Anzac Day – Villers-Bretonneux, France

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Snapshot

Service:Anzac Day Dawn Service, Villers-Bretonneux
Date:Thursday 25 April 2024
Time:2:30 am: Australian National Memorial site opens to the public
4:00 am: Pre-service program commences
5:30 am: Official Anzac Day Dawn Service commences
Venue:The Australian National Memorial, (outside the town of) Villers-Bretonneux, France
Weather:The weather in France at this time of year is variable. The Australian National Memorial has no permanent seating infrastructure or shelter. As the Anzac Day Dawn Service will be held outdoors, at dawn, it is important all attendees are prepared for extremely cold conditions and the potential for wet weather. Attendees should ensure they come dressed appropriately and prepared for these conditions.
Attendance passes:Access to this Anzac Day Dawn Service is only permitted with a valid attendance pass. Register here for your free attendance pass.
Visa requirements:Passport holders - Check your visa requirements.
Security:Attendees must pass through security screening to access the site. Please note, restrictions will be in place on liquids other prohibited items as outlined in the Terms and Conditions.
Important notes:
  • In preparation for the Anzac Day Dawn Service, infrastructure and technical equipment will be progressively installed at the Australian National Memorial in the period leading up to 25 April.
  • For safety reasons, the central tower of the Australian National Memorial will be closed to the public from Sunday 21 April 2024.
  • For further information on travelling to France please refer to the latest advice from Smartraveller.
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Introduction

The Australian Government conducts the Anzac Day Dawn Service on 25 April each year at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France. The service takes place with the permission and support of the host nation, the French Republic and is only possible with the cooperation and generous assistance of the French Government.

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

The Anzac Day Dawn Service on 25 April 2024, not only commemorates the Anzac landings at Gallipoli but also approximately 330,000 Australians who served overseas during the First World War, including over 295,000 who served on the Western Front. Some 46,000 were killed and more than 18,000 remain missing on the battlefields across France and Belgium.

Further information regarding the Western Front is available on the Anzac Portal.

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Planning your attendance

Register your attendance – attendance passes

All attendees and tour guides planning to attend the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux on 25 April 2024 are required to register for a free attendance pass. Entry to the service will not be permitted without an attendance pass. Register here for your attendance pass.

Tour operator coach registration – accreditation passes 

Separately, all tour operators will need to register their coaches in advance for an accreditation pass through online tour coach registration system. Each attendee over the age of two arriving on the coaches will need an individual attendance pass.

See ‘Transport Arrangements’ below for detailed information.

French and international media – accreditation passes 

The Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) will require all media representatives to register for official media accreditation.

See ‘Important information for Media’ below for detailed information.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please remember to bring your photographic ID in the form of current passport (or a copy), driver’s licence, or national identity card with your attendance pass for validation.

Overview of the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial

The Australian National Memorial is located approximately 90 minutes drive north of Paris on Route de Villers-Bretonneux 80800 Fouilloy. It is situated next to the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery just north of the town of Villers-Bretonneux, France. The Australian National Memorial sits on the site of an intense battle fought as part of wider efforts to halt a German spring offensive.

Attendees are encouraged to plan their journey and arrival times carefully. We encourage attendees to arrive early to allow sufficient time to progress through security screening and obtain the best possible seat. Attendees who arrive early will also have the opportunity to view the pre-service program which commences at 4:00 am. The pre-service program is an educational experience designed to provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of the First World War. It comprises live musical performances by an Australian Defence Force band, short-form documentaries drawing on original footage and images of the First World War, and a projected Roll of Honour.

The pre-service program and Anzac Day Dawn Service will be delivered primarily in English, though some officials may deliver their remarks in French. Translation of the two languages will be provided throughout. An Order of Service book, translated in both English and French, will be available for all attendees.

The Anzac Day Dawn Service will be live broadcast to Australia by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). French and international media will also be in attendance.

The Australian National Memorial has no permanent seating infrastructure or shelter. As the service will be held outdoors, at dawn, it is important all attendees are prepared for extremely cold conditions and the potential for wet weather. Attendees should ensure they come dressed appropriately and prepared for these conditions.  Please note that while umbrellas are not permitted on site, in cases of wet weather ponchos will be available.

Limited rubbish disposal facilities are available and, where possible, attendees are asked to take their rubbish with them. There is no running water or power on site, except for those in use for the services. Mobile phone coverage is available at the commemorative sites, but there are no recharging facilities. 

Attendees can expect to walk 300m uphill on arrival at the Australian National Memorial to access the seating area. Seating is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and some sections may have restricted and/or indirect views of the service.

