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.

Box 8 Item 17 – Hugh Venables Vernon miscellaneous papers, 1916-1919.
Handmade protection with steely look and stylish upper lip!

At first glance it is apparent that this garment would have been quite difficult to actually put on, due to the tight fit. Undoubtedly handcrafted by a loved one, it has been photographed in action by the  wearer, as intended. I particularly like the attention to detail on the moustache – possibly one of the few things that a man in his position had complete control over.

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