Order of Service

All Commemoration ceremonies within NSW should follow a standard Order of Service.

Flags should be at half-mast prior to the commencement of the service, then raised to masthead during Rouse (Reveille at Dawn Services). On ANZAC Day, the flag should be lowered back to half-mast at the conclusion of the Dawn Service until midday, when any flags are to be raised to the masthead.

In accordance with Motion 6.4, that was carried by delegates at the 2023 Annual General Meeting, RSL NSW endorses the use of the Australian Flags booklet issued by the Australian Government as the correct protocol for the use of official flags by RSL NSW sub-Branches.

The words “thank you” should not be spoken until the conclusion of the service.

Wreath laying during the Act of Remembrance should be limited to the reading out of the official party only, followed by a call for all other wreath layers to come forward. A suggested wreath laying order can be found below.

Representatives of:

  • The people of New South Wales (Governor of NSW)
  • Government (Premier)
  • Veterans (RSL, War Widows, Legacy)
  • Australian Defence Force
  • Others

The suggested procedure for the laying of a wreath is as follows:

  • the person moves-up to the memorial with the wreath in the left hand or both hands,
  • the person halts, pauses, lowers and then lays the wreath,
  • the person adopts the attention position, takes one pace rearwards, pauses and salutes if the person is wearing military uniform and headdress; and
  • the person pauses again and then moves away from the memorial.

If the person laying a wreath is not wearing military uniform, the person is to bow their head and pauses to remember after taking one pace rearwards. The is no requirement to place the right hand on the left breast pocket, i.e. over the heart region when a person bows their head and pauses to remember.

During the laying of wreaths, lament may be played by a piper, a musical compliment from a band or a solo vocalist. Lament commences immediately when the first personage moves forward towards the memorial. Lament concludes immediately when the last personage has moved away from the memorial after laying a wreath.

Memorial guides should be positioned in a location close to the memorial (one on either side) to assist guests as required when laying their wreaths.

Commemoration Order of Service

  • Arrival of guests
  • Band march on (where applicable)
  • Arrival of official guests (includes Premier, Prime Minister)
  • Arrival of Her Excellency includes Vice Regal Salute
  • Mounting of Catafalque Party
  • Official commencement of service and welcome by MC
  • Welcome to / Acknowledgement of Country
  • Chaplain Dedication/Prayer
  • Commemoration Address
  • Hymn
  • Act of Remembrance
  • Flag party march on
  • Wreaths laid accompanied by playing of lament
  • The Ode (recited by a veteran)
  • Last Post
  • One minute’s silence
  • Rouse, Note: Reveille is played at Dawn Services only
    The Royal Australian Navy Band only plays Reveille
  • Benediction/Prayer
  • National Anthem
  • Dismounting of Catafalque Party
  • Departure of Her Excellency, including a Vice Regal Salute
  • Departure of official guests
  • Band march off (where applicable)
  • Flag party march off
  • Completion of service