NSW rises early and honours the fallen

Thousands have lined the streets of Sydney's CBD to mark Anzac Day celebrations.
Thousands have lined the streets of Sydney's CBD to mark Anzac Day celebrations.

For many, Anzac Day is about paying respects and commemorating the fallen, but for veterans it's also a chance to reconnect with war mates and share stories from the battlefield.

Thousands of people turned out across NSW on Thursday to pay their respects to past and present soldiers.

The heart of Sydney stood still in the pre-dawn darkness as 5000 people gathered around the Cenotaph at Martin Place for the annual dawn service.

Major General Greg Bilton from the Australian army said the arrival of young soldiers on the shores of Gallipoli under the cover of darkness on April 25, 1915 was a seminal event in the nation's history.

"It's both reassuring and significant that ... groups of Australians, young and old, have chosen to gather in the dark, noiselessly, just as those young men did," he told the crowd.

The service was attended by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Governor David Hurley, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and interim NSW Opposition leader Penny Sharpe.

Thousands of spectators later lined Sydney's Elizabeth Street to watch nearly 13,000 current and past servicemen and women and their relatives march to Hyde Park.

Walter Tuchin, 95, was cheered on by more than a dozen children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The 95-year-old is one of the few members of the 24 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force who is still alive.

Mr Tuchin, who made his way down the route in a wheelchair pushed by his son, was just shy of 18 when he signed up to serve in World War II.

He said it was "just marvellous" to meet up with those he served with each Anzac Day.

Katie Thorburn, 22, who's been in the navy for five years, said Anzac Day was her favourite day of the year.

"It's the one day that's contributed to veterans everywhere, which is really lovely, and I love meeting the veterans," Ms Thorburn said.

While for some Anzac Day involves a sombre march, for others it's all about heading to the pub for a raucous afternoon of two-up.

It's become a tradition for Emily Myers and her group of friends to hit Sydney's Australian Heritage Hotel.

Ms Myers, crammed among hundreds of punters around the stage watching coins being tossed in the air, says Anzac Day is the best day of the year.

"You go to the dawn service, have bacon and egg rolls in the morning and then you come and play some two-up and everyone is in such good spirits," she told AAP.

NSW Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke said most people showed respect towards each other and service personnel on Thursday but there were a few isolated incidents officers had to deal with.

A 26-year-old man was arrested for allegedly throwing beer cans at police during the Martin Place dawn service.

He was charged with offensive behaviour and resisting arrest and is due to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on May 15.

Australian Associated Press