The Centenary of ANZAC Timeline shows significant dates in Tasmania’s and Australia’s history, from wars, conflict and peacekeeping operations since the Federation of Australian in 1901. We encourage you to scroll through the timeline to learn more about our history.

Is there a date missing? Email centenaryofanzac@dpac.tas.gov.au and we’ll include it on the Timeline as soon as possible.

picture of Lieutenant Guy Wylly VC 1st September 1900

Lieutenant Guy Wylly VC

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Wylly got wounded during a Boer ambush at Transvaal, but despite this, he went to the assistance of a wounded corporal, giving him his own horse and, at the risk of being cut off, then provided cover fire from behind rocks to enable the corporal’s escape. Read more...
picture of Trooper John Hutton Bisdee VC 1st September 1900

Trooper John Hutton Bisdee VC

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Bisdee and other members of an advance scouting party were ambushed by Boers in a rocky defile.  Six of eight men were hit including two officiers, Major Brooke and Lieutenant Wylly. Brooke’s horse bolted so Bisdee put the officer on his own horse and, despite being seriously wounded, ran alongside under fire until he too could mount up and get away. Read more...
Parliament House 1st January 1901

Federation of Australia

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Australia became an independent nation on 1 January 1901. The British Parliament passed legislation allowing the six Australian colonies to govern in their own right as part of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Boer War 31st May 1902

Conclusion of the Boer War

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The Boer War commenced in 1899 and ran until 1902.  Approximately 16 000 Australians enlisted with 600 of these men dying, half from disease and half in action.

Tasmania contributed four contingents of soldiers to serve during the course of the Boer War, totalling 558 men, of these 22 died.

Australian War Memorial H16067 Maker:  Broothorn Studios 13th November 1908

Andrew Fisher appointed as the 5th Prime Minister of Australia

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Andrew Fisher, born on 26 August 1862, was appointed as the 5th Prime Minister of Australia. He was in office until 27 October 1915 after being absent from parliament without explanation for three sitting days.

HMAS Australia 10th July 1911

Royal Australian Navy formed

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Formation of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). In 1909, a decision was made that Australia needed its own navy with the RAN being formed on 10 July 1911.

4th August 1914

World War 1 declared

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Great Britain declares war on Germany and its allies at 11pm. Australia’s Prime Minister, Andrew Fisher, pledged the Australian Government’s full support to Britain.  This resulted in thousands of Australian troops being sent to battlefields in New Guinea, Turkey, the Middle East, Belgium and France.  Thousands were killed and many more suffered from physical and psychological injuries which had ongoing impact on their return home.

Fist shot of World Was One fired 5th August 1914

First shot of World War One fired

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The first shot of WWI fired from Fort Nepean to prevent German vessel “SS Pflaz” from leaving Port Phillip Bay.

10th August 1914

Commencement of voluntary recruitment

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Commencement of voluntary recruitment for the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) commenced 5 days after war was declared. Many people enlisted out of a sense of duty. The payment of 6 shillings a day was also an incentive to enlist.

1914_Aust Red Cross 13th August 1914

Formation of Australian Red Cross

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Red Cross established in Australia.

19th August 1914

Germany in the Pacific

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Expeditionary force departed Australia to capture German possessions in Pacific.
9th September 1914

The British withdrew their naval mission from Turkey

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The British withdrew their naval mission from Turkey.

11th September 1914

Battle of BitaPaka

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The Battle of BitaPaka saw the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Forces land at Rabaul in New Guinea and six days later took possession of, what was then, German New Guinea.

Australian Submarine lost 14th September 1914

Australian Submarine lost

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HMAS AE1, an E-class submarine of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), was lost off New Guinea.
The Seizure of German New Guinea 25th September 1914

The Seizure of German New Guinea

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German New Guinea was the first part of the German colonial empire. In 1914 Australian forces Completed the seizure of German New Guinea which consisted of the northeaster part of New Guinea and several nearby islands.

Conflict at the entrance to the Dardanelles 27th September 1914

Conflict at the entrance to the Dardanelles

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A British naval force at the entrance to the Dardanelles ordered a Turkish torpedo-boat to turn back. The Turks then closed the straits, laid mines, switched off the lighthouses and put up warning signs along the cliffs.
First Battle of Ypres 19th October 1914

First Battle of Ypres

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First Battle of Ypres, also known as the first battle of Flanders, commenced and finished on 22 November 2014 when the arrival of winter weather forced the battle to a halt.
1914 Ocean Pier 20th October 1914

First troops depart Hobart

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Tasmanian troops from the Tasmanian 12th Battalion, departed on the troopship ‘Geelong’ from Ocean Pier on Hobart’s water front bound for Albany. On board there were 29 officers and 996 other ranks of which only 600 returned. Ocean Pier was Hobart’s largest and most active pier in the early 1900’s.

The Pier was built from 1 300 piles, each 110 ft in length and 2 000 000 ft of timber with a total weight of 15 400 tons. The shed, which sat on the Pier, was made from 3 000 square ft of glass along with iron and steel. Once finished, the Pier was 1 210ft long with the shed being 646ft long and 61ft wide.

The Pier later burnt down and now remains at the bottom of the Derwent River.

