The State Library is fast-tracking the digitisation of our World War I collections, making them more accessible to students, family historians, academic and digital humanities researchers

The Library encourages the use of these collections to create new ways of looking at, and thinking about, the First World War and its legacy. Virtually all of this material can be used for downloaded research and study. 

Please ensure:

  • if you use this material you acknowledge that the originals are held by the State Library of NSW
  • the creators of any material you use are also correctly acknowledged
  • you check the copyright status of each work if you intend to use it for commercial purposes.

Researching the collections

The strength of the Library’s collections are the personal diaries and letters of those who fought. In late 2014 we completed the digitisation of the diaries. These diaries provide general readers and historians with an extraordinary source of contemporary detail. They reveal their authors world view of the British Empire and Australia’s place in it, and an early expression of Australian sensibility emerges.

You can become part of providing worldwide access to these records by helping us transcribe the diaries. You are also able to search across available transcriptions.

Other collections, like photographs, drawings, maps, posters, ephemera and a selection of books are showcased on this website and are available through the Library’s catalogues

Open Data 

A piece of data or content is open if anyone is free to use, reuse and redistribute it – subject only, at most, to the requirements to attribute and/or share-alike.’ (Source: 

The Library is providing open access to our data and collections for reuse and redistribution through a selection of datasets and tools. We encourage the creative use and innovative repurposing of these materials.

Visit the open data page on the Library's website for more general information.

The following World War I datasets are currently available:

World War I Posters World War I Maps

This set focusses on a selection of posters published from 1914 to 1918, part of the Library's extensive collection of materials on World War One.

Download DC

This set focusses on maps from the Library's World War One collections, 1914-1918. It includes maps produced for military use and those commerically published for  information to the public.

Download DC

Crown Street Studios Colart's Studios

Relatives of soldiers were asked to supply photographs to the Crown Studios, Sydney for copying. Crown Studios deposited the collection, consisting of 1668 photographs, with the State Library in 1918. Portraits include men from metropolitan and regional New South Wales who served in World War I.

Download DC | Download MODS

The majority of these photographs were taken by members of the A.I.F. whilst on active service in World War I. In the 1920's an exhibition of war photographs was held at the Colart's Studios, Melbourne. The photographs were coloured and enlarged specifically for this exhibition.

Download DC | Download MODS


You can also access the State Library of NSW World War I data, including newspapers, through the Trove API. Here you can access maps, photographs, and newspaper articles contributed to Trove from the State Library of NSW’s collections.

The State Library's National Union Catalogue (NUC) symbol is NSL.


We encourage you to share your creations with us and the world. To do so please use hashtag #madewithslnsw on your social media channels. Any projects using State Library of NSW data shouldbe released under a Creative Commons 3.0 (CCY BY 3.0 AU) licence. 

Contact us

For more information or to let us know about a project you've been working on with our data, feel free to email us at

Arthur John Moore Burrowes letters and postcards to his family, 26 January 1918-15 September 1919
'If anything else is added the post card will be destroyed'

Keeping the secrets of battles fought, won and lost, makes for very clinical correspondence from ‘over there’. Reading between the lines about the realities of life in the armed forces must have been very difficult for the recipients of such scant morsels of information. It isn’t exactly a wordy message but I am sure it would have been happily received back home with the first line kept intact. See postcard.

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