Chair of the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, AC, AFC (Ret’d)
Before attending the commemorative services and community activities in Albany between 31 October and 2 November, you should make yourself aware of the conditions applicable to those events. In support of your attendance, manage visitor expectations and to help you to have a safe and enjoyable experience, please click on What to expect at Albany for more information on the environment and location and What to expect at Albany FAQs for further details and clarification at the commemorative event.
Following a request from the British government, the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) was formed on 6 August 1914. Its sole purpose was to destroy German wireless stations, operating in the Caroline Islands at Nauru and New Britain, which were communicating with the German East Asian Cruiser squadron operating in Pacific waters. The ANMEF was raised separately from the Australian Imperial Force, and comprised 1,500 militia infantry and 500 naval reservists and ex-sailors. On 11 September 1914 shore parties landed unopposed at Rabaul and nearby Kabakaul, where a patrol of 25 Australian naval reservists pushed inland to the wireless station at Bita Paka. There they were engaged by a composite force of German reservists and Melanesian police. In this action Australia suffered six dead and five wounded, and took possession of the wireless station. It was the first Australian action of the First World War. Those Australians killed at Bita Paka were among more than 60,000 killed in the four-year conflict.
Bita Paka Allied Military Cemetry, dedicated to the memory of Australian soldiers who fought and died around Kokopo and Rabaul. (RAN)
This year on 11 September 2014, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC and Special Minister of State, attended the commemorations held on the shores at Rabaul to commemorate and remember the efforts of Australians first engagement in the First World War, resulting in the first loss of Australian lives, but also one of a significant victory.
During the Centenary of Anzac, we mark a century of service and sacrifice, encompassing all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australians have been involved. The Centenary will be the most significant period of commemoration in our nation’s history and the Government is committed to providing opportunities for all Australians to participate.