Accessible seating and support are provided to those with a need (see ‘Accessible Seating’).

Limited medical support is provided by local French health authorities at the service. Attendees should ensure they bring their own prescription medication and basic first aid supplies such as non-prescription pain relief medication and Band-Aids. The medical support provided is equipped for medical emergencies and is not designed to treat minor illnesses.

Complimentary bottled water is available on site after security screening. It is recommended that attendees bring adequate supplies of non-perishable food as required.

Children and infants

Please consider how well your child or infant would cope with the travel and environmental conditions appropriate to the service you are attending. It is important to remember that there are only limited toilet facilities, with no infant changing or parenting facilities on site.

If you are planning to take an infant under the age of two years to the service, they are exempt from holding an attendance pass however they are not afforded a seat at the commemorations and they must sit on the lap of an attendance pass holder.

Ticketek box office at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

In the lead up to the service, Ticketek will establish a temporary box office facility at the Australian National Memorial for the following period (all times are listed in France local time). Attendees can visit the box office to collect their attendance pass or replace damaged or lost passes.

Sunday 21 April 2024

9:30 am - 4:00 pm

Monday 22 April 2024

9:30 am - 4:00 pm

Tuesday 23 April 2024

9:30 am - 4:00 pm

Wednesday 24 April 2024

10:30 am - 12:30 pm

Security and safety measures for attendees

Security and safety measures will be in place for all attendees at the service. Attendees will be subject to security screening prior to entry. Any prohibited items as outlined in the Terms and Conditions will not be allowed into the site. Any items deemed as prohibited will be confiscated prior to entry. Confiscated items may be collected following the conclusion of the service.   

In preparation for the service, infrastructure and technical equipment will be progressively installed at the Australian National Memorial in the period leading up to 25 April. For safety reasons, the central tower of the Australian National Memorial will be closed to the public from 21 April 2024.

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Transport arrangements

Traffic management is the responsibility of, and managed by, the French authorities. Please follow all directions provided by them.

Getting to the Australian National Memorial

There is no parking at the commemorative site. All attendees must arrive by the following means:

  • Free park and ride shuttle (known as a car park shuttle) for those travelling by private vehicle or taxi
  • Somme Tourisme shuttle from Amiens
  • Tour operator coach
  • Walk from nearby towns (pedestrians)

Road closures

On 24 and 25 April there will be road closures in, and around, the towns of Corbie, Fouilloy and Villers-Bretonneux. More information will be provided in the lead up to Anzac Day.

Private vehicles

Limited parking is available for private vehicles at the Public Car Park located at 1 Rue de la Gare (D168) in Villers-Bretonneux from 1:30 am on 25 April. Free car park shuttles will run regularly through the early hours of 25 April to transport attendees from the Public Car Park to the Australian National Memorial. The final shuttle will depart the Public Car Park at 4:45 am.

These shuttles will return attendees to the Public Car Park following the service.

For attendees with accessibility requirements, mobility assistance shuttles will be available to assist in transporting attendees to and from the Australian National Memorial.

Somme Tourisme shuttle service

Somme Tourisme is offering a shuttle service, departing from Amiens train station, in Amiens town centre, to the Australian National Memorial. Two types of paid shuttle service are available, with tarrifs from 20€:

  • Short itinerary: departs Amiens station (in front of the Tour Perret) at 2.30am – returning around 8:00am 
  • Long itinerary: departs Amiens station (in front of the Tour Perret) at 2.30am, then transport to the Villers-Bretonneux War Memorial for the 9am Town Service. Return to Amiens around 11.30am 

Each shuttle will include a ‘coach captain’ to facilitate the organisation and management of participants and assist passengers as required.

Bookings for the shuttle service can be made through the Somme Tourisme website.

Tour operator coach

Attendees may arrive at the service by tour operator coach.

Tour operators must register their coach for an accreditation pass to allow the coach access to the Australian National Memorial to drop off and pick up patrons attending the service. Tour operators who register their coach will receive their accreditation pass, to display in the windscreen of the coach, when passing through the Tour Coach Checkpoint.

Tour operators are encouraged to register coaches for accreditation in advance using the online registration system. Registering in advance will assist in transitioning coaches through the Tour Coach Checkpoint in a timely manner.  Tour operators are to register their coaches online by 17 April 2024 at Tour Coach Registration.

Tour coach registration does not replace individual registrations; an attendance pass is still required for all attendees to the service.

