25/04/2015 - The Australian Embassy hosted the annual ANZAC Day Dawn Service in Beijing, with approximately 300 attendants. This year the New Zealand Centre at Peking University was also proud to be in attendance.
Saturday 25 April 2015 marked the 100th Anniversary of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) landings at Gallipoli. On this day Australia and New Zealand commemorated New Zealand and Australian soldiers who fought in World War I (WWI) in 1915, and other subsequent conflicts. This year the Embassy of Australia held an ANZAC Day Dawn Service in Beijing, with approximately 300+ attendants.
The memorial service has become a significant event in the Australia-New Zealand diplomatic calendar in China, providing an opportunity for defense officials and representatives from both China, the attaches of traditional defense partners working in nearby embassies, and other friendly countries to participate in the service.
Among the attendees were Australian Ambassador to China Ms. Frances Adamson, New Zealand ambassador to China John McKinnon, Deputy Chief of Mission Mrs. Bengu Yigitguden representing Embassy of Turkey and representing People’s Liberation Army was Lieutenant Guo Sixiao. This year the New Zealand Centre at Peking University was proud to be in attendance, represented by the current liaison intern Tammy Groves.
At 4.30am Australian and New Zealand citizens were welcomed through the embassy gates and provided a service guide and traditional poppy (often adorned on the front of one's clothing, and placed at the memorial at the end of the service).
The service commenced at dawn at 5.15am, with a piper’s lament, performed by Superintendent Hamish McCardle from the New Zealand Police. The service then proceeded with a series of addresses and hymns. The New Zealand ambassador to China HE John McKinnon QSO provided a dedication, as follows:
“At this hour, on this day, ANZAC received its baptism of fire and became one of the immortal names in history. We who are gathered here think of the comrades who went out with us to battle but did not return. We feel them still near us in spirit. We wish to be worthy of their great sacrifice. Let us, therefore, once again dedicate ourselves to the service of the ideals for which they died. As the dawn is even now about to pierce the night, so let their memory inspire us to work for the coming of the new light into the dark places of the world.”
The Ambassador’s address was followed by the formal laying of wreaths. The New Zealand Centre at Peking University liaison intern Tammy Groves laid a wreath on behalf of the centre. As the sun rose the Australian and New Zealand anthems were sung and the service came to an end. Upon the conclusion of the service all guests were warmly invited to a traditional ‘Gunfire Breakfast’(a combination of brandy and hot coffee - a drink served to soldiers in the trenches of WWI) at the Australian Embassy Chancery.