Crew of hmas Sydney ww1 1st November 1914

First convoy set sail

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First Australian/New Zealand convoy sailed from Albany, Western Australia, for Egypt.
9 November 1914 Emden Wreck 9th November 1914

German Ship Sunk

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HMAS Sydney sank German Ship SMS Emden in Battle of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Emden was a cruiser that formed part of the German East Asiatic Squadron. The role of the Ship was to stalk the shipping routes across the Indian Ocean. Between August and October 1914, Emden captured or sank 21 vessels. Nine Allied vessels teamed up to find and destroy the Emden. HMAS completed this task on 9 November 1914 while in the process of destroying the British radio station on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
3 Dec 1914 – Soldiers on camels sphinx 3rd December 1914

Arriving in Alexandria, Egypt

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Australian troops began disembarking at Alexandria, Egypt to begin their training in the desert for World War One.

The troops were originally to be trained in Britain prior to confronting the front line in France, but due to lack of suitable accommodation they were force to divert to Egypt.

British strategy to capture Gallipoli 13th January 1915

British strategy to capture Gallipoli

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The Admiralty, under the directions of the British War Council, commenced preparations for a naval expedition in February to bombard and take the Gallipoli Peninsula, with the city of Constantinople as its objective.
Attack launched on the Dardanelles 18th January 1915

Attack launched on the Dardanelles

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The War Council, at the urging of the First Lord of the Admiralty (Winston Churchill) confirmed its decision to launch an attack on the Dardanelles.
18 March 1915 HMAS AE2 submarine 18th March 1915

Final day of fighting at the Dardanelles

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The final day of the combined British-French naval attack on the Dardanelles.
20th April 1915

Ship assemble to prepare to invade Turkey

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More than 200 ships assembled at the harbor of Mudros on the island of Lemnos in preparation for the invasion of Turkey.
Second Battle of Ypres 21st April 1915

Second Battle of Ypres

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Second Battle of Ypres commenced and would later end on 25 May 1915. It marked the first mass use by Germany of poison gas on the Western Front.
Anzac cove state library qld collection 25th April 1915

Gallipoli invaded

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Invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey, (now known as ANZAC Cove) by British (29th Division), Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) and of the Turkish mainland at Kum Kale by French forces. By the end of the day strong Turkish counter-attacks confined the British to two small pockets of land on the tip of the peninsula at Cape Helles and the ANZACs to a strip of rugged country further up the peninsula inland of Ari Burnu point . Both sides experienced heavy casualties. The French successfully landed at Kum Kale.
Map – Battle of Krithia 28th April 1915

First Battle of Krithia

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First Battle of Krithia was the first Allied attempt to advance in the Battle of Gallipoli during WWI.
1 May 1915 wounded crowther 1st May 1915

First Victoria Cross awarded

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The first Victoria Cross (VC) was awarded to Lance-Corporal Walter Parker, a stretcher-bearer with the Royal Naval Division. He assisted the wounded in an isolated trench and, despite his own wounds, helped to evacuate the position.
6th May 1915

Second Battle of Krithia

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Between 6 and 8 May the British, with French, Australian and New Zealand forces, fought the Second Battle of Krithia but the Turkish lines held and the village did not fall. This battle would see 1,800 Australian casualties.
Turkish counter-attack 19th May 1915

Turkish counter-attack

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Turkish counter-attack on ANZAC forces, during the Gallipoli Campaign.
Lone pine 2 troops 6th August 1915

Battle of Lone Pine

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The Battle of Lone Pine began.
7 August 1915 light horsemen Turkish cavalry qld 7th August 1915

Turkish lines charged at by the Australian Light Horse

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Australian Light Horse Regiments charged the Turkish lines at the Nek with heavy loss of life. The Nek was a narrow ridge in the ANZAC battlefield on the Gallipoli peninsula.
10 Aug 1915 – removing wounded soldiers Crowther collection 10th August 1915

First wounded soldiers return

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The first party of wounded soldiers from Gallipoli arrived in Melbourne aboard hospital ships.
27 October 1914 PM William Hughes 27th October 1915

William Hughes takes the Prime Ministership

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William Morris Hughes replaced Andrew Fisher as Prime Minister of Australia. Fisher resigned for health reasons and was appointed Australian High Commissioner in London.
7 Dec 1915 empty cases crowther 7th December 1915

Soldiers evacate Gallipoli

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The British Government gave its approval for the evacuation of soldiers from Gallipoli.
27 October 1914 PM William Hughes 15th December 1915

Call to arms

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Prime Minister Hughes issues a letter which was an emotive call to arms. It appealed to more Australian men to volunteer for the armed forces to achieve a 'speedy victory'.
19 December 1915 anzac cove NSW (evacuation) 19th December 1915

Last ANZACs leave Gallipoli

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On the nights of 19 and 20 December, the last ANZAC and British troops were evacuated from Suvla Bay and Anzac Cove. The evacuation of these positions over the preceding two weeks had taken place virtually without casualties.
January 1916 – officers Egypt circa 1915 QLD 1st January 1916

ANZAC return to Egypt

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ANZAC veterans return to their camps in Egypt. Battalions underwent significant expansion and restructuring.
Australians leave Egypt for France 16th March 1916

Australians leave Egypt for France

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Australian battalions left Egypt for France.
25 April 1916 Westminster Abbey 25th April 1916

