World War I was a defining moment in Australian history
(Digital order no: a6959001)
Many celebrated our participation as a sign of national maturity; but it was also a time of overwhelming grief and loss. To document the war to end all wars the State Library of NSW began collecting, from 1918, the personal stories of soldiers – their diaries, letters, photographs and drawings — the war as they actually lived it.
This amazing collection – including some 1140 volumes of diaries written by over 500 servicemen and women — is supported by newspapers, photographs, maps and ephemera. The Library’s collections are some of the richest — but also the least known — records of the Australian experience of World War I.
Telling our stories, hearing your stories
your approval to this kind of thing"
(Digital order no: a008002)
Through 2014 to 2019 the Library will take its collections on site, on tour and online to tell our stories, and to listen to your stories. At the heart of our commemorations will be our diaries, completely digitised, transcribed and available on line. Here people will also be able to contribute their own stories.
Onsite exhibitions will engage not only with the experiences of the soldiers through their diaries, but also investigate life on the home front. WWI collections will be taken to regional NSW through curator talks and targeted events. The Library’s program is about sharing our stories with all Australians.
The first major exhibition of the Library's World War I collections Life Interrupted: Personal Diaries from World War I remembers those who served — in their own words. Open 5 July-21 September 2014 in the Exhibition Galleries
Learning resources for teachers are available, with more under development.