Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders have made the annual pilgrimage to Gallipoli to honour the ANZACs who fought there, 96 years after their initial landing.

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A sombre dawn service has been held at Gallipoli cove, attended by dignitaries from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey, and many thousands of Australians and New Zealanders paying their respects.

Australian Veterans’ Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon praised the original ANZACs and the sacrifices they made.

“The fact that we are all here, at this place and at this time, is testimony to the mutual respect and friendship that has grown since those terrible days now almost a century ago,” he said.

He said the spirit of ANZAC lives on.

“The ANZACs could never have known the enduring legacy of their courage, of their service and sacrifice,” he said.

“It behoves us to accept the responsibility to do whatever we can to avoid war and find peaceful resolution to our differences.

“This is how we can honour them.”

Mr Snowdon, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and other officials laid wreaths.

Crowds honour war veterans

Thousands of Australians have gathered across the nation to watch the annual ANZAC Day march to honour war veterans.

Crowds lined the Melbourne’s main thoroughfare watching the ANZAC day street parade, which wound its way from Federation Square to the Shrine of Remembrance amid a thick fog which descended on the city, obscuring the skyscrapers during the earlier dawn service.

Among the procession were women from the Royal Australian Nursing Corps who travelled in convertible Rolls Royces and Cadillacs.

The parade in Sydney commenced with taxi loads of war veterans no longer able to march because of medical conditions.

They were followed by an Australian National Flag Contingent, consisting of Australian Air Force cadets and RSL Youth CLubs.

Recent Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith marched through the city with representatives from the Special Forces march just this morning.

Earlier diplomats representing countries around the world placed ANZAC Day wreaths at the Martin Place cenotaph in Sydney.

Among those honouring Australia’s fallen diggers were US Consul General Neils Marquardt, his New Zealand counterpart Martin Welsh, and Bachir Bakhti, the French Consul General.

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare laid a wreath on behalf of Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Thousands made a pilgrimage to Canberra to witness the ANZAC service.

Famed war writer Les Carlyon delivered the keynote speech in front of thousands of onlookers.

“This morning’s ceremony is not about the glory of war,” Mr Carlyon told the crowd.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon, representing Prime Minister Julia Gillard, laid a wreath at the service as did House of Representatives speaker Harry Jenkins and several other politicians.

Former defence chief Peter Cosgrove, recently appointed British High Commissioner Paul Madden, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and many other dignitaries also laid wreaths.

Large crowds turned out for Brisbane’s ANZAC Day march following a sombre dawn service that remembered the country’s fallen armed service personnel.

Queenslanders who have fallen in Afghanistan were remembered along with hundreds of thousands of others who have been lost to war.

Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley, who will take the salute during the parade from King George Square, told those at the dawn service ANZAC Day had become an extraordinary act of commemoration.

Kathryn Coles, whose husband joined peacekeeping forces in Namibia for six months and died of a brain tumour last September, said she and her two children Jackson, 10, and Bailey, 9, were looking forward to marching for the first time.

“It means a lot to me and the children to be able to walk in honour of Craig,” she said.

Attending a morning service at the Kedron-Wavell Services Club in his electorate of Lilley, Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan said it was pleasing to see the ANZAC Day spirit passed from generation to generation.