Archie Barwick

Archie Albert Barwick was a farmer when he enlisted at the age of 24 in August 1914.

Barwick embarked for the Dardenelles on 4 April 1915 and fought in the Gallipoli campaign. From 1916 to 1918 he served in France and Belgium. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre in July 1918 before returning home to Australia in December 1918.

Barwick describes his war experiences in vivid detail, and with a great sense of courage and honesty, in 16 pocket-sized diaries. Acquired by the State Library of NSW in 1922, the diaries offer a compelling and often gripping narrative, penned by a natural storyteller whose distinctly Australian voice can be heard with each entry.

Archie's remarkable story was published by Harper Collins in 2013. 'In Great Spirits: The WWI Diary of Archie Barwick' is available from The Library Shop.

Below, first pages of Archie Barwick diary, 26 March 1917-10 September 1917. See collection

Judy Hassall recounts her father bringing her in the late 1940s into the Mitchell Library to see his diaries. Judy reflects on how this changed her understanding of her father.

Judy Hassall remembers her father and his experience in the War. Judy shows a prayer book which Archie kept with him throughout the war. It's a very precious memento that is still kept by the family.

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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