Anzac Day 1917

Anzac Day procession in Brisbane 1917. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Neg: 22996.

Anzac Day procession in Brisbane 1917. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Neg: 22996.

One hundred years ago, thousands of people turned out all over Australia to commemorate Anzac Day, 25 April. In Queensland, processions were held in towns across the state. In regional areas, Friendly Societies, scouts, cadets, the fire brigade, the ambulance and all sorts of other local organisations joined together to process down main streets and to converge for commemoration. Some meetings involved musical items and local singers, as ceremonies honoured the fallen and paid respect to those safely returned. Anglican Army Chaplain Canon Garland, who was instrumental in the design of Anzac Day, received a report that the event had been observed as far north as Thursday Island:

Anzac Day. The Daily Mail, 27 April 1917, p.6

Anzac Day. The Daily Mail, 27 April 1917, p.6

In Brisbane, as it is today, the 1917 parade was a major logistic undertaking, combining military and naval, church and civilian interests. Separate services were held for different denominations, and a special parade was held for Roman Catholic troops. Arrangements were made for invalids and all returned soldiers to meet for a church parade at 10.30 a.m. at Albert square. Earlier in the month, a fulsome article in The Brisbane Courier outlined the plan for the day:

Anzac Day. Arrangements for commemorating April 25. The Brisbane Courier, 12 April 1917, p.4

Anzac Day. Arrangements for commemorating April 25. The Brisbane Courier, 12 April 1917, p.4

The Queenslander Pictorial Supplement contains some wonderful images of the procession, showing the saluting base in Albert Square and the long line of marchers, including naval cadets, artillerymen and returned infantrymen.

Page 24 of the Queenslander Pictorial supplement to The Queenslander 5 May 1917.

Page 25 of the Queenslander Pictorial supplement to The Queenslander 5 May 1917.

Page 25 of the Queenslander Pictorial supplement to The Queenslander 5 May 1917.

On the 25 April, The Brisbane Courier published a very patriotic, rather fierce article honouring the courageous achievement of those who had fought for the cause, and urging Queenslanders to not leave 'the work of Anzac unfinished'.

Anzac Day 1917. The Brisbane Courier, 25 April 1917, p.6

Anzac Day 1917. The Brisbane Courier, 25 April 1917, p.6

Robyn Hamilton - QANZAC100 Content Curator, State Library of Queensland

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