Listen to recordings of our diaries
Our diaries are rich in contemporary detail and emotion, both documenting and providing insight into significant events and the minutiae of daily life. As we commemorate the Great War, the Library is collaborating with artists and performers to share stories from our collections through recordings, performance and other media. These recordings bring to life stories from our diaries and letters.
Bill Burrell is a stretcher-bearer with the 17th Battalion and he is at Ypres, struggling to survive the artillery barrage. His bravery on this day is rewarded with the Military Medal.
Painter and illustrator Ellis Silas enlisted in October 1914 and was made a private in the 16th Battalion, C Company. His unit landed a Gallipoli on the evening of 25 April 1915 where he served at Pope’s Hill, Quinn’s Post and Bloody Angle until 28 May 1915 when he was evacuated to Egypt suffering from shell shock and fever.
On the troopship, Ceramic, January 1915 — Artist Ellis Silas is having trouble adapting to military life and the routines on board a transport.
Ellis Silas, signaller in the 16th Battalion lands at Gallipoli. After a few days, he is one of the few signallers still alive.
Anne Donnell is a nursing sister with the 3rd Australian General Hospital. Starting at the field hospital in Lemnos on 12 October 1915, Anne later nursed in Egypt, England and France before being sent for convalescence in England after falling ill in January 1918. She embarked for Australia on 19 January 1919.
Anne Donnell describes the celebrations amongst the medical staff and patients on Christmas Day, 1915 at the Third General Hospital on Lemnos Island
Anne Donnell is finally heading home after three long years at war. As her ship crosses the equator, Anne recognises the Southern Cross in the skies and knows she is almost there.