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Rowdy Aussies enjoy a sun-soaked Anzac Day as revellers sink beers and play two-up

Thousands of rowdy Aussies have taken to pubs across the country to sink beers and play Two-up as Anzac Day commemorations continue. 

Earlier in the day, Australians gathered across in the chilly dawn to mark Anzac Day at public ceremonies for the first time since 2019 after the Covid pandemic caused marches to be cancelled last year.

Hundreds were packed tightly into the Royal Hotel in Paddington, Sydney on Sunday afternoon.

Patrons and servicemen and women in their military uniforms enjoyed Two-up in the beer garden, while others who managed to find a spare table drank the afternoon away.

A large crowd spilled out into the laneway of the pub, where more games of two-up continued in front of raucous onlookers.  

The Australian Heritage Hotel in The Rocks was also a hotspot, where hordes of revellers filled the bar and outside area to soak up the sun.

Thousands of rowdy Aussies have taken to pubs across the country to sink beers and play two up as Anzac Day commemorations continue. Pictured: The Australian Heritage Hotel in The Rocks

A crowd of rowdy patrons celebrate their winnings during a game of two-up at the Royal Hotel in Paddington, Sydney

A crowd of rowdy patrons celebrate their winnings during a game of two-up at the Royal Hotel in Paddington, Sydney

A large crowd participates in games of Two-up in a laneway next to the Royal Hotel in Paddington

A large crowd participates in games of Two-up in a laneway next to the Royal Hotel in Paddington

A rowdy reveller started doing push-ups during a game of two-up in the beer garden of the Australian Heritage Hotel in The Rocks

A rowdy reveller started doing push-ups during a game of two-up in the beer garden of the Australian Heritage Hotel in The Rocks

Three friends enjoy beers while watching a game of two-up at the Australian Heritage Hotel in The Rocks, Sydney on Sunday afternoon

Three friends enjoy beers while watching a game of two-up at the Australian Heritage Hotel in The Rocks, Sydney on Sunday afternoon

Patrons and servicemen and women in their military uniforms enjoyed two-up in the beer garden, while others who managed to find a spare table drank the afternoon away

Patrons and servicemen and women in their military uniforms enjoyed two-up in the beer garden, while others who managed to find a spare table drank the afternoon away

The Australian Heritage Hotel in The Rocks was also a hotspot, where hordes of revellers filled the bar and outside area to soak up the sun

The Australian Heritage Hotel in The Rocks was also a hotspot, where hordes of revellers filled the bar and outside area to soak up the sun

A serviceman holds two $50 notes while competing in a rowdy game of two-up at the Australian Heritage Hotel in The Rocks, Sydney

A serviceman holds two $50 notes while competing in a rowdy game of two-up at the Australian Heritage Hotel in The Rocks, Sydney 

A large crowd participates in games of Two-up in a laneway next to the Royal Hotel in Paddington in Sydney's eastern suburbs

A large crowd participates in games of Two-up in a laneway next to the Royal Hotel in Paddington in Sydney’s eastern suburbs 

Two sailors led a game of Two-up at The Australian Heritage Hotel in The Rocks on Sunday afternoon

Two sailors led a game of Two-up at The Australian Heritage Hotel in The Rocks on Sunday afternoon 

Last year Anzac Day was marked by televised services only and no marches for the first time in more than a century as the COVID-19 pandemic kept people indoors.

Services and marches were back with limited crowds in most parts of the country.

Only services in Western Australia’s Perth and Peel regions were cancelled after a hotel quarantine outbreak led to community virus transmission and the imposition of a three-day lockdown.

Sunday marks the 106th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli, a campaign which ultimately cost more than 8700 Australian lives.

Like last year, many Australians paid tribute at home by standing at the end of their driveways at dawn.

Outside of the Sydney CBD, a maximum of 5000 people – excluding spectators – can participate in an outdoor Anzac Day march or dawn service. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the dawn service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra that the nation faced a defining moment 12 months ago when the pandemic first reached Australian shores.

‘A moment of uncertainty and danger, when the future seems so uncertain, masked by fog,’ he said in front of about 3,000 people.

‘We could not gather, but we held candles in driveways and on balconies and we played the Last Post on radios and iPhones as some, especially in our west, will do again today.

