History of Remembrance Day

At 11am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare.

The Germans had called for an armistice (suspension of fighting) in order to secure a peace settlement, and accepted the allied terms of unconditional surrender. The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years and became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war.

In Australia and other allied countries, including New Zealand, Canada and the United States, 11 November became known as Armistice Day - a day to remember those who died in World War One. The day continues to be commemorated in Allied countries.

After World War Two, the Australian Government agreed to the United Kingdom's proposal that Armistice Day be renamed Remembrance Day to commemorate those who were killed in both World Wars. Today the loss of Australian lives from all wars and conflicts is commemorated on Remembrance Day.

In November 1997, Governor-General, Sir William Deane, issued a proclamation formally declaring 11 November Remembrance Day. He urged all Australians to observe one minute's silence at 11am on 11 November to remember all those who died or suffered for Australia's causes in all wars and armed conflicts.