Australia

Anzac Day centenary: Aboriginal and Turkish elements in ceremony

Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Australia Image copyright AAP, Lukas Coch
Image caption The Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour bears the names of tens of thousands of Australians who lost their lives

An Aboriginal didgeridoo and the story of Turkey's modern-day founder will be part of this year's special Anzac Day service in Canberra.

Up to 50,000 people are due to attend a dawn service at the Australian War Memorial on 25 April, said director Brendan Nelson.

Another 30,000 are expected at a National Service later in the day.

This year's Anzac Day commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings in Turkey.

Anzac Day is probably Australia's most important national occasion.

It marks the anniversary of the first bloody battle on the shores of Gallipoli - the first campaign that led to major casualties for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) during World War One - and commemorates all the conflicts that followed.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Australians commemorate the landing of Allied troops in the Dardanelles in Turkey

Special commemorative events will be held around the country for the centenary, as well as at Gallipoli.

The prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand will be joined at Gallipoli by Prince Charles and Prince Harry.

Turkish story

Dr Nelson said an Aboriginal navy serviceman would play the didgeridoo at the start of the dawn vigil, known in Australia as the Dawn Service and enacted every Anzac Day around the country.

"That is the first thing Australians will see," said Dr Nelson.

The Turkish side of the Gallipoli story has often been ignored by Australians but at this year's Canberra service, a senior officer from the Turkish military will tell the story of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Ataturk was a Turkish commander whose actions at Gallipoli were decisive in thwarting Allied plans to capture the peninsula, and who later became Turkey's first president.

The Canberra commemoration will also include a military parade with a fully-restored military gun and horses.

From Wednesday, images from the war memorial's archives of serving men and women will be projected on to the building and on Saturday six large screens will be erected so as many people as possible can watch the ceremony, Dr Nelson added.

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