Australians have gathered across the country in the chilly dawn to mark Anzac Day at public ceremonies for the first time since 2019. Pictured: People attend the consular corps wreath-laying ceremony commemorating  in Sydney

Australians have gathered across the country in the chilly dawn to mark Anzac Day at public ceremonies for the first time since 2019. Pictured: People attend the consular corps wreath-laying ceremony commemorating  in Sydney

NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian poses with members of the Sydney Maori Choir during the Sydney Dawn Service on Sunday morning

NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian poses with members of the Sydney Maori Choir during the Sydney Dawn Service on Sunday morning

Montana Seaman with her partner and serviceman Luke Williams share a moment after the dawn service at Coogee Beach

Montana Seaman with her partner and serviceman Luke Williams share a moment after the dawn service at Coogee Beach

A young on-looker stands for the Australian national anthem during the Sydney Dawn Service on Sunday morning

A young on-looker stands for the Australian national anthem during the Sydney Dawn Service on Sunday morning

A veteran walks next to police officers as they attend the consular corps wreath-laying ceremony commemorating Anzac Day in Sydney

A veteran walks next to police officers as they attend the consular corps wreath-laying ceremony commemorating Anzac Day in Sydney

‘And together we called on our past to light up the dawn, and in doing so, we rediscovered a deep truth about who we are – our strength is found in each other.

‘When we are threatened, when our peace and our safety and our security are imperilled, in these moments our differences fade away.’ 

Mr Morrison acknowledged the service came as Australia prepared to withdraw its last troops from Afghanistan.

‘It has been our longest war. The world is safer from the threat of terrorism than when the Twin Towers were felled almost 20 years ago, but we remain vigilant. However, this has come at a great cost.’

Australia lost 41 Australian Defence Force members in Afghanistan out of the more than 39,000 who served.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese, who attended a dawn service in Balmain, said it was a difficult time for current and former service personnel with the release of the Brereton report into alleged Afghan war crimes, the announcement of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and pending royal commission into veterans’ suicide.

‘This is why it is important this Anzac Day to show our respect for all those who serve, but particularly the current generation of men and women who keep us safe in an increasingly challenging world,’ he said in a statement.

Mr Albanese said for many war does not end when they leave the battlefield.

An Australian Army soldier stands as people attend the consular corps wreath-laying ceremony commemorating Anzac Day in Sydney

An Australian Army soldier stands as people attend the consular corps wreath-laying ceremony commemorating Anzac Day in Sydney

New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian attends the consular corps wreath-laying ceremony commemorating Anzac Day in Sydney

New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian attends the consular corps wreath-laying ceremony commemorating Anzac Day in Sydney

Australians are seen paying their respects at the eternal flame at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne

Australians are seen paying their respects at the eternal flame at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne

Crowds gather during the Sydney Dawn Service

Crowds gather during the Sydney Dawn Service

The Victorian government placed restrictions on attendance numbers at Anzac Day services in Melbourne. Pictured are two sldiers chatting through a fence

The Victorian government placed restrictions on attendance numbers at Anzac Day services in Melbourne. Pictured are two sldiers chatting through a fence

Melburnians paid their respects on Sunday by standing behind a fence after the city's dawn service at the Shrine of Remembrance of restricted to 1400

Melburnians paid their respects on Sunday by standing behind a fence after the city’s dawn service at the Shrine of Remembrance of restricted to 1400 

Attendees waited outside Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance before 1400 were allowed through the gates

Attendees waited outside Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance before 1400 were allowed through the gates

‘It comes as some relief that, after a long campaign by relatives who’ve lost love ones, there will finally be a royal commission into veteran suicide,’ he said.

‘This year alone, we have already lost 18 to suicide – and it is only April.

‘To them, and all those who have gone before, and those who are at any risk now, we owe them this much at the very least.’

He said many veterans had been fortunate to ‘turn the weight of war into something else’, noting the life and work of his mentor and friend WWII veteran Tom Uren.

Anzac Day services overseas were cancelled, including Australian and New Zealand-led services in Turkey and Australian services in France.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton said the manner of commemoration was less important than the act of doing so.

‘In remembering the original Anzacs – and those that followed them – we not only recall their deeds, but also recognise the best qualities that defined them.’ 