Pedestrians

Attendees may walk to the Australian National Memorial from the adjacent towns of Corbie, Fouilloy and Villers-Bretonneux along designated pedestrian paths which will be illuminated for safety. The walk from Villers-Bretonneux takes approximately 45 minutes (3.7km) and walking from Corbie and Fouilloy takes approximately 30 minutes (2km).

Parking in these towns may be restricted on 25 April.

IMPORTANT NOTE: At the conclusion of the service, all attendees who arrived over a three hour period will be leaving the Australian National Memorial site at the same time. Attendees will make their way from the Memorial to the promenade area to await pick-up (if departing by tour coach or shuttle), or to walk to nearby towns. While the process will be conducted as safely and as quickly as possible, it may take up to 90 minutes (or longer depending on final attendance numbers) for all attendees to depart the site. We request that attendees are patient and understanding during this time. Please also keep this timeframe in mind when making travel and other arrangements.
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Key times

Thursday 25 April 2024

  • 2:30 am: Australian National Memorial site opens
  • 4:00 am: Pre-service program commences
  • 4:45 am: Last shuttle departs the Public Car Park
  • 5:30 am: Official Anzac Day Dawn Service commences
  • 6:30 am: Official Anzac Day Dawn Service concludes
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Seating

Seating at the service is not allocated or reserved (other than for officials and accessible seating attendees) and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Some sections have restricted and/or indirect views of the service.

Please note, large groups might be unable to sit together. You should make sure that you have your guide's contact details in case you are separated.

Accessible seating

Assistance will be available for attendees at the service who have accessibility requirements. Those requesting accessible seating are able to have one carer or companion with them to provide assistance. Unfortunately, due to limited accessible seating, it is not possible to extend this service to more than one carer or companion.

Attendees with an accessibility requirement will need to alert staff on arrival to the service. Please note, due to the variable size of mobility scooters and variations in power when travelling uphill, it may not be possible to facilitate their access to the site. Please contact commemorations [at] dva.gov.au for further assistance.

Accessible assistance inclusions:

  • Assistance to move to/from the accessible seating area at the Australian National Memorial
  • Access to a limited number of dedicated accessible toilets

Accessible assistance 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, mobility scooters or other mobility aids – any attendee requiring this assistance must bring their own
  • Oxygen or personalised medications
  • Specialised support for ‘high care’ individuals
  • Support travelling to, or from, your accommodation

You should consult with your doctor regarding the conditions you are likely to experience on site to ensure you can safely travel to the service.

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Wreath laying

Wreath laying, by invited official representatives, will occur during the formal proceedings as part of the service.

Members of the public who wish to lay a wreath will have the opportunity to do so at the conclusion of the service. You do not need to register your intention to lay a wreath. Individuals are responsible for the supply, care and carriage of their own wreaths to the Australian National Memorial and for the duration of the service. There are no facilities or arrangements for storage or transport of personal wreaths at the Australian National Memorial.

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Important information for media

The Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) will require all media representatives to register for official media accreditation. Accreditation is only required at the following site:

  • Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux

The accreditation for working media at the Australian National Memorial includes: journalists, presenters, reporters, camera operators, production crew, videographers, photographers, as well as individuals performing official photographer roles for VIPs.

Space at the Australian National Memorial commemorative site is strictly limited based on the safe, secure and comfortable carrying capacity. Specific accreditation caps will apply based on the space available in designated media areas.

Entry to the Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial will not be permitted without accreditation. Checking of media accreditation passes will be strictly enforced on arrival.

Anzac Day Media Accreditation

Media accreditation is required for all media personnel planning to attend the Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial.

To register for official media accreditation:

  1. Download, and complete the Anzac Day media accreditation form (DOCX 116 KB).
  2. Email your completed form with a recent passport-style photo (JPEG. or PNG.) to: commemorations.media [at] dva.gov.au with the following subject line: “Media accreditation registration France 2024”

You should apply for event accreditation by 11:59 pm AEST 19 April 2024.

Media accreditation passes will be available for collection in France from the DVA Media Team at a media briefing, and media representatives must sign for their accreditation (or have an agreed representative from their media organisation sign on their behalf) and produce a passport or other form of photo identification.

If a representative collects passes for other accredited members of their team, they will need to sign an agreement to provide any absent accredited personnel with the full details of the media briefing and pass holder requirements.

For media enquiries, contact commemorations.media [at] dva.gov.au.

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Post-service information

At the conclusion of the service attendees will be asked to remain seated while the Official Party departs and the post-service procedures are put in place. Due to the traffic arrangements, and the number of attendees, it may take some time for attendees to depart the site. We ask that attendees remain patient and follow the directions of government officials.

