Q: What is the ACCE?
A: The ACCE will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the departure of the first convoy of ships carrying the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) to the First World War. This event will involve a series of activities including a commemorative service, Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ceremonial sunset, ship open day program and troop march. The event will be organised by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in partnership with the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the Western Australian (WA) Government, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), and the City of Albany.
Q: Why is the national event commemorating the departure of troops being held in Albany?
A: In October 1914, Albany in Western Australia was the gathering point for ships carrying the AIF and NZEF, which were later to become collectively known as the ‘Anzacs’. Merchant ships carrying troops from New Zealand, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria departed from Albany on 1 November 1914, together with three cruisers – HMA Ships Melbourne and Sydney and the HMS Minotaur. They were joined at sea two days later by two ships carrying troops from South Australia and Western Australia, along with the Japanese cruiser, HIJMS Ibuki. A second convoy departed in late December 1914.
Albany is the last Australian port these troops saw before commencing their training in Egypt and, for the majority, ultimately taking part in landings at Gallipoli from 25 April 1915.
In March 2011, the National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary recommended that a commemorative event be held in Albany and broadcast nationally as one of the first major commemorations after the commencement of the Anzac Centenary on 4 August 2014.
Similarly, in March 2013, the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board (the Board) recommended that a commemoration of the centenary of the departure of the convoys be held in Albany. On 21 April 2013, the Commonwealth Government released the Board’s report and its response. The Government’s response accepted the Board’s recommendation that the ACCE be a symbolic event reflective of the sombre reality of the experiences faced by the servicemen and servicewomen onboard the convoys when they reached Gallipoli and later the Western Front and the Sinai and Palestine.
Q: What activities will comprise the ACCE?
A: It is anticipated that three to six naval ships will arrive on 31 October 2014 and a ceremonial sunset will be held. On 1 November, ADF and NZDF personnel will participate in a troop march. A tri-service commemorative service will be held at Anzac Peace Park with representatives from the Australian and New Zealand Governments, veteran and Defence communities. The National Anzac Centre will be officially opened and the naval ships will depart King George Sound to represent the departure of the first convoy. On 2 November a ship open day will be held and the naval ships will depart. Volunteer involvement from the local community will be important and is encouraged.
Q: What funding has the Commonwealth Government committed to the ACCE?
A: The Australian Commonwealth Government committed $2.7 million towards this event as part of the 2013-14 Budget. The $2.7 million includes Commonwealth funding towards the planning and delivery of the national commemorative event and a national broadcast. This funding is additional to the involvement of the ADF and New Zealand Defence Force. The $2.7 million does not include funding for any proposed aligned state and/or locally organised events.
Q: How will the local Albany community/volunteers be involved?
A: The city of Albany and local/WA authorities will co-ordinate events to complement the national event. Further information about these activities can be found at the Anzac Albany website. Events, other than those listed above as comprising the ACCE, will not be directly funded by the Commonwealth Government as part of the official commemorative activities. The Government recognises that this anniversary is an opportunity for the Great Southern region of Western Australia to reinforce its important role in Australia’s wartime history and encourages the WA community to plan activities that complement the official commemorative program.
Q: What involvement will the ADF have in the ACCE?
A: The ADF is likely to provide significant support to the ACCE in the form of 3-5 naval ships (depending on operational and maintenance commitments) and will provide the opportunity for the public to visit the ships and observe a ceremonial sunset. The ADF will confirm ship participation in 2014. The ADF will also provide personnel to participate in the march on York Street and commemorative service at Anzac Peace Park.
Q: What involvement will New Zealand have in the ACCE?
A: The New Zealand Government will be invited to participate in the commemorative service at Anzac Peace Park. The New Zealand Defence Force has advised that its participation will likely be in the form of a naval ship and personnel.
Q: Will the event be broadcast?
A: The commemoration event will be broadcast nationally as the ‘curtain raiser’ for the Anzac Centenary and to ensure the Australian community has the opportunity to witness the commemoration.
Q: Will other states and territories be commemorating the departure of troops to the First World War?
Yes. States and Territories may organise their own activities commemorating the departure of local troops to the First World War. The ACCE is intended to be a national event commemorating the departure of the majority of troops to the First World War in the first convoy. It is considered appropriate that the national event focus on Albany as the final Australian port seen by the majority of departing troops.
Q: Will the opening of the National Anzac Centre in Albany be included in the ACCE?
A: It is anticipated that the National Anzac Centre will be officially opened on 1 November 2014 as part of the ACCE.
Q: Where can I find more information about visiting Albany for this event?
A: The City of Albany will be responsible for local matters (including accommodation, public transport, etc) during the weekend 31 October – 2 November 2014. Information about visiting Albany can be found at the Anzac Albany website.