World War I soldiers by Frank Hurley

World War I collection

The Library began collecting the personal diaries and correspondence of men and women who served in the First World War soon after the Armistice.

The World War I collecting project was initiated by Principal Librarian William Ifould. Ifould’s intention was to acquire the original diaries and letters written during the conflict from servicemen and women returning from the War. Ifould wanted to capture the authentic voices of those who served for future generations.

Gloved hands handling leather diaries and newspaper cuttings

About the collection

Voices from war, a remarkable collection of over 550 personal accounts that reveal the diversity of service and impact on individuals lives. 


Diarists from World War I

Our diary and letter collections offer a rich and personal insight into those who served in the Great War.

Stories from World War I

Our collection contains many stories – the personal accounts found in diaries, maps that document the progress of the war, newspapers and ephemera that reflect what was happening on the home front, life captured through the photographer’s lens.

Search our diaries

The Library has transcribed the World War I diaries through the generous work of volunteers. Begin searching the diaries on the Transcription website.

World War I research guide

A guide to items in the collection and how to begin your research

 54 Battery Australian Siege Artillery in Action

Readings from the World War I diaries

Our diaries are rich in contemporary detail and emotion, both documenting and providing insight into significant events and the minutiae of daily life.

Discover more


Red Cross

One of the country's oldest and most prolific volunteer organisations is the Australian Red Cross Society.

Men in silhouette walking along duckboards in the western front, 1917.
  • Art and culture
  • Discovery
  • History
  • In Depth

Frank Hurley's WWI photography

Alison Wishart

Hurley's photographs of the western front in 1917 and the Middle East in 1918 are arresting and iconic.

Blocks of coloured black and white histrorical photograph
  • Free
  • Exhibition


Exhibition Galleries