First ANZAC Day

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The first ANZAC Day commemorations were held by the veterans in their battalions at Westminster Abbey in London and at various church services in Australia.
RSSILA Badge 6th June 1916

RSSILA formed

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The Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA) was formed.
Australians move into frontline 28th June 1916

Australians move into frontline

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Australian battalions moved into the frontline on the Western front.
1 July 1916 Battle of Somme – evening on Somme 1st July 1916

Battle of the Somme

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The Battle of the Somme commenced and ran until 18 November 1916.
19 July 1916 Battlefield Fromelles landscape RHill 19th July 1916

Battle of Fromelles

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The Battle of Fromelles, France resulted in 5,533 casualties overnight for Australia for no gain. This battle ran until 20 July 1916.
23 July 1916 King watches battle posieres 23rd July 1916

Battle of Pozieres

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The Battle of Pozieres, France commenced and ran until 5 August 1916.
3-5 august 1916 resting horses at romani 3rd August 1916

Battle of Romani

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The Battle of Romani, Egypt commenced and engaged the Australian Light Horse. The battle finished on 5 August.
8 Aug – 3 Sept Battlefield Mouquet Farm RHILL 8th August 1916

Battle of Mouquet Farm

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Battle of Mouquet Farm, France commenced. This battle saw 6 300 ANZAC casualties and was so depleted that they had to be taken off the front for two months. It ended on 3 September 1916.
27 October 1914 PM William Hughes 30th August 1916

Referendum announced

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Prime Minister Hughes announced that a referendum would be held on 28 October asking voters to consider whether Australians should be conscripted for service overseas.
Call-up notice 29th September 1916

Call-up notice issued

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The Governor-General issued a call-up notice to all single men between the ages of 21 and 35 in anticipation that voters would agree to the introduction of conscription.
First Australian conscription referendum voted against 28th October 1916

First Australian conscription referendum voted against

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First Australian conscription referendum held.

As the casualties in France mounted, sustaining an all-volunteer force became increasingly difficult for Australia’s small population. Prime Minister Billy Hughes took the issue to the people in a referendum to grant the government the power to force citizens to serve overseas during the war.

Australia voted ‘no’ to conscription by a small margin. Tasmania vote ‘yes’, along with Victoria and Western Australia.

Battle of Magdhaba 23rd December 1916

Battle of Magdhaba

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Battle of Magdhaba, Sinai Desert.
9 Jan 1914 - Light Horsemen Egypt 9th January 1917

Battle of Rafa

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Battle of Rafa saw a mixed force of Australian and New Zealand Light Horsemen attack Turkish positions.
picture of Lieutenant Colonel Harry Murray VC 4th February 1917

Lieutenant Colonel Harry Murray VC, CMG, DSO (and Bar), DCM, CROIX DE GUERRE

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Murray led his company's attack on Stormy Trench, near Gueudecourt. Over almost 24 hours they repelled counter-attacks, fought in merciless close quarter battles and suffered under intense shell-fire. Some 230 members of the Battalion were killed in the fight. Read more...
picture of Captain Percy Cherry VC 26th March 1917

Captain Percy Cherry VC

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Cherry's battalion, 26th Australian Infantry Battalion, was ordered to capture the village of Lagnicourt, and his company had the task of sweeping into the village. There was strong enemy opposition, and soon all of the officers in the company became casualties. Cherry organised machine-gun and bombing parties, sent back frequent reports of progress, and, when wounded later in the action, refused to leave his post. Read more...
USA go to war with Germany 6th April 1917

USA go to war with Germany

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The United States of America declared war on Germany.
picture of Captain James Newland VC 7th April 1917

Captain James Newland VC

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In France, the 12th Battalions first major battle was at Pozieres, for which Newland was mentioned in dispatches for conspicuous courage, leadership and organisation.  In December 1916 he left his Battalion to serve at Headquarters, but was reposted back to the 12th Battalion in February 1917 as commander of A Company. Read more..
3-17 May 1917 Bullecourt Battlefield RHill 11th April 1917

First Battle of Bullecourt

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First Battle of Bullecourt. More than 1,000 Australians were taken prisoner, the largest number in a single action in the war.
15th April 1917

Battle of Lagincourt

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First Battle of Bullecourt. More than 1,000 Australians were taken prisoner, the largest number in a single action in the war.
11 April – May 1917 Bullecourt Digger Memorial RHill 2014 3rd May 1917

Second Battle of Bullecourt

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Second Battle of Bullecourt commenced and ran until 17 May 1917. Better co-ordination of the battle lead to the eventual capture of the village of Bullecourt for little significant strategic advantage. In the two battles the Australians lost 10,000 men
27 October 1914 PM William Hughes 5th May 1917

Prime Minister Hughes returned to Government

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The Federal election was held in Australia. Prime Minister Hughes’s Nationalist Government was easily returned to Government with a 31 seat majority in the House of Representatives (Nationalist 53, Labor 22).
1917_7 June-wounded Battle of Messines 7th June 1917

Battle of Messines

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The Battle of Messines commenced, involving two Australian Divisions.
22 july 1917 nurses and men crowther 22nd July 1917

First Australian nurses to receive bravery award

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First bravery award given to Australian nurses in action.
40th Battalion feet ypres 31st July 1917

