Order of service and flag protocols for a commemorative event

 

The order of service is the program of events for a commemorative ceremony or service. You can use this order of service on Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and other important days. We do this to recognise and remember the service and sacrifice of Australia’s veterans and serving personnel.

Event plan

If you plan to host a local ceremony to honour the service of veterans, such as Anzac Day or Remembrance Day, you could follow our suggested order of service.

What you need to do

The program for an event should be tailored to your audience and your local community.

Try to involve veterans or current-serving members from your local community. This will help to engage the audience, young and old.

Anzac Day service

Our suggested order of service will suit many commemorative events. Adapt this program to suit your needs. The service might take between 30 and 60 minutes from start to finish. We've given approximate times next to each part of the ceremony to help with planning.

Flags lowered to half-mast before the starting

Welcome and acknowledgment of Traditional Owners (2 minutes)

Mounting of catafalque party (2 minutes) – if applicable

Hymns or other music (2 to 4 minutes)

Prayers, poems or readings (2 to 5 minutes)

Commemorative address by invited guest (3 to 5 minutes)

Wreath laying (3 to 5 minutes)

Ode of Remembrance (1 minute)

The Last Post (1 minute 22 seconds)

Period of silence (1 or 2 minutes)

Reveille (1 minute 1 second) or The Rouse (22 seconds) while raising flags

National Anthem (1 to 3 minutes)

Dismounting of catafalque party (2 minutes) – if applicable

Closing remarks (2 minutes)

Official guests depart

You can download this order of service as part of our Anzac Day Kitbag.

The flags, the Ode of Remembrance, The Last Post and the catafalque party are important symbols of commemoration.

Remembrance Day service

Welcome and Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners (2 minutes)

Mounting of catafalque party (2 minutes)

Hymns or other music (2 to 4 minutes)

Prayers, poems or readings (2 to 5 minutes)

Commemorative address by invited guest (3 to 5 minutes)

Wreath laying (3 to 5 minutes)

Ode of Remembrance (1 minute)

The Last Post (1 minute 22 seconds)

Period of silence from 11 am (1 or 2 minutes)

The Rouse while raising flags (1 minute)

National Anthem (1 to 3 minutes)

Dismounting of catafalque party (2 minutes)

Closing remarks (2 minutes)

Official guests depart

You can download this order of service as part of our Remembrance Day Kitbag

Acknowledging Traditional Owners

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the Country where we meet on Anzac Day to remind everyone that we live on First Nations lands.

A Traditional Owner in your area can deliver a Welcome to Country. It could also be delivered by First Nations people who have permission from Traditional Owners to welcome visitors to their Country.

Anyone can offer an Acknowledgement of Country at the beginning of an event or speech. This shows respect for Traditional Owners and the continuing connection of First Nations people to Country. See suggested wording in our sample speeches.

Protocol for flags

 In order of priority, you may fly the following flags:

  1. Australian National Flag
  2. flags of other nations
  3. state or territory flag
  4. Australian Aboriginal Flag and Torres Strait Islander Flag 
  5. Australian Defence Force Ensign 
  6. Australian White Ensign 
  7. Royal Australian Air Force Ensign 
  8. Merchant Marine.

During a ceremony held in Australia, the Australian National Flag is raised or lowered at the same time as other flags. If this is not possible, then the Australian flag is raised first and lowered last.

If you’re planning an Anzac Day dawn service, the flags are:

  • lowered to half-mast before the start of the service
  • raised slowly to the masthead during the playing of Reveille
  • lowered again to half-mast at the end of the service
  • raised again to the masthead at 12 midday.

If you’re planning an event at another time of day, the flags are:

  • lowered to half-mast before the start of the service
  • raised slowly to the masthead during the playing of The Rouse.
  • raised again to the masthead at 12 midday

Military personnel will stand to attention and salute during the lowering and raising of flags.

Ode of Remembrance

When the Ode is recited at a commemorative service, visitors should stand, remove headwear and refrain from talking. For details, see Ode of Remembrance and other poems.

Period of silence

Traditionally, a period of 2 minutes is observed for an Anzac Day dawn service and 1 minute at other times on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day. However, the time can be adjusted to suit your audience.

Music

Reveille or The Rouse

Reveille is played only for an Anzac Day dawn service. The Rouse is played at other times on Anzac Day and also on Remembrance Day.

Anthems

When the Australian National Anthem is played in conjunction with the national anthem of a foreign country, the foreign country’s national anthem is always played first.

For details, see Music for commemorative events.

Saluting

Personnel in military uniform and headdress stand to attention and salute:

  • during the lowering and raising of flags 
  • just after laying a wreath 
  • during The Last Post 
  • during the Australian National Anthem. 

Wreath laying

After laying a wreath, the person stands to attention and bows their head (or salutes if wearing military uniform).
 


Last updated:

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) ( ), Order of service and flag protocols for a commemorative event, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 13 June 2024, https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/commemoration/event-planning/order-of-service
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