezing)
Attendance passes: TBC
Visa requirements: Australian passport holders — No/ Check your visa requirements
Security: Airport-style screening
Important notes TBA

Links to further information

Introduction

On 25 April,each year the Australian Government conducts a Dawn Service 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 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.

Planning and preparing to attend

Due to the large numbers of attendees this year, site open times have been extended. Visitors are encouraged to plan their journey and arrival times carefully to ensure that they have sufficient time to progress through security and obtain the best seats.

Visitors are strongly encouraged to arrive early to ensure they have sufficient time to progress through security.

For the comfort of visitors' complimentary tea, coffee and croissants will be provided at the memorial site from 12:00 am. A pre-service program of informative announcements, music from the Australian Defence Force Band and voices of Birralee Choir will also be provided in the lead up to the commencement of the official program at 2:00 am.

The ANM has no permanent seating infrastructure or shelter. As the Commemoration will be at dawn at an outdoor venue, it is important that visitors are prepared for the very cold conditions experienced in April and the possibility of wet weather.

Visitors should expect to walk 300-metres, uphill (approximately two AFL field lengths), after arriving at the ANM. Accessible seating and support is provided to those with a need (see accessible seating services). While seating will be provided for all attendance pass holders, seating is allocated on a first-in basis and some sections have restricted and/or indirect views of the Commemoration.

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

Transport arrangements

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, 20 km east of Amiens and is roughly half-way between the town of Villers-Bretonneux and the towns of Corbie and Fouilloy.

There is no parking close to the commemorative site. Arrangements for all attendees travelling by private vehicle, taxi or tour operator coach will be advised closer to the event.

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 Foilloy will take approximately 30 minutes (2km). At the end of the pathways visitors will enter the ANM, move through airport-style security screening.

Road closures

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

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.

Accessible seating

Assistance will be available for visitors at the commemoration who have registered a health or accessibility requirement, at the time of registration. 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.

Accessible seating inclusions

  • Use of wheelchair accessible shuttles along all event shuttle transport routes.
  • Transport from the coach set down point at the ANM to the accessible seating area.
  • Access to a limited number of dedicated accessible toilets.
  • Transport from the accessible seating area at the ANM to the event shuttle pick up point for transportation to the 'Park and Ride' facility.

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.

Other services on 25 April

Villers-Bretonneux Anzac Day Town Service (French Service)

  • TBA

Bullecourt Town Service (French Anzac Day Service)

  • TBA

Australian Service at Digger Memorial

  • TBA

Service-specific visitor items

Information tent

An information tent will operate from 21 April until 25 April. Staff will be on hand to provide information about the Anzac Day services as well as the cemeteries and museums in the towns along the Australian Remembrance Trail. The tent will operate before and during the commemoration on 25 April. See also 'lost property'.

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 at the information tent or by emailing the following details to overseascommemorations@dva.gov.au.

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.

 

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