Diarists and Letter Writers
The personal diaries and letters documenting Australian’s experiences of the Great War are one of the great strengths of the Library’s World War I collections.
Many of these were acquired soon after the war ended. They capture the authentic and personal observations of those who served - before their memories were diluted by the passing of time and unreliable reminiscences.
Browse over 1200 volumes of diaries and letters written by 550 diarists including soldiers, nurses, journalists and artists.
Harry Cicognani, a commercial salesman of Glebe, N.S.W. was born in Gulgong, N.S.W. and was aged 26 when he enlisted in Sydney, 25 Aug. 1914. He embarked from Sydney on board Transport A14 Euripides, 20 Oct. 1914 and served with the 1st Field Ambulance in Egypt, Gallipoli and France. He was reported missing in action in France, 1 Sept. 1916, having been captured by the Germans at Mouquet Farm in August 1916 and interned at Dulmen in Germany. He was transferred to Holland in Feb.
Explore our collections through a series of themes which reflect Australia’s experience of war including Daily Life at the Front, Love and Friendship, Children in War and Entertainment for the troops.
Each theme contains a selection of stories, image galleries and articles. Over time we will add new stories and galleries as our collections are digitised, transcribed and interpreted.
What was it really like for men and women on the front line? Our collections tell us through the personal accounts found in diaries, maps that document the progress of the war, newspapers and ephemera that reflected what was happening on the home front, and life captured through the photographer’s lens.
Newly commissioned articles by researchers, historians and curators provide insights into Australia's experience of the Great War.
Many of the Library’s World War I collections have been digitised and are available to students, family historians, and academic and digital humanities researchers through the Library catalogues or as datasets. The Library encourages the use of these collections and invites you to get involved – transcribe a diary or download a dataset. Virtually all of this material can be downloaded for research or study.
Sisters Lines after a Storm
1915–16: AW Savage
2011: Cheryl Ward and Bernard de Broglio
AW Savage, Photographs of the Third Australian General Hospital at Lemnos, Egypt & Brighton (Eng.)