Third Battle of Ypres

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Third Battle of Ypres commenced. In a series of water-logged battles in Belgium around Ypres and Passchendaele. Four Australian Divisions lost a total of more than 11 000 men in less than two weeks of fighting. For Australia, 1917 was the worst year of the war. The Battle of Ypres finished on 10 November 1917.

picture of Sergeant John Whittle VC 8th August 1917

Sergeant John Whittle VC

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Germans counter-attacked and succeeded in entering the small trench Whittle was holding. Whittle quickly reorganised his men, charged the enemy and reestablished the position.  Whittle later noticed some Germans moving a machine gun into a position which offered a commanding arc of fire. He jumped to his feet and charged the enemy gun crew. He killed the whole crew and then carried the machine gun back to the Australian positions. Read more...
Battle of Polygon Wood 26th September 1917

Battle of Polygon Wood

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Battle of Polygon Wood, Belgium.
picture of Sergeant Lewis McGee VC 4th October 1917

Sergeant Lewis McGee VC

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During an action MeGee’s platoon was suffering severely and his company’s advance was halted by machine-gun fire from a pillbox. McGee rushed the post armed only with a revolver, shooting some of the crew and capturing the rest, and enabling the advance to proceed. He reorganised the remnants of his platoon and lead them through the rest of the advance. Read more...
Battle of Broodseinde, Belgium. 4th October 1917

Battle of Broodseinde

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Battle of Broodseinde, Belgium.

9 Oct 1917 Poelcappelle captured Germans 9th October 1917

Battle of Poelcappelle

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The Battle of Poelcappelle (Belgium), also known as the First Battle of Passchendaele. The aim of this Battle was to attack and take possession of the Passchendaele Ridge. However, rain begun to flood an already poorly drained battlefield and the troops were forced to withdraw. 1250 casualties sustained in this battle.

Battle of Be’er Sheba 31st October 1917

Battle of Beersheba

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Battle of Beersheba, Palestine, took place.

The final phase of this all day battle was the famous mounted charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade. Commencing at dusk, members of the brigade stormed through the Turkish defences and seized the strategic town of Beersheba.

The capture of Beersheba enabled British Empire forces to break the Ottoman line near Gaza on 7 November and advance into Palestine.

Conscription referendum 2 announced 7th November 1917

Conscription referendum 2 announced

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Prime Minister Hughes announced a second conscription referendum to be held in December 1917.

Battle of Cambrai 20th November 1917

Battle of Cambrai

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This Battle was the first in history involving the employment of tanks en masse. The initial assault was spectacular success, demonstrating the power of the tank when employed in a shock role, and ripped a hole almost ten kilometers wide and six kilometers deep in the German line. Mechanical failures among the tanks, the deployment of German reserves, and the obstacle presented by the St. Quentin Canal sapped the attack of its momentum after the first day.

On 30 November the Germans launched a counterattack employing twenty divisions and by 7 December, they had recaptured all of the ground that was taken from them.

The operation cost approximately 45 000 British, and 50 000 German dead and wounded.

Canadian Scottish troops moving forward prior to attacking Cambrai.

Conscription referendum 2 again voted against 20th December 1917

Conscription referendum 2 again voted against

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The second conscription referendum was held. The Government’s proposal was again defeated with a stronger, though still small, ‘no’ majority.

Armistice signed 23rd December 1917

Armistice signed

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The Government’s proposal was again defeated with a stronger, though still small, ‘no’ majority. Russia signed an armistice with Germany.

First Trans-Jordon operation 27th March 1918

First Trans-Jordon operation

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First Trans-Jordon operation, Amman.

picture of Sergeant Stanley McDougall VC 28th March 1918

Sergeant Stanley McDougall VC

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When he saw the enemy knock out a Lewis gun position, he attacked two German machine-gun teams, killing their crews by "hosing" them with the Lewis. He then attacked a second wave of Germans, burning his hands on the hot barrel casing of his gun. When a German officer aimed his pistol at some Australians, McDougall killed him with a rifle and bayonet. Twenty-two Germans were killed and 30 were captured, largely as the result of McDougall's actions. Read more...
Battle of Morlancourt 28th March 1918

Battle of Morlancourt

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Battle of Morlancourt, France commenced on 28 March 1918 and run until 30 March 1918.

Battle of Dernancour 28th March 1918

Battle of Dernancour

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Commencement of the Battle of Dernancourt, France.

First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux 4th April 1918

First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux

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First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, France, where Australians repel a German attack, but the village was later lost by British troops.

Repatriation Department established 8th April 1918

Repatriation Department established

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The Repatriation Department was established.
Battle of Hazebrouck 12th April 1918

Battle of Hazebrouck

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Battle of Hazebrouck, France.
A damaged section of the harbour pier at Zeebrugge 23rd April 1918

Raid on Zeebrugge

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Zeebrugge was an outlet for German U-boats and destroyers based in the canal at Bruges.

The Raid on Zeebrugge was an attempt to block the canal by sinking three cruisers, Iphegenia, Intrepid and Thetis. To do this they would have had to pass a long harbour pier with a battery at the end. It was therefore later decided to storm the pier by using an old cruiser and two ferries. Despite many attempts and much bravery, the battery stayed intact.

Of the 11 Australians who took part in the raid, seven were decorated for bravery.

Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux 24th April 1918

Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux

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Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, France commenced and run for one day before ending on 25 April 1918.
First Australian commander on the Western Front 1st June 1918

First Australian commander on the Western Front

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Victorian General John Monash is appointed commander of the Australian Corps and promoted to Lieutenant-General. This was the first time an Australian had commanded the Australians on the Western Front.
La Hamel Memorial 4th July 1918

Battle of Hamel

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Battle of Hamel, France.
picture of Corporal Walter Brown VC 6th July 1918

Corporal Walter Brown VC DCM

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Brown discarded his rifle and picked up two Mills bombs. Running towards the post, he threw one bomb, which fell short, but on reaching the position he attacked a German with his fists and threatened the others with his remaining grenade. They all promptly surrendered. Read more...
8 August 1918 Amiens scene near cathedral National Library Scotland 8th August 1918

Battle of Amiens

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The Battle of Amiens began and later finished on 28 August 1918.
picture of Lieutenant Alfred Gaby VC 8th August 1918

Lieutenant Alfred Gaby VC

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Gaby was in command of a company. He moved his unit to the east of Villers-Bretonneux towards Card Copse, where unbroken wire entanglements were encountered. Heavy fire from Germans covering a gap in the wire pinned down the Australians. Gaby found a gap in the wire and single-handedly, approached an enemy strong point while machine gun and rifle fire poured from it. He ran along the parapet, emptied his revolver into the garrison, drove the crews from their machine guns and forced 50 of the enemy to surrender. Read more...
picture of Sergeant Percy Statton VC 12th August 1918

Sergeant Percy Statton VC

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On 12 August 1918 Statton's battalion advanced until stopped by an enemy barrage, near Proyart, France. Over the next few hours Statton performed a number of brave actions, at one point rushing four enemy machine-gun positions armed only with a revolver. He disposed of two of the posts and killed five of the enemy. Later he went out under heavy fire and brought in two badly wounded men. Read more...
picture of Lance Corporal Sidney Gordon 27th August 1918

Lance Corporal Sidney Gordon

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During an attack to advance the Australian line towards Fargny Wood, Gordon sindle-handedly attacked a German machine-gun post, then cleaned up a trench, capturing 29 prisoners and two more machine-guns. In further actions he cleared other trenches, in all capturing 63 of the enemy and six machine-guns. Read more...
Battle of Mont St Quentin & Peronne 31st August 1918

Battle of Mont St Quentin & Peronne

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Battle of Mont St Quentin and Battle of Peronne, France commenced and run until 2 September 1918.
ANZAC Leave announced 17th September 1918

ANZAC Leave announced

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Prime Minister Hughes announced in London the granting of ‘ANZAC Leave’ to men who had enlisted in Australia in 1914. Those granted leave would be withdrawn from the fighting line immediately and would have a three month furlough in Australia and would return to the war in time for the anticipated Spring offensive of 1919.
Battle of St Quentin Canal 29th September 1918

Battle of St Quentin Canal

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This was a pivotal battle of World War One that involved a combined force of British, Australian and American forces in an attack against the German Hundenburg Line. Under the command of Australian general Sir John Monash, the assault achieved all its objectives, resulting in the first full breach of the Hindenburg Line, in the face of heavy German resistance.

This Battle ended on 10 October 1918.

PICTURE: Brigadier General J V Campbell addressing troops of the 137th Brigade (46th Division) from the Riqueval Bridge over the St Quentin Canal.

Light Horsemen take Damascus 1st October 1918

Light Horsemen take Damascus

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The Australian Light Horse took Damascus, Syria.
Hindenberg line ruin Le Catelet 5th October 1918

Hindenburg Line is broken

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The Hindenburg Line - the last and strongest of the German army's defence - consisted of three well-defended trench systems.

Throughout September 1918, Australian forces had helped the British army to secure positions from which an attack on the Hindenburg Line could be launched.

An attack on 5 October was to be the last in which Australian troops would take part. The last brigade fought and took Montbrehain village, and with that, the Hindenburg Line was completely broken. The defence of this sector was then handed over to Americans troops, while the Australians, exhausted and depleted, were withdrawn for a rest.

30th October 1918

Armistice signed with Turkey

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Armistice with Turkey was signed.
World War I ends 11th November 1918

World War I ends

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Armistice signed by Germany, ending World War I.
Treaty of Versailles signed 28th June 1919

Treaty of Versailles signed

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Treaty of Versailles was signed.
Australian Air Force 31st March 1921

Australian Air Force

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Formation of the Australian Air Force (AAF).
Air Force becomes RAAF 31st August 1921

Air Force becomes RAAF

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Air Force became the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
Australia enters World War Two 3rd September 1939

Australia enters World War Two

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Prime Minister Robert Gordon Menzies announced the beginning of Australia’s involvement in the Second World War.
2nd AIF announced 15th September 1939

2nd AIF announced

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Mobilisation of militia and establishment of the Second Australian Imperial Force (2nd AIF) was announced by the Australian Government.
Empire Air Training Scheme introduced 27th November 1939

Empire Air Training Scheme introduced

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The Empire Air Training Scheme was introduced to allow a pool of trained aircrew to be established that could serve with the RAF during WWII.

