What's happening: ANZAC Day


What is Anzac day?

Anzac Day on Tuesday 25th April is a national holiday in Australia and New Zealand. Anzac refers to the military formation acronym ANZAC, in reference to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It commemorates the 108th anniversary of the amphibious Gallipoli landings in modern-day Turkey during World War I, which was the first major operation by Australian and New Zealand forces in the campaign. The Gallipoli landings resulted in thousands of fatalities and eventual military defeat, with its significance in both countries fostering early ideas of nationhood.

Anzac Day traditionally involve Dawn Services that commence at 05h30 (local time). Services often involve flower/wreath laying ceremonies, lowering flags to half mast, recitation of the Ode and playing of the Last Post. While the celebration falls on the day of the Gallipoli landings, Anzac day serves as an opportunity to honour all Australians and New Zealanders who have fought overseas. National services and smaller services organised by charities such as the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) and Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RSA) will occur on a countrywide scale.

Each year, many Australians and New Zealanders attend services at Gallipoli itself. Several tourist trails are also available for travellers around the peninsula, which can be undertaken by foot or road. Globally, many other Anzac Day services are expected in major urban centres, including within the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, United States, South Korea, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates.

Risks associated with ANZAC Day

Australia & New Zealand

The main risk to personnel stems from operational and business disruption, which is highly likely throughout Australia and New Zealand. Localised disruption and delays are likely in proximity to war memorials and cemeteries, especially for national services, which can be attended by thousands. Road closures and heightened security are highly likely in most locations featuring an Anzac Day service and/or parade, particularly in major urban centres such as Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, and Wellington. Although demand for both private and public transport is likely before, during and after events, many transport companies will offer greater services to ensure people can attend Anzac Day services. Many non-essential businesses and government services will be closed, or only open from 13h00, on Anzac Day.

The security risks associated with Anzac Day remain low. Australia’s national terrorism threat level was recently lowered from ‘probable’ to ‘possible’ (second lowest on a five-tier scale), but attacks against Australians and New Zealanders domestically and internationally cannot be ruled out. Several extremist incidents have been thwarted in the past few years, with the primary threat emanating from ‘lone actor’ extremists. Most extremist plots are motivated by Islamist extremism - in a 2015 Anzac Day plot targeting police in Melbourne, teenager Sevdet Ramadan Besim was inspired by Islamist ideology. Both countries’ highly capable security and intelligence services reduce the risks associated with extremist plots, and no attack in Australia or New Zealand targeting Anzac Day services has been successful.

Small gatherings and anti-war protests are possible during Anzac Day, but the associated security risks are minimal. Amid ongoing support by Australia and New Zealand for Ukraine in its war against Russia, anti-war protests may occur. Small-scale demonstrations tend to be conducted peacefully and without notable extra disruption.


Security checkpoints will be established across the Gallipoli peninsula due to the heightened risk of terrorism in Turkey, particularly for access to the Anzac Commemorative Site, Lone Pine Cemetery and Chunuk Bair. In 2019, Syrian Abdulkarim Hilef was arrested by the Turkish authorities near Gallipoli for a planned bomb or vehicle-ramming attack suspected to be targeting Anzac Day services, as revenge for the Christchurch mosque shootings a month earlier. The Australian authorities warned of a potential terrorist attack targeting Anzac Day services in Turkey in 2017, with both countries recommending to defer travel to the Gallipoli Peninsula, Ankara and Istanbul. The authorities in Australia and New Zealand are known to release warnings concerning terrorist plots targeting Gallipoli Anzac Day services.

Advice for organisations

  • Behave respectfully and respect the customs associated with Anzac Day ceremonies.
  • If attending a service, remember to bring documentation if required by the local authorities, such as attendance passes and passports.
  • Take note of the varying security risk environments depending on the location for Anzac Day services, particularly countries with a heightened terrorism risk such as Turkey. Exercise caution and anticipate a heightened security presence in the Gallipoli peninsula especially. Report any suspicious behaviour to the local authorities.
  • Identify nearby locations that will organise Anzac Day events, which will likely include war memorials and cemeteries. Examples include Canberra’s Australian War Memorial and Wellington’s Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. Bypass identified locations to minimise the risk of disruption, particularly in early morning hours during Dawn Services.
  • Monitor developments and subscribe to alerts on the Healix Travel Oracle app.
Michael Gardiner
Special Risks Analyst
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