A strong presence of police enforced the 1400-crowd limit at a dawn service in Melbourne while many others paid their respects behind fences

A strong presence of police enforced the 1400-crowd limit at a dawn service in Melbourne while many others paid their respects behind fences

Wreaths are laid to commemorate Anzac Day at the Auckland War Memorial Museum

Wreaths are laid to commemorate Anzac Day at the Auckland War Memorial Museum

Sunday marks the 106th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli, a campaign which ultimately cost more than 8700 Australian lives

Sunday marks the 106th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli, a campaign which ultimately cost more than 8700 Australian lives

Alastair Tomkins, joined by his wife Katie and their sons Hugo, 9, (left) and Lyndon, 6, stand in silence after playing The Last Post in their driveway, at dawn, as neighbours stand outside their homes to commemorate Anzac Day in Brisbane

Alastair Tomkins, joined by his wife Katie and their sons Hugo, 9, (left) and Lyndon, 6, stand in silence after playing The Last Post in their driveway, at dawn, as neighbours stand outside their homes to commemorate Anzac Day in Brisbane

Australia lost 41 Australian Defence Force members in Afghanistan out of the more than 39,000 who served. Pictured: Sydey dawn service

Australia lost 41 Australian Defence Force members in Afghanistan out of the more than 39,000 who served. Pictured: Sydey dawn service

Mr Dutton also paid tribute to all past and current Australians who have served in the military, saying they had ‘fought to end evil and topple tyranny’, with many returning home physically or mentally scarred.

Chief of Defence Angus Campbell said current members of the ADF have a lot to be proud of.

 ‘Every day I see our people humbly carry out their duty with excellence and initiative, and display great mateship. This is the essence of the Anzac Spirit,’ he said.

‘We remember and honour those who went before us from the Gallipoli landing in 1915 through to the campaigns and operations of today.’

Governor-General David Hurley and Mrs Hurley spent Anzac Day in the NT, attending the Darwin dawn service, before travelling to Katherine.

Mr Hurley said Anzac Day was ‘not just about history, it is very much about the here and now’.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian recited a poem before the Anzac Day address by Air Vice-Marshal Joe Iervasi, Air Commander Australia.

People gather on Currumbin beach to watch surf boats perform a burial at sea

People gather on Currumbin beach to watch surf boats perform a burial at sea

Crowds gathered on Currumbin beach on the Gold Coast to pay their respects to the fallen Diggers

Crowds gathered on Currumbin beach on the Gold Coast to pay their respects to the fallen Diggers 

Anzac day is traditionally marked by a dawn service held during the time of the original Gallipoli landing and commemorated with ceremonies and parades throughout the day. Pictured: crowds on Currumbin beach

Anzac day is traditionally marked by a dawn service held during the time of the original Gallipoli landing and commemorated with ceremonies and parades throughout the day. Pictured: crowds on Currumbin beach

People gather on Currumbin beach to watch surf boats perform a burial at sea on April 25 in Currumbin on the Gold Coast

People gather on Currumbin beach to watch surf boats perform a burial at sea on April 25 in Currumbin on the Gold Coast

Like last year, many Australians paid tribute at home by standing at the end of their driveways at dawn

Like last year, many Australians paid tribute at home by standing at the end of their driveways at dawn

The Last Post was then played in the Sydney dark.

Air Vice-Marshal Iervasi told the story of Lieutenant George Merz, an Australian aviator supporting the British World War I effort in Mesopotamia in 1915 when his plane was forced down along the Tigris-Euphrates river.

Lt Merz and Kiwi co-pilot Lieutenant William Burn were then attacked by Arab Bedouin, becoming their nations’ first air crew killed in combat.

‘The stories of these Australians are the stories of service,’ he said.

‘They exemplified our values of courage, respect, integrity and excellence … none sought glory, but all sacrificed their lives in the service of our nation.’ 

Today Extra host  Sylvia Jeffreys was spotted at a service in Double Bay in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, alongside her husband Peter Stefanovic and their two sons.

The journalist wiped away tears as she became emotional during the service, while clutching her newborn son Henry. 

At Currumbin beach on the Gold Coast, hordes of Queenslanders gathered at dawn to pay their respects to the fallen Diggers.