It is anticipated that many people will want to view the Memorial, which will still have infrastructure in place from the service. We ask attendees to be patient and listen to the directions of staff on the morning. Public safety is paramount. Due to the floral tributes and other infrastructure, access to the central tower at the Australian National Memorial will not be possible after the service.

Attendees wishing to locate a particular grave or name on a memorial should visit the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website to identify the exact location of the grave or memorial to the missing prior to travelling to the service.

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Other commemorative services on 25 April

Villers-Bretonneux Town Service (French Service)

Time:9:00 am
Transport:No transport provided, attendees need to make their own arrangements
Venue:French Monument, Town Centre, Villers-Bretonneux

Bullecourt Town Wreath Laying Ceremony (French Service)

Time:3:00 pm
Transport:No transport provided, attendees need to make their own arrangements
Venue:The French Square of Remembrance, Bullecourt

Australian Service at the ‘Digger’ Memorial, Bullecourt

Time:4:00 pm
Transport:

No transport provided, attendees need to make their own arrangements.

Park in the town of Bullecourt.

Venue:Australian Memorial Park (Digger Memorial) on the outskirts of Bullecourt

*Attendance passes are not required to attend the Villers-Bretonneux Town Service, Bullecourt Town Wreath Laying Ceremony and the Australian Service at the ‘Digger’ Memorial. However, when registering for an attendance pass to attend the Anzac Day Dawn Service, applicants will be asked to indicate their intent to attend these services to assist with planning purposes.

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The Sir John Monash Centre

The Sir John Monash Centre, located just behind the Australian National Memorial near Villers-Bretonneux, has been built by the Australian Government as a lasting tribute to over 295,000 Australians who served on the Western Front from 1916 to 1918, and the some 46,000 who died there.

The Centre is an enduring legacy of Australia’s Anzac Centenary Commemorations
(2014–18) and provides a unique and engaging introduction to all the sites on the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front.

The 1,000 square metre building is half-submerged in the ground to ensure a subliminal yet harmonious relationship with the Australian National Memorial and the surrounding landscape – regarded as a sacred resting place.

The Sir John Monash Centre is not designed as a traditional museum that focuses on objects, but rather an interpretive hub designed to engage people of all ages and nationalities. It relies on state-of-the-art multimedia displays to present the story of ordinary Australians in extraordinary circumstances.

Inside, the visitor is immersed in the Australian story, both through the Australian building materials and the personal stories of those who served and were affected by the war on the Western Front.

Moving, informative and interactive multimedia displays explore Australia before the war, the reasons our young nation went to war, the experiences of those Australians who served, and the impact on those they left behind.

Visitors will interact with the exhibits via the Sir John Monash Centre app, available for free download to their individual iOS and Android devices via the on site Wi-Fi network, or by loan devices.

The app is a virtual tour guide, allowing visitors to experience the site at their own pace and in their choice of English, French or German language. Visitors should bring headphones or earphones and have their mobile devices fully charged. Download the app on the App Store or Google Play.

Planning your visit – Sir John Monash Centre

The Sir John Monash Centre lies in the heart of the Somme region at the Australian National Memorial on Route de Villers-Bretonneux, 80800 Fouilloy.

The Sir John Monash Centre will be open from 8:00 am on 25 April. Bookings are required to attend the Centre on 25 April, and the days leading up to and immediately after, due to the expected high numbers.

To make a booking, go to: Sir John Monash Centre Bookings

Transport arrangements — Sir John Monash Centre

Due to road closures on 24 and 25 April in and around the towns of Corbie, Fouilloy and Villers-Bretonneux, access to the Centre may be impacted on 24 and 25 April. Further information will be provided in the lead up to Anzac Day.

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Guides, apps and other 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 (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.

Visitors wishing to locate a particular grave or name on a memorial to the missing should consult the CWGC website to identify the exact location of the grave or name on a memorial to the missing prior to travelling to the service. Limited assistance may be available on the day.

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Contact information

Australian Embassy, Paris France
Tel: +33 1 40 59 33 00
Email: consular.paris [at] dfat.gov.au

Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra Australia
Tel: 1800 838 372 within Australia
Tel: +61 2 6289 1133 outside Australia
Email: commemorations [at] dva.gov.au

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Emergency helpline 
Consular Emergency Centre 24 Hour Phone Service: 
Tel: 1300 555 135 within Australia  
Tel: +61 2 6261 3305 outside Australia 

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