Since its dedication in 1929, the State War Memorial has been entrusted to RSLWA State Branch.

RSLWA undertakes the daily administration of the Memorial including memorial services and events and handling all media enquiries regarding the Memorial.

RSL Commemoration Ceremonies

Wherever possible, RSL commemoration ceremonies should follow a standard order of service.

At the appropriate time of the commemoration the sequence of events for RSL ceremonies shall include the following:

The Ode shall be spoken by the designated person.

They shall grow not old, (short pause)
As we that are left grow old, (longer pause)
Age shall not weary them, (short pause)
Nor the years condemn, (longer pause)
At the going down of the sun, (short pause)
And in the morning, (longer pause)
We will remember them. (short pause)'

The gathering repeats 'We will remember them.

The Last Post shall be played.

A period of not more than two minutes' silence shall then be observed.

The designated person shall say 'Lest We Forget' and the gathering will repeat 'Lest We Forget'.

Rouse or Reveille shall then be played.  (Rouse is the bugle call more commonly used in conjunction with the 'Last Post' and to the layman is often incorrectly called 'Reveille'.  Although associated with the 'Last Post', 'Reveille' is rarely used because of its length).

The ceremony is ended. The words 'thank you' shall NOT be spoken to end the ceremony.

While it is expected that the form of service is used at routine RSL commemoration ceremonies, variations may occur from time to time.  However, where the RSL is the organising or coordinating authority of a commemoration ceremony every attempt should be made to have the ceremony follow the sequence detailed above.

The wearing of medals and decorations at such commemorative events shall be in accordance with the current Australian Defence Force Policy. This would include events such as:

  • Commemorative services (including ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day)
  • Funerals
  • Defence Force parades
  • Other events as considered appropriate

Flag Ceremony

Flags play an important role in military services and are important symbols of national identity. They should always be treated with respect and dignity. There are specific ways in which they are to be raised and lowered, presented beside other flags, flown and used during ceremonies.

For full details about the Australian National Flag Protocols are found on the Australian Government website.

The Ode

Written in 1914 by Laurence Binyon, The Ode is the fourth verse of his poem “For the Fallen”. It was used at commemoration ceremonies by the British Legion soon after World War I and in 1920 was adopted as The Ode in all British Commonwealth countries.

Last Post

Should be sounded immediately after the last line of The Ode is repeated by those in attendance.

In earlier times when English troops fought in Europe, Retreat was sounded when it became too dark to fight and the soldiers retired to the nearest town or village where they spent the night. Sentries were placed at the entrances of the camp or town. When the Duty Officer marched the sentries around the town to man their posts he was accompanied by a bugler who sounded “First Post” when the first sentries were posted and “Last Post” when the camp was finally made safe by manning the last entrance.

At a funeral or commemoration service, sounding “Last Post” symbolises that the fallen soldiers have ended their journey through life.

The Silence

Shortly after the end of World War I, Edward George Honey, a Melbourne journalist in London, was dismayed that in the noisy celebrations that marked the end of the War, no thought had been given to the human sacrifice that had made the celebration possible. He suggested that all people should stand in silence for five minutes in memory of the Fallen. Tests by the Guards showed that five minutes was too long and King George V accepted that The Silence should be two minutes in length.

In 1997, our Governor-General issued a proclamation recommending that The Silence be for one minute, which is what we observe today.

Lest We Forget

The final line of Rudyard Kipling’s hymn, “The Recessional”, is a warning of what might become of us if we forget the power of The Lord. The phrase was adopted for commemoration services to warn us that, if we forget the sacrifice of those who died in war, we are likely to repeat the futility and obscenity of armed conflict. The expression is normally used to mark the end of The Silence and serves as a cue for Reveille to be sounded.


Reveille is the bugle call that awakens servicemen and women at the start of the day. There are several Reveille calls, any one of which may be sounded at dawn. During the day the shorter, more raucous, “Rouse” is sounded. In commemoration services it signifies the resurrection of the fallen soldier into the afterlife.