Realising it did not have the resources to maintain the RAF at an adequate strength to confront Germany, the United Kingdom proposed in September 1939 that 50 elementary flying schools be established in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Australia undertook to provide 28,000 aircrew over three years, which represented 36% of the total number of aircrew proposed to be trained under the scheme.

Australian Comforts Funds established 9th January 1940

Australian Comforts Funds established

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Australian Comforts Fund was established to send comforts to soldiers serving overseas. Many women’s groups provided various luxury items to supplement the Australian soldier’s army rations and personal kit.
Setting sail for the Middle East 10th January 1940

Setting sail for the Middle East

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First convoy of 2nd AIF sailed for the Middle East.
The Beginning of the Battle of Britain 10th July 1940

The Beginning of the Battle of Britain

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Battle of Britain commenced and ran until 31 October. Members of the Army received lectures on battle tactics to be used in battle.
Formation of the Returned and Services League 15th July 1940

Formation of the Returned and Services League

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The Returned and Services League (RSL) established The Volunteer Defence Corps which was an Australian part-time volunteer military force.
Cruiser sunk in Crete 19th July 1940

Cruiser sunk in Crete

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HMAS Sydney II sank Italian cruiser the Bartolomeo Colleoni off Crete.
Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service formed 26th July 1940

Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service formed

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Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service was formed.
Attack on Tobruk 21st January 1941

Attack on Tobruk

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Attack on Tobruk, Libya.
Battle of Greece 6th April 1941

Battle of Greece

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Battle of Greece commenced and ran until 1 May 1941.
Battle of Crete 20th May 1941

Battle of Crete

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Battle of Crete commenced and ran until 1 June 1941.
“Operation Exporter” the Syria Lebanon Campaign 8th June 1941

“Operation Exporter” the Syria Lebanon Campaign

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Australian and British forces defeated Vichy French Forces in Syria and Lebanon.
Torres Strait Defence Force recruitment starts 10th June 1941

Torres Strait Defence Force recruitment starts

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Torres Strait Defence Force recruitment commenced.
The 115 Section, 59th Australian Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Company is manned by members of the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS).  Left to right are Sappers A. Brown and B.L Lunson.   Photo taken at East Risdon, Tasmania.  20 April 1943.  Australian War Memorial 051141. 13th August 1941

AWAS formed

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Formation of Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS).
Australian War Memorial opens 11th November 1941

Australian War Memorial opens

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The Australian War Memorial opened.
HMAS-Sydney 19th November 1941

HMAS Sydney sunk

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The HMAS Sydney sunk after conflict with a German raider the HSK Kormoran in the Indian Ocean.
Japan attacks Pearl Harbour 7th December 1941

Japan attacks Pearl Harbour

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Japan attacks Pearl Harbour.
8th December 1941

Australia at war with Japan

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Announcement made that Australia was officially at war with Japan.
Massacre of Australian nurses 16th February 1942

Massacre of Australian nurses

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Massacre of Australian nurses of the Vyner Brooke, Banka Island – Sumatra.
Japanese bomb Darwin 19th February 1942

Japanese bomb Darwin

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Bombing of Darwin, Australia.
Battles of Sunda Strait and Bantam Bay begin 27th February 1942

Battles of Sunda Strait and Bantam Bay begin

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Battles of Sunda Strait and Bantam Bay commenced and the sinking of HMAS Perth.
Broome bombed 3rd March 1942

Broome bombed

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Bombings of Broome and Qyndam.
HMAS Yarra sunk off Java 4th March 1942

HMAS Yarra sunk off Java

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HMAS Yarra sunk off Java.
Battle of Coral Sea 4th May 1942

Battle of Coral Sea

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Battle of the Coral Sea.
Prisoners of war transported to Thailand 15th May 1942

Prisoners of war transported to Thailand

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Transportation of prisoners of war from Singapore to Thailand commenced.
Japanese submarines attack Sydney Harbour 31st May 1942

Japanese submarines attack Sydney Harbour

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Attacks on Sydney Harbour by Japanese midget submarines commenced on 31 May 1942 and ran till 1 June 1942.
Battle of Kokoda 22nd July 1942

Battle of Kokoda

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Battle of Kokoda Track, New Guinea commenced and ran until 16 November 1942.
Australian Women’s Land Army formed 27th July 1942

Australian Women’s Land Army formed

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Formation of the Australian Women’s Land Army (AWLA).
Battle of Milne Bay 25th August 1942

Battle of Milne Bay

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The Battle of Milne Bay began on the south-eastern tip of Papua. Milne Bay offered a sheltered harbor and was selected for development as an Allied base, the key component of which were three airstrips. These facilities also made it a key stepping stone for the Japanese in their drive towards Port Moresby and late on the night of 25 August 1942 a force of 2 000 marines were landed to capture them.

The 2/12th Battalion, made of recruits from Tasmania who were trained at the Brighton Army Camp, played a vital role in the first defeat of the Japanese on land during the Pacific War. It did come at a cost of 167 Australian 14 Americans lives.

The Battle ended on 7 September 1942.

Battle of El Alamein 23rd October 1942

Battle of El Alamein

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Battle of El Alamein, Egypt commenced and later ended on 5 November 1942.
Battle of Beachheads 16th November 1942

Battle of Beachheads

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Battle of Beachheads, Buna, Gona, Sanananda, New Guinea commenced in November 1942 and later ended on 22 January 1943.
HMAS Armidale sunk near Timor 1st December 1942

HMAS Armidale sunk near Timor.

