* CENTENARY OF THE BATTLE OF HAMEL, FRANCE, JULY 4
Lieutenant General Sir John Monash was the first Australian to plan and command an attack in World War I after successfully leading the Allies to victory in the Battle of Hamel.
This year marks 100 years since Australian Infantry Brigades, supported by a smaller number of British and American soldiers, retook the village of Hamel in northern France from the Germans.
Lt Gen Monash’s battle plan was so effectively co-ordinated with artillery, infantry tanks, and aircraft that it took only 93 minutes to defeat the enemy and capture about 1600 German troops.
A ceremony to commemorate 100 years since the Battle of Hamel will be held in France on July 4 at the memorial site located only 500 metres from the village.
* 250 YEARS SINCE CAPTAIN JAMES COOK SET SAIL FROM ENGLAND, AUGUST 26
This year marks 250 years since Captain James Cook set sail aboard the HMB Endeavour from Plymouth Harbour in England on August 26, 1768.
After two years sailing the high seas, Captain Cook spotted, claimed and named New South Wales as part of Australia for the British crown on April 19, 1770, following his circumnavigation of New Zealand via Tahiti.
Cook returned to England in 1771 but was killed by Hawaiian locals about nine years later, reportedly over the theft of a small boat.
A replica of James Cook’s HMB Endeavour ship is on show at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney but is not slated to return to the water until 2019.
* 75 YEARS SINCE THE COMPLETION OF THE THAI-BURMA DEATH RAILWAY, OCT 16
The statue of Australian prisoner of war, surgeon Weary Dunlop, overlooks Hellfire Pass in Thailand where more than 2700 Australians died while constructing the Thai-Burma Railway under Japanese occupation in World War II.
October 16 marks the day the so-called Death Railway was completed using forced Allied labour from about 90,000 PoW and Asian workers after the Japanese conquered southeast Asia.
The Japanese built the railway to supply their forces in neighbouring Burma, thereby bypassing sea routes that had opened them to attack when their naval strength was reduced in the Battle of the Coral Sea.
A commemorative ceremony will be held at the Australian Prisoner of War Memorial in the Victorian town of Ballarat.
A Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum was built and is maintained in Thailand by the Australian government.
* CENTENARY OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR ARMISTICE, NOVEMBER 11
World War I ended after France, Britain and Germany signed the Armistice agreement at five o’clock in the morning of November 11, 1918.
Six hours later, at 11am, the guns of war fell silent.
Every year Australia, Britain, Belgium and France stops on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to commemorate the end of the war that cost at least 16 million civilian and military lives.
Commemorations at the Australian War Memorial will combine public activities, displays and events for the five-week period from October 5 to Remembrance Day.
They include the installation of 62,000 red knitted poppies on the grounds to represent each Australian life lost.
A formal wreath-laying and a parade by Australia’s Federation Guard and the Band of the Royal Military College, Duntroon will take place on November 11.
Commemorative services will also be held in Belgium, France and across the UK.