Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service



Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park



Friday 31 May, 10:40am





1300 679 775


Service Information

The ceremony continues to gather momentum since its inception in 2007, in uniting Australians to remember and honour the service and sacrifice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans. The exceptional guest speakers and their remarkable stories continue to inspire our youth, indigenous and non-indigenous alike.


Since the Boer War, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have fought for Australia. It is known at present that at least 1000 First Nation peoples served in the First World War. Of these, 13 are known to have been killed in action fighting at Gallipoli, five of which have no known graves.


After the First World War, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans found their war service did not bring an end to discrimination. It is estimated 3,000 Indigenous Australians served in the Second World War, and in proportion to population, no community in Australia contributed more to the war effort than the Torres Strait Islander people. Around 745 of these joined the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion formed specifically to defend the Torres Strait.


The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who served in the First and Second World Wars varies greatly. As ethnicity was not noted on enlistment documents an accurate figure will never be known, it has been suggested that more than 3,500  of them served in these conflicts.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples went on to serve in Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam in the years after the Second World War. Since Vietnam, they have served with the Australian Defence Force in conflicts and other operations around the world.


And today Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are proudly serving in all branches of the Australian Defence Force.


The service is open to the public, with general public viewing areas available around the Pool of Reflection. 


A promotional poster is available to download here.



The service will be live streamed via the RSL NSW and the Anzac Memorial Facebook page.

A copy of the order of service can be downloaded here.


School Information

Recommended arrival time: by 10:20am

Ceremony time: 10:40am to 12:00pm

Dress: School uniform


Site plan: Click here to view the site plan which outlines seating areas, bathrooms and first aid locations.


School Resource Pack: Click here to view and download the resource pack.


Wreath laying: During the service students will be invited to lay a wreath or floral tribute at the base of the Anzac Memorial steps, allowing schools to commemorate the sacrifices made by Australian servicemen and women.


This is optional and the supply/expense of a wreath or floral tribute is the responsibility of each individual school. We encourage schools to make a wreath or floral tribute, as opposed to purchasing them. The connection to your local flora and native plant life is an important element of the service, as they link to country and this simple activity will help reinforce this message.


You can search for your local flora species on the following website, simply enter your local government area and hit search: https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/search/spatial.htm 


It is requested a maximum of 2 students from each school be selected to lay the wreath or floral tribute on their school’s behalf to limit overcrowding at the Memorial steps.


Students should keep the wreath or floral tribute with them during the service and line up along either side of the Pool of Reflection when the wreath laying portion of the service is announced. Students should follow the directions of Anzac Memorial guides during the wreath laying.


Registered schools will have their names read out in alphabetical order. It is not necessary for students to wait until their school’s name is read out to lay the wreath.


Seating: Seating for students is generally on the grass/ground and pathways around the Pool of Reflection in front of the Anzac Memorial.


Access requirements: Please advise your sector representative if you have students attending that require specific access requirements. Sector representative details can be found below.


Photography: Students and staff attending the Service should be aware that photographers and videographers will be present during the service. Students attending should have appropriate permission to publish in place. Students are encouraged to stay at the conclusion of the service for photographs with veterans and current serving personnel at the Anzac Memorial. Please gather near the wreaths.


Transport and parking: The nearest railway station is Museum Station, with public buses from Circular Quay and Central Station passing Hyde Park. There are no parking facilities available near the Memorial. It is not possible for vehicles to enter and remain at or near the site. Any school buses should drop off and pick up in surrounding streets in accordance with parking, no stopping or standing and bus stop regulations.


Weather precautions: There is limited shelter at the venue. Schools attending should be aware of weather forecasts for the day and be prepared for changeable conditions. It is recommended to bring wet weather apparel, a waterproof sheet to sit on; appropriate sun protection including hat and sunscreen; and drinking water.


Security arrangements: Anzac Memorial security will be present at the event. Schools should note Hyde Park is a readily accessible public park which attracts a considerable amount of foot traffic at all times during the day.


First Aid: St John Ambulance will be in attendance.


Toilets: Portable toilets will be available at the service.


Sector contacts: Please register your school’s attendance with the relevant sector representative.

Department of Education: David Ella David.ella@det.nsw.edu.au

Association of Independent Schools NSW: Rosalyn Thomas RThomas@aisnsw.edu.au

Catholic Schools NSW: Sharon Cook sharon.cooke@csnsw.catholic.edu.au