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.

Letters from Anzacs in World War I were read out and the names of fallen soldiers were illuminated on the building in Canberra, as the service began at 5.30am and ended with a minute’s silence and the Last Post.

Army chaplain Phil Riley commemorated the Anzac legend on Thursday ahead of Governor-General David Hurley and New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Australia Andrew Needs laying wreaths at the Stone of Remembrance.

“At this hour, on this day, 109 years ago, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, at Gallipoli, made immortal the name of Anzac and established an imperishable tradition of selfless service,” the chaplain said.

Vice Australian Defence Force chief David Johnston also asked all Australians to also remember the families who mourned on Anzac Day.

“I ask you all to hold in your hearts those who mourn on Anzac Day and remember those whose service left them wounded in body, mind, or spirit,” he said.

Navy Commander Kylie Schulstad, who will reach 20 years of service this year, paid tribute to those she served with and those who came before her.

“Very proud,” said her 10-year-old daughter Daisy.

James Fry, who wore the medals of his late great grandfather who fought in New Guinea in World War II, expressed the importance of remembering the sacrifices of the men and women who served their nation.

“He’s no longer with us … I always like to be here in his name,” he said.

Some 3000km north of Canberra Prime Minister Anthony Albanese finished walking the Kokoda Track with his Papua New Guinean counterpart James Marape.

Mr 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.”

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

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.

Liberal MP Phil Thompson, a former soldier who was named Anzac of the Year in 2016, said it was a day of reflection amid the current global tensions.

While service personnel and the community got together at pubs and enjoyed the game of two-up each year, it was important to acknowledge those who had died while enjoying the day with mates, Mr Thompson said.

“When I’m at the RSL or pub I buy two beers, one for myself and one for my mates who paid the ultimate sacrifice and that sits on the table and they have a seat,” he told AAP.

“When you’re out and laughing and having fun and you’re with your mates, you’re still remembering and reflecting.

“They would want that.”

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Source: AAP