National Day of Commemoration for Darwin, 19 February each year


The Japanese air raid on this day was the first major attack on mainland Australia in history. It was greater than the bombardment on Pearl Harbour and was followed by another 63 raids over 19 months. On 19 February 1942 officially 243 people died, although in unofficial records up to 1100 casualties are mentioned. During the war bombs were also dropped on Port Hedland, Broome, Derby, Wyndham, Katherine and Townsville.



ANZAC DAY, 25 April each year

ANZAC Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day we remember all Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of ANZAC, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity. On ANZAC Day, ceremonies are held in towns and cities across the nation to acknowledge the service of our veterans.

Boer War Day, 31 May each year


The Boer War Day commemorates the first war in which Australia fought as a nation. In 1899 NSW troops were the first to join in this war followed by all of the other colonies and after Federation in 1901 Australian units took part. The Boer War was also the first war in which Australians fought alongside New Zealanders.

The 31st May is the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging that ended the South African War in 1902. Boer War Day itself is held on the Sunday before 31st May to enable working people to attend


Korean Veterans’ Day, 27 July  each year


On this day July 27, Australia commemorates those who served in the Korean War. A war that lasted from 25 June 1950 until the Armistice on 27 July 1953. This technically brought the war to an end. However, up till now the situation between North and South Korea remains unresolved, with hostilities occasionally still occurring.

Vietnam Veterans’ Day, 18 August each year


The Vietnam Veterans adopted 18 August as the day to remember all those who served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975. This day was originally known as “Long Tan Day”, commemorating the men of D Company, 6RAR, who fought in the battle of Long Tan in 1966. In 1987 Prime Minister Bob Hawke announced that Long Tan Day would be known as Vietnam Veterans’ Day. 


Battle for Australia Day, 1st Wednesday of September each year


On this day we commemorate the Battle for Australia and acknowledge the bravery of all those who served on the Homefront protecting our shores during the Second World War, the first time in history of European Settlement that Australia came under attack.

Remembrance Day, 11 November each year

Remembrance Day (11 November) marks the anniversary of the armistice which ended the First World War (1914–18). Each year Australians observe one minute silence at 11 am on 11 November, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts





Australian military history overview

These short chapters cover Australia's involvement in war, from the time of the first settlement at Sydney Cove in the 18th century to our peacekeeping roles under United Nations auspices, the First and Second Gulf Wars and Afghanistan. This material has been prepared by the Australian War Memorial's Military History Section.





Source: AWM, (Australian War Memorial)