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Life Interrupted:


Life Interrupted:
Personal Diaries from World War I

An exhibition on at the State Library of NSW
5 July 2014 – 21 September 2014

They were teachers, farmers, clerks and architects. Some were still at school. They came from cities, regional towns and the bush. From August 1914 Australian men and women kissed their loved ones goodbye and enlisted in a war they knew little about.

With pride, they went to war with just a few months of battle training under their belts. Some would not return home; those who did were changed forever.

For many, the only link back to a life dramatically interrupted by war was a personal diary with tales of adventure, heartache, bravery — and thoughts of home.

From 1918 the State Library of NSW began collecting the WWI stories of soldiers, doctors, nurses, stretcher-bearers and journalists so that future generations would know about their experiences.

Life Interrupted remembers those who served — in their own words.

Image: Geizah train stop, Henry Charles Marshall (1890–1915), Kensington to Cairo and from Cairo to Gallipoli: Album of photographs, 1914–1915, PXA 1861

Tracing your World War 1 Ancestors at the State Library – Personal Diaries from World War 1

Did you know the State Library of NSW has a large collection of Australian World War 1 diaries? The collection includes 1140 volumes of diaries written by over 500 servicemen and women, and is supported by newspapers, photographs, maps and ephemera. For more information about the library’s World War 1 collections click here.

Through the Digital Excellence Program funded by the NSW Government, the State Library is fast-tracking the large-scale digitisation of WW1 content including the diaries completely digitised, transcribed and available online.

To see if we hold your ancestor’s World War 1 diary check out the library’s World War 1 website and click on the list of diarists.