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HMAS Armidale sunk near Timor.
Thai Burma Railway -  building begins 1st January 1943

Thai Burma Railway - building begins

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Construction commenced on the Burma – Thailand Railway which was built by Prisoners of War.
Battle of Wau 29th January 1943

Battle of Wau

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Battle of Wau, New Guinea.
19th February 1943

Conscription likely with Defence Citizen Military Forces Bill

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Defence Citizen Military Forces Bill got approved by the Australian Parliament. This would introduce conscription for service in the South West Pacific Area.
Battle of the Bismarck Sea 2nd March 1943

Battle of the Bismarck Sea

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Battle of the Bismarck Sea.
Battle of Ruhr 5th March 1943

Battle of Ruhr

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This Battle was a five month long campaign of strategic bombing against the Nazi Germany Ruhr area launched by the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command. Its targets were the cities and towns of the Ruhr Valley which was Germany’s industrial heartland. It proved quite difficult due to the large amounts of industrial pollution and haze generated by its industrial plants. The Battle ended in July 1943 when the mounting losses of Bomber Commands continue. The campaign bombed twenty-six major Combined Bomber Offensive targets. It killed around 15 000 Germans and 5 000 British and Commonwealth air crew.

PICTURE: AWM- 128337
An oil target in the Ruhr Area under attack by 116 Lancaster Aircraft of RAF Bomber Command. About 600 Tons of Bombs were dropped on and around the plant.

Japanese sink hospital ship 14th May 1943

Japanese sink hospital ship

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Australian hospital ship Centaur was sunk by Japanese submarine off the coast of Queensland.
Operation Chastise – The Dambusters Raid 16th May 1943

Operation Chastise – The Dambusters Raid

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Operation Chastiss was part of the Battle of Ruhr. It was an attack on German dams by the Royal Air Force using a specially developed ‘bounding bomb’. The Möhne and Edersee Dams were breached, causing catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr valley and of villages in the Eder valley. Two hydroelectric power stations were destroyed and several more damaged. An estimated 1 600 people drowned. The damage of power stations, factories and mines were mitigated by rapid repairs by the Germans, with production returning to normal in September.

PICTURE: AWM – PO3751.001
The Eder Dam after it was breached by bouncing bombs dropped by specially modified Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron RAF.

Battle of Berlin 23rd August 1943

Battle of Berlin

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Berlin was a difficult target as it lay at the extremity of the range of the heavy bombers and was heavily defended. This Battle consisted of a series of sixteen raids on the German capital. The Battle ended on 24 March 1944. Overall, the offensive cost Bomber Command almost 600 bombers and 2 690 aircrew. They did however kill 10 305 Germans and destroyed 27 per cent of the built-up area of Berlin.

PICTURE: AWM – 128251
A map of the Berlin District being examined, detailing bombed and burnout areas.

Battle of Lae 4th September 1943

Battle of Lae

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Battle of Lae, New Guinea.
Battles of Markham 23rd January 1944

Battles of Markham

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Battles of Markham and Ramu Valley and Shaggy Ridge, New Guinea ended.
Battle of Wewak 11th May 1944

Battle of Wewak

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Battle of Wewak, New Guinea Began.
D-DAY 6th June 1944


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D-Day landings at Normandy in France.
Prisoners escape 5th August 1944

Prisoners escape

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What is now known as the ‘Cowra breakout’ saw approximately 1,100 Japanese prisoners of war attempt to escape from a Prisoner of War camp near Cowra in New South Wales. This was the largest prisoner escape of WWII.
Sandakan-Ranau death marches 26th January 1945

Sandakan-Ranau death marches

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The first Sandakan-Ranau death marches occurred on 26 January 1945 and later ended in August of that year. These were a series of forced marches in Borneo, from Sandakan to Ranau, which resulted in the death of allied prisoners of war held captive by the Empire of Japan.
Borneo Campaign 1st May 1945

Borneo Campaign

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Borneo Campaign commenced. This was the last major Allied campaign in the South West Pacific Area during WWII.
Unconditional surrender signed 7th May 1945

Unconditional surrender signed

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The German High Command authorized the signing of an unconditional surrender on all fronts. The surrender was to take effect at midnight on 8 May 1945.
Victory in Europe 8th May 1945

Victory in Europe

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Victory in Europe (VE DAY).
Atomic bombs of Hiroshima 6th August 1945

Atomic bombs of Hiroshima

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Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
Japan surrenders 14th August 1945

Japan surrenders

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Japan accepted the Allied demand for unconditional surrender.
World War II came to an end 15th August 1945

World War II came to an end

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World War II ended.
War Widows Guild of Australia was founded. 19th October 1945

War Widows Guild of Australia was founded

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War Widows Guild of Australia was founded.
13th February 1946

Australian and British Commonwealth Occupation Force arrived in Japan

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Main Australian contingent of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force arrived in Japan.
14th September 1947

First deployment of Australians into United Nations peacekeeping operations

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First deployment of Australians into United Nations peacekeeping operations.
18th June 1948

Malayan Emergency declared

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Malayan Emergency declared.
Formation of the Australian Regiment 23rd November 1948

