Anzac Day preparations are in full swing with the return of traditional commemorative services, full-scale dawn services and marches across NSW.
Sydney’s Cenotaph in Martin Place will host the dawn service, the first in two years to be held without any COVID-19 restrictions.
Commuters using public transport in Greater Sydney on Monday will enjoy fare-free travel, with the march expected to attract 10,000 people.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Transport David Elliott said the combination of free public transport and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions was a positive for families.
It would be a “momentous” Anzac Day, he said on Thursday.
“It’s the first Anzac Day since the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Darwin, and it is 80 years since the Kokoda campaign.
“It’s also 50 years since we withdrew from Vietnam.”
He believes there will be some Vietnam veterans who will participate in the march for the first time.
It will also be the first Anzac Day since Australian troops withdrew from Afghanistan.
“A lot of the contemporary veterans are feeling a bit vulnerable as a result of the situation of Afghanistan,” the minister said.
“I would expect that you may see an increased number of younger veterans and their families.”
For the first time the annual tradition of playing two-up will be allowed in NSW pubs and clubs for three days over the long weekend.
“I can give you an iron-clad guarantee there will be plenty of beers flowing throughout the day, and so it should,” Mr Elliott said.
While visiting the Cenotaph was an important rite of passage for veterans, citizens and their families, there would also be large services in Parramatta, Penrith, the Central Coast, Castle Hill, Southern Liverpool, Granville, Bondi and Coogee, he said.
He suggested visiting local dawn services before travelling into the city centre to attend the march, which starts at 9am.