Sylvia Jeffrey gets emotional as she attends ANZAC day ceremony with Peter Stefanovic and their two sons in Double Bay, Sydney

Sylvia Jeffrey gets emotional as she attends ANZAC day ceremony with Peter Stefanovic and their two sons in Double Bay, Sydney

Chief of Defence Angus Campbell said current members of the ADF have a lot to be proud of. Pictured: A soldier gathers at Currumbin beach

Chief of Defence Angus Campbell said current members of the ADF have a lot to be proud of. Pictured: A soldier gathers at Currumbin beach

People gather on Currumbin beach to watch surf boats perform a burial at sea early on Sunday morning

People gather on Currumbin beach to watch surf boats perform a burial at sea early on Sunday morning

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian recited a poem before the Anzac Day address by Air Vice-Marshal Joe Iervasi, Air Commander Australia

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian recited a poem before the Anzac Day address by Air Vice-Marshal Joe Iervasi, Air Commander Australia

Australian soldiers take their positions next to the Cenotaph national war memorial during the Anzac Day dawn service in Sydney

Australian soldiers take their positions next to the Cenotaph national war memorial during the Anzac Day dawn service in Sydney

People braved the frigid temperatures to watch on as surf boats performed a burial at sea as the sun rose. 

 As one of the few surviving 9th Division ex-servicemen of World War II, Dennis Davis – who at Tobruk in 1941 helped defend the Libyan city’s port from Nazi control – on Sunday marched alongside RSL NSW president Ray James.

‘It’s first of all a remembrance of what we went through,’ Mr Davis said.

‘We didn’t know we were making history … I was a Rat of Tobruk, the siege of Tobruk, one of the longest sieges in the British Empire.’

And for Ms Brown, April 25 is about family as much as service.

‘I absolutely love travelling into town with Pop and being with Pop and just the way people respond to him, the thanks people give,’ she said.

Indigenous Elder RAAF, Harry Allie speaks during the Sydney Dawn Service

Indigenous Elder RAAF, Harry Allie speaks during the Sydney Dawn Service

At Currumbin beach on the Gold Coast, hordes of Queenslanders gathered at dawn to pay their respects to the fallen Diggers

At Currumbin beach on the Gold Coast, hordes of Queenslanders gathered at dawn to pay their respects to the fallen Diggers

People braved the frigid temperatures to watch on as surf boats performed a burial at sea as the sun rose

People braved the frigid temperatures to watch on as surf boats performed a burial at sea as the sun rose

Joined by a handful of other residents, Mr Davis stood outside with candle in hand and Australian flag nearby, listening to The Last Post via radio.

He was glad normal service has resumed in 2021, with the coronavirus largely contained in NSW and life returning to something resembling normal.

‘We tried to get the whole village out but it wasn’t possible,’ he said.

‘Three or four of us went out, we kept distance at the time.’

Meanwhile, Richard Wilkins broke down in tears as he reflected upon his father’s military service and grandfather’s roles in World War One during Weekend Today’s special Anzac Day broadcast.

The 66-year-old entertainment presenter became overwhelmed as photos of his beloved family members flashed on-screen.

Richard Wilkins, 66, (left) broke down in tears on Weekend Today as he paid tribute to his father and grandfather who both served on Anzac Day. Pictured with Jayne Azzopardi (centre) and Sophie Walsh (right)

Richard Wilkins, 66, (left) broke down in tears on Weekend Today as he paid tribute to his father and grandfather who both served on Anzac Day. Pictured with Jayne Azzopardi (centre) and Sophie Walsh (right) 

'This is my dad': 'Richard burst into tears as a black-and-white photo of his father Anthony (pictured) flashed on-screen, followed by a time-worn image of his grandfather George William Thomson

‘This is my dad’: ‘Richard burst into tears as a black-and-white photo of his father Anthony (pictured) flashed on-screen, followed by a time-worn image of his grandfather George William Thomson

‘It’s always a bitter sweet day in our family because it is my son Christian’s birthday today but my grandfather and dad both served,’ he told his co-hosts Jayne Azzopardi and Sophie Walsh.

‘This is my dad Anthony Richard Wilkins who was in pilot training in Vancouver. He was 21 years of age there,’ he said, clearly becoming emotional.

Richard burst into tears as a black-and-white photo of Anthony flashed on-screen, followed by a time-worn image of his grandfather George William Thomson. 

‘That’s my granddad on his way to Gallipoli with his mum saying goodbye to him. We had a look at that photo yesterday,’ he sobbed.

‘Sorry…,’ Richard said, as he tried to calm himself down.

‘It’s OK. Don’t apologise,’ Jayne replied, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder.

‘It’s an emotional day for everyone, all families across Australia. It’s beautiful that you shared those photos with us. Thank you,’ she added.

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