Thousands of people have flocked to the the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne for the Anzac Day dawn service.

There are for the commemorations which began before first light.

The services mark the 98th anniversary of the first landings by Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli in 1915.

In Melbourne, around 45,000 people, including families with young children, made their way quietly through the darkness down St Kilda Road to the Shrine of Remembrance under a full moon in mild conditions.

Private Gregory Williams served in Afghanistan and told the crowd the word Anzac is a unifying force.

"Anzac. It is a significant word for any Australian," he said.

"For many, it inspires them. For a few, it defines them. I learned when I was very young just who the Anzacs were and what they did for our country.

"As the morning sun rises and sheds light on this magnificent shrine behind me, the word has us all standing side by side to remember exactly that.

"That throughout our history, Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women have stood side by side in harm's way."

Premier Denis Napthine paid tribute to the importance of commemorating the day.

"I think ANZAC Day ought to be kept as a commemorative day, as a solemn day, to remember those who gave their lives in the defence of our country to make sure that we have the freedoms that we have today," he said.

Courage

It is the first service in more than 25 years that was not hosted by Tony Charlton, the veteran broadcaster, who died from cancer last December.

His son, John Charlton, says the family is attending today in his honour.

"We're immensely proud. He had an unwavering passion to promote the ANZAC spirit and did that amazingly on the public stage, and privately," he said.

"Not many would know how much he did behind the scenes silently."

Tony Charlton's grand-daughter, Joanna Charlton, conducted a reading at the service, telling the crowd that Australian troops throughout the ages have one important thing in common.

"From Neville Howse winning our first VC by riding through enemy fire in the Boer War to rescue a fallen solder, to Trooper Donaldson running the gauntlet of enemy fire in Afghanistan to rescue a wounded interpreter, who was not one of our own, the common denominator is courage."

One of the people attending the ceremony was Turgut Kacmaz, a Turkish national who, for more than 30 years, has attended the service at Gallipoli.

Mr Kacmaz, who was dressed in traditional Turkish costume, is the son of Huseyin Kacmaz, who died in 1994 at the age of 110.

His father was the the last Turkish Gallipoli veteran and often recalled the first time he ever tried chocolate was when the Australian soldiers threw some over the trenches.

Shrine chief executive, Denis Baguley, says it is amazing to see more and more people turn out for the service each year.

"I think that's gratifying as an Australian that there is this level of commemoration for those that have served and paid the ultimate price," he said.