Australian Embassy
Belgium, Luxembourg and Mission to the European Union and NATO



Anzac Day 2017






Anzac Day on the Western Front, Belgium – Tuesday, 25 April 2017
The Australian Embassy in conjunction with the New Zealand Embassy and the Belgian municipalities of Zonnebeke, Ypres/Ieper and Comines-Warneton will organise an extensive program of commemorations on Anzac Day in West Flanders. They include a dawn service at Buttes New British Cemetery and commemorative services at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Menin Gate and Toronto Avenue Cemetery.  Anzac Day in Belgium honours in particular the almost 13,000 ANZACs who fought and gave their lives in the battles of the Ypres Salient during World War One.

The 2017 Anzac Day program is expected to closely follow the program in 2016 (links to 2016 program). Please monitor this website regularly for updates. Any group wishing to take part in our Anzac Day program in 2017 is requested to contact the Embassy via email

Past Anzac Days

Anzac Day 2016
Australia’s Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, led Australia’s participation during commemorative services on Anzac Day 2016 in Belgium. The services were organised by the Australian and New Zealand Embassies in conjunction with the Belgian towns of Zonnebeke, Ieper/Ypres and Comines-Warneton. They honoured the almost 13,000 ANZACs who fought and gave their lives in the battles of the Ypres Salient during World War One and included a dawn service at Buttes New British Cemetery and commemorative services at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Menin Gate and Toronto Avenue Cemetery.  The day before Last Post Association chairman, Mr Benoit Mottrie, was presented with an honorary medal in the Order of Australia for his service to Australia-Belgium relations during a special ceremony at the Cloth Hall in Ypres.  

Anzac Day 2015
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop represented the Australian Government at ANZAC Day commemorations in Ypres, Belgium to highlight the importance Australia attaches to honouring sacrifices made on the Western Front during the First World War. Nearly 13,000 Australians lost their lives in Belgium during the First World War. In Ypres, from August to November 1917, Australia suffered 38,000 casualties – our most costly experience of war. The day's program started at 6am with the Dawn Service at Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood. Services then followed at Tyne Cot Cemetery, the Menin Gate in Ieper/Ypres and Toronto Avenue Cemetery in Ploegsteert. There was also Australian participation during the nightly Last Post Association ceremonies at Menin Gate on the 24th and 25th April.

Related links

Centenary Service to Commemorate Third Battle of Ypres

Most Australian soldiers buried in Belgium died during the Third Battle of Ypres (Battle of Menin Road, Battle of Polygon Wood, Battle of Broodseinde, Battle of Poelcapelle and the Battle of Passchendaele), one of the major campaigns fought on the Western Front during the First World War. To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of it,  Australia will conduct a Centenary service on 26 September 2017 at Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood. It is part of Australia’s Centenary of Anzac, First World War commemorations.


Commemorations for first Australian soldiers killed in Belgium during WWI taking place on 17 June
Ceremonies to commemorate one hundred years since the first Australian soldiers were killed in Belgium during World War One were held on 17 June in Flanders and Canberra (Australia). Private Beaumont Jeffreys Philpott and Private James Jackson Mollison belonged to the 25th Australian Infantry Battalion which landed in France 19 March 1916, the first Australian Imperial Force battalion to arrive there. The two soldiers were reportedly coming off a scouting patrol in Messines when they were killed during artillery and gas shelling on 17 June 1916. They were aged 26 and 27 respectively.

In Australia the soldiers’ sacrifice was commemorated at a ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra which included the ‘Last Post’.  Wreath laying ceremonies will be held in Flanders on the same day (17 June) at the soldiers’ graves.  The Last Post Association’s evening ceremony at Menin Gate in Ypres/Ieper on 17 June was also dedicated to the two men. Photographs of the ceremony can be found by clicking here.

A report on the commemoration was published in The Australian newspaper which was penned by the Belgian Ambassador to Australia HE Jean-Luc Bodson and titled "Belgium salutes Diggers Philpott and Mollison on death centenary"

Municipality of Zonnebeke announces Wood of Peace initiative at Polygon Wood
The municipality of Zonnebeke, near Ypres (Ieper), as part of its program to commemorate the centenary of the Third Battle of Ypres (The Battle of Passchendaele) on 12 October 2017 launched on Remembrance Day 2015 its Wood of Peace project. The municipality aims to create a wood near the two Polygon Wood cemeteries, Buttes New British Cemetery – where the annual ANZAC Day dawn service takes place – and the Polygon Wood Cemetery.

The Zonnebeke municipality plans to plant a tree for each of the 523 identified soldiers buried in the two cemeteries. Relatives of those buried are encouraged to register their interest in the project via a new website The planting of the first symbolic trees – one for each nation whose soldiers are buried at the two cemeteries – is scheduled after the ANZAC Day Dawn Service in 2017. Planting will take place on 12 October 2017 for family members and other participants. Read more

12,749 Australians died in Belgium during World War One, many in the Third Battle of Ypres around Polygon Wood.



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