It may be more than 18 months away, but preparations for the centenary of Anzac Day in 2015 are already well underway.
And while news emerged today that the Department of Veteran Affairs was considering a lottery system for the coveted 10,500 places on Gallipoli peninsula, Canberrans can rest assured that should they miss out, the capital is hoping to put on a week of commemorations to make up for it.
President of the ACT RSL branch John King said that planning had already begun on the centenary event, with Canberra hoping to integrate into a national program of special ceremonies to mark the occasion.
"It's a real special occasion," Mr King told The Canberra Times today. "There will be obviously many thousands of Australians who can't get to Gallipoli or get to where these ceremonies are being held, so I guess for the local people it gives them a chance to participate in a special ceremony."
Mr King said the 100th anniversary affair would probably be stretched out over a week, to give people an opportunity to participate in a number of events.
"We're looking to put together an Anzac week package," he said.
"The theory is that we celebrate that particular period not just on ANZAC day, but we do a number or a series of events over a seven day period."
Key to commemorating the centenary will be Turkish participation, Mr King said.
"The RSL, which coordinates the Anzac Day march, is working on a program which hopefully will involve the Turkish community," he said.
"I'm planning to invite the Turkish military attache to march on my right and co-lead the march.
"The Anzac commemoration to them, although for a different reason, means just as much to them as it does to us.
"In their own right, they developed their nationhood ... They have just as much feeling about that particular period as we do."
Mr King confirmed the RSL had been in close contact with the Turkish embassy, and were hoping to invite a contingent of the Turkish Defence Forces to Canberra for the centenary.
The RSL will also continue to plan for the event in conjunction with the ACT and federal governments and the Australian War Memorial.
But with over 18 months to go, neither the national or the international plans have yet been finalised.
At an international level, the Veteran Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon said the Australian government was working with New Zealand and Turkey to determine how commemorations would proceed, including how the limited number of places at Gallipoli would be distributed.
"Careful consideration is being given to ensure the dignity and solemnity of the centenary commemorations at Gallipoli, and I expect to make an announcement when arrangements are finalised between all three governments," Mr Snowdon said.
Mr Snowdon said the department would also undertake some public consultation on the distribution of Gallipoli dawn service places.
"Australians will have an opportunity to share their thoughts on who they believe should be allocated a place for the 2015 Gallipoli Dawn Service later this year through a community consultation.
"An announcement regarding arrangements for the service will be made following this and the finalisation of discussions with the Turkish and New Zealand Governments."
While the RSL was reportedly concerned at the fairness of a lottery system for Gallipoli, Mr King commended the government for planning ahead for the 2015 event.
"[The Gallipoli peninsula is] something that needs to be protected and cherished, and if you go overboard for this one particular celebration you could cause irreparable damage."
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