Thousands gather for dawn services and marches to mark Anzac Day around Australia

Thousands of Australians have gathered at dawn services around the country to commemorate the sacrifices of service men and women past and present on Anzac Day.

In Canberra, a single didgeridoo pierced the silence at the Australian War Memorial where some 32,000 people were present as the temperature dropped to 2C. The service began at 5.30am and ended with a minute’s silence and the Last Post.

The vice-chief of the Australian Defence Force, David Johnston, asked all Australians to also remember the families who mourned on Anzac Day.

Albanese honoured the sacrifice of those who served along the mountainous trail, as well as those who served in other conflicts.

“Anzac Day has never asked us to exalt in the glories of war,” he said at a dawn service at the Isuvara Memorial.

“Anzac Day asks us to stand against the erosion of time and to hold on to their names, to hold on to their deeds.”

Albanese hiked parts of the Kokoda Track where 625 people were killed and more than a thousand wounded during the World War II campaign.

The opposition leader, Peter Dutton, also paid tribute, saying Australian and New Zealand soldiers exemplified bravery, mateship and endurance.

“On this sacred day, we honour the memories of the more than 103,000 Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.

In Malbourne, more than 40,000 people filled the area around the Shrine of Remembrance war memorial, which was lit up in red before dawn. The premier, Jacinta Allan, Victoria police’s chief commissioner, Shane Patton, the state opposition leader, John Pesutto, and Victoria’s governor, Margaret Gardner, were amongst the official party.

The master of ceremonies, Justin Smith, paid particular tribute to Australian peacekeepers, who had “little recognition”.

“Many times against their training, our peacekeepers could not fight back and this brought its own trauma, as they witnessed human beings at their worst,” he said. “Their enemies weren’t always clear, and their allies weren’t always reliable.”

This is the first year veterans of peacekeeping operations led Melbourne’s Anzac Day march. More than 10,000 were expected to take part, similar to last year.