The Netherland's national archives, Nationaal Archief, has recently completed a research project: Afscheid van Indië (Separation from Indonesia), which includes the web publishing of over 175,000 pages of digitised records. The site tells the story of the separation of the Netherlands from its former colony of Indonesia during the 1940s.
The Simpson Prize students have now been back in Oz for just over two weeks - enough time to re-adjust and reflect on our experiences. Here are some thoughts from most of the gang. This is the final blog entry, so thanks to those who have followed the experiences and for any year 9 or 10 students interested in applying to this year's competition, you can see what sort of experience the winners have on their trip.
As we ready ourselves to commemorate ANZAC Day at the Australian War Memorial, we can gain a small insight what it was like at the Gallipoli landing. Personal diaries held by the Memorial describe what it was like landing at Gallipoli on Sunday, 25 April 1915 under the heavy fire of Turkish machine guns. Although the photos accompanying this blog post do not relate directly to the diary entries, they are able to illustrate the stories in a different way.
The Memorial recently acquired a mysterious letter. It is beautifully written and decorated, but we don't know much about it. It seems it was written by a French woman to her sweetheart, and we assume he was Australian, as the letter ended up in Australia. We do not know who they were, but we do know that the letter was written on 25 August 1918 and was sent from Saint-Sulpice-les-Feuilles in France. The writer, Martha (or perhaps Marthe) Gylbert, obviously missed her soldier, and went to a great deal of trouble to decorate the letter.
As with other special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays, having to spend Valentine's Day apart from loved ones would have been sad and distressing for many serving men and women, and for those at home eagerly awaiting the safe return of their sweethearts and friends.
Fortunately, there is little that can stand in the way of love and many people overcame distance and time to send messages of love and admiration, not only for Valentine's Day, but throughout the course of wartime.