Anzac Day Online

Anzac Day Online

From Gallipoli to the Home Front
 Stephen Groenewegen

From Gallipoli to the home front, our website features many sights and sounds of the First World War and Anzac Day commemorations.


The First Anzac Day

The very first Anzac Day was held on 13 October 1915. This 'Patriotic Procession and Carnival' was more a fete – as the title card suggests – than the solemn commemoration it is today:

Footage of the first Anzac Day, held on 13 October 1915 in South Australia as a 'Patriotic Procession and Carnival'. NFSA: 9572

While it was not the anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, evidence confirms that the citizens of Adelaide designated 13 October 1915 as 'Anzac Day'.

From 1916, Australia officially commemorated Anzac Day on 25 April each year.


First World War collections

On our website, you can explore curated collections related to these aspects of the First World War.

The Gallipoli Campaign includes images of Anzac troops in Egypt and Gallipoli, some beautiful hand-tinted glass slides and popular songs from the First World War era.

Life on the Home Front highlights fundraising efforts for the war, the manufacture of bullet cartridges and examples of distractions from the war like shopping, weddings and sporting events.

The following clip shows returned soldiers doing handicrafts, playing music and chatting with the nurses while convalescing in hospital. There were 170,000 war survivors dealing with wounds or illness, ranging from mental health issues to orthopedic, tubercular and rheumatic cases, in hospitals across the country. The Australian Department of Repatriation was formed in 1917 to help them, with the support of 600 doctors. This film was made to publicise their rehabilitation schemes:

Excerpt from  The Digger Carries On: Repatriation Illustrated, showing returned soldiers engaging in handicrafts, playing music and interacting with nurses while convalescing in an Anzac hospital, 1919. NFSA title: 10517

What did Australians watch at their local cinema during the First World War? Wartime Moviegoing includes clips from some of the movie-going highlights of the time.

You can listen to stirring and sentimental songs devoted to patriotic wartime themes in First World War Popular Music.

Watch the satirical animations of Harry Julius, whose political cartoons commented on the events of the day and served as propaganda for the Allied war effort.


More Anzac footage

The NFSA produced four short trailers with narration by Bryan Brown for the Anzac centenary in 2015, drawing on footage and stills from our collection. The above trailer focuses on life on the home front.

You can watch clips of the Anzac Cove centenary commemoration in 2015 and the 2002 state funeral for the last Gallipoli veteran from our Television News and Current Affairs collection.

Watch the full version of The Digger Carries On (1919), one of hundreds of clips we supplied in ultra-high definition (4K) for the opening of the Sir John Monash Centre in France in 2018.

See more footage in our Anzac Day curated collection, including footage of marches from the 1930s, 1940s, 1970s and 80s and how Australians commemorated Anzac Day during COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020. Explore the collection.


This article was first published in 2021. The text was updated in 2023.


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