Skip to main content

Anzac Day Dawn Service address, Darwin, Northern Territory


I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.

Good morning.

It is a privilege for Linda and me to be in Darwin for this year’s Anzac Day Dawn Service – to be here with you at this early hour at the Darwin Cenotaph.

The Cenotaph is a place of remembrance – where families of those who have served or who are serving, as well as the people of Darwin, can pause, remember and honour the men and women from the Territory, indeed all Australians, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.

Their names are here on the Darwin Cenotaph.

We remember them. We honour them. And we will keep honouring them. We will never forget their service to our country.

The Anzac legacy was not etched into stone at Anzac Cove. The Anzac legacy has evolved with each and every operation Australia has been involved in.

And for well over 100 years we have seen the Anzac legacy reflected in the manner Australians go about their daily lives, particularly when faced with adversity.

In recognising that the Anzac legacy was not etched into stone at Anzac Cove, we should also recognise that the current generation of serving men and women has successfully built on that legacy in their own way.

In saying this, I also acknowledge that many veterans have experienced difficulties as a result of their service.

We must support those who serve, and those who have served and their families.

As we do, however, we also should be proud that for a total of 30 years our Defence personnel have served in the air, at sea and on land, in a variety of theatres and on operations all around the world.

They have shown endurance, sacrifice, mateship and courage – the words we talk about as the Anzac legacy – in a way that would make our forebears proud.

The legacy that they created is now our legacy and we see it reflected back at us in Australian society. From that we should take pride.

We see it in many areas of civilian life. We also see it in our wonderful Defence families. In my National Anzac Day Address to be broadcast later today, Linda and I acknowledge, recognise and honour the critical role played by the families of our servicemen and women. They, too, are part of the Anzac legacy and, as a nation, we thank them for their support and sacrifice.

Let’s think about those words: endurance, sacrifice, mateship and courage. They are words we associate with this legacy.

They are abstract in nature, but I believe that they can be interpreted in the following manner:

  • That if you give us a job to do, we’ll do our darndest to get it done.
  • We’ll do it in a way that makes you proud.
  • While we’re doing it – and afterwards – we will look after our mates.

As a nation, we’ve seen examples of this recently in the way we have responded to fire, flood, drought and the pandemic.

Time and time again, in communities all around Australia, Linda and I have seen people that might be on their knees but who refuse to be defeated and who still see a positive future. It is incredibly inspiring. People are not wringing their hands and saying ‘woe is me’. They’re saying, ‘We’re going to sort this out. We’re here for each other. We’ll support one another until the job is done.’

Endurance … sacrifice … mateship … courage.

This is the Anzac legacy.

This is the legacy of our forebears and of our modern veterans.

This is what’s being lived and breathed by Australians all around our great country every day.

Every single day.

This is the legacy that helps sustain us, especially in tough times.

It is who we are as Australians.

That is the living, breathing embodiment of the Anzac legacy.

Lest We Forget.