Formation of the Australian Regiment

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Formation of the Australian Regiment which later become known as the Royal Australian Regiment on 10 March 1949.
Korean War 25th June 1950

Korean War

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Commencement of the Korean War.
RAAF bomber squadron sent to Malaya 27th June 1950

RAAF bomber squadron sent to Malaya

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Australia’s first involvement in Malayan Emergency which saw the RAAF bomber squadron sent to Malaya.
29th June 1950

Australia committed military units to the United Nations Force in Korea

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Australia committed military units to the United Nations Force in Korea.
Battle of Kapyong 23rd April 1951

Battle of Kapyong

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Battle of Kapyong, Korea.
8th September 1951

Japan signed San Francisco Peace Treaty

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The San Francisco Peace Treaty was signed by Japan.
3rd October 1951

Battle of Maryang-San

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Battle of Maryang-San, Korea.
27th July 1953

Korean War Armistice signed

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Korean War Armistice was signed at Panmunjom.
31st July 1960

Malayan Emergency ended

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Malayan Emergency ended.
HMAS Voyager II departure Sydney 10th February 1964

HMAS Voyager II lost in collision

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HMAS Voyager was a Daring class destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), that was lost in a collision.

During the night of 10 February 1964, Voyager and the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne collided off Jervis Bay, when the destroyer passed in front of the carrier during post-refit sea trials. Voyager was cut in two by the collision, sinking with the loss of 82 of the 314 people aboard.

The Daring’s were built in sections, upside down from the centre, then rolled onto the slipway. They were the first prefabricated all-welded ships to be built in Australia, and used light alloys extensively both in the superstructure and in interior sub-divisions and fittings. At the time they were the largest conventional destroyers to be built for the RAN.

10th November 1964

Compulsory military service reintroduced

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Compulsory military service, which had ended in 1960, was re-introduced. The National Service Act enabled government to conscript men for a two-year term with a further three years in the Reserve. Marbles denoting birth dates were drawn from a lottery barrel to select those to be conscripted. Between the first ballot in 1965 and the last in1972, some 63,000 men were conscripted.
First Australian SAS Squadron advance party departed for Borneo 13th February 1965

First Australian SAS Squadron advance party departed for Borneo

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The First Australian SAS Squadron advance party departed for Borneo (Indonesian Confrontation).
First Australian combat forces (1RAR) committed to South Vietnam 29th April 1965

First Australian combat forces (1RAR) committed to South Vietnam

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Prime Minister Menzies announced the commitment of the First Australian combat forces (1RAR) to South Vietnam.
27th May 1965

Australian combat forces departed for Vietnam

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First Australian combat force departed for Vietnam.
8th January 1966

Battle of Ho Bo Woods

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Battle of Ho Bo Woods, South Vietnam.
11th August 1966

End of Indonesian Confrontation

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End of Indonesian Confrontation.
Battle of Long Tan 18th August 1966

Battle of Long Tan

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Battle of Long Tan in Vietnam.
30th January 1968

Tet Offensive began

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Commencement of Tet Offensive, one of the largest military campaigns of the Vietnam War.
13th May 1968

Battle of Fire Support Base Coral

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Battle of Fire Support Base Coral, Vietnam.
26th May 1968

Battle of Fire Support Base Balmoral

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Battle of Fire Support Base Balmoral, Vietnam.
6th June 1969

Battle of Binh Ba

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Battle of Binh Ba, Vietnam War.
29th February 1972

HMAS Sydney retires

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Last voyages by HMAS Sydney, which transported the last major elements of Australia’s forces from Vietnam back to Australia.
7th December 1972

Conscription terminated

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End of conscription for military service.
11th January 1973

Cessation of hostilities by Australian forces in Vietnam

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Cessation of hostilities by Australian forces in Vietnam proclaimed by Governor-General Sir Paul Hasluck.
1st July 1973

Last troops left Vietnam

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The last Australian troops departed from Vietnam.
HMAS Brisbane and Sydney join Operation Desert Shield 10th October 1990

HMAS Brisbane and Sydney join Operation Desert Shield

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HMAS Brisbane and Sydney left for the Persian Gulf to join multinational naval forces as part of Operation Desert Shield.
17th January 1991

First Gulf War

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First Gulf War commenced on 17 January 1991 and ran until 28 February 1991
1st January 2003

Sergeant John Dwyer VC

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20th March 2003

Invasion of Iraq

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Invasion of Iraq.
HMAS Sydney 17th March 2008

Wreck of HMAS Sydney found

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The HMAS Sydney and its crew of 645 went down in the Indian Ocean on 19 November 1941 after conflict it encountered with a German raider. Members of the Finding Sydney Foundation Search Crew used sonar technology to locate the ship.

The ship was found about 100 nautical miles off Steep Point, more than two kilometres below the ocean's surface.

The light cruiser HMAS Sydney steams towards Rabaul.

picture of Corporal Cameron Baird VC 22nd June 2013

Corporal Cameron Baird VC

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Baird led his team in silencing a number of enemy positions while under heavy small-arms fire. He then went to the aid of another team whose commander had been seriously wounded. With selfless disregard for his own safety, he drew the fire from an enemy machine-gun position, “the bullets hitting the ground around him”. He managed to suppress the enemy fire, allowing his team to regain the initiative. Read more...