Wednesday 6 January 2010 by thecro. 20 comments
News, Anzac Connections

There was movement in the Research Centre yesterday afternoon as news spread about a momentous event in the history of the AWM4 First World War unit war diaries digitisation project. For those who have been involved in this project, space was not an issue as we crammed into the digitisation room to witness the scanning of the final page at 2pm on 5 January 2010.


The final page was taken from the unit war diary of the Australian Base Post Office, Egyptian Expeditionary Force for January 1919, item AWM 4 17/3/8. Titled, "A statement of mail handled at the Australian Base Post Office", this document records the numbers of letters, packets and parcels unloaded from SS Wyreema on 27 January 1919. These figures also include details of the amount of items originating in each Australian state and an estimate of the date they were posted.

Planning for the AWM4 digitisation project commenced in 2005 with the aim to make digital copies available for research online to preserve the original documents. Following a tender contract process, the first page was scanned by Document Imaging Services (DIS) in December 2006.

Since then, approximately 500 000 pages have been scanned. The scanning of the final page is the latest significant event in a project that has passed many milestones whilst edging closer to completion through the collaboration of Memorial staff and DIS.


These diaries document the daily activities of military units on active service in the First World War and supplement the war diaries from other conflicts that are already available online. The digital versions of these files are available on the Australian Army War Diaries web page on the Australian War Memorial’s website.


Bob Meade

Thank you to all involved. You have created an accessible resource which historians and family researchers will pore over for years to come.

Stephen Binks

A very big thank you from the other side of the pond. As a regular visitor to the Western Front battlefields in the company of Australians, the database you provide has proved invaluable. Perhaps you can get the Brits to do the same; FREE OF CHARGE!! P.S My Great Uncle fought for the A.I.F and is buried at Parade Ground, Gallipoli Regards Stephen Binks

Jock Webb

Congratulations. Have used this already tracing relatives of some of my colleagues and students. It is a fantastic resource and is easily used with basic knowledge of the IT world.

Jock Webb

Congratulations. An excellent achievement to create such an easily utilised resource.

Dr W# G Dooland

Great work. I am really looking forward to my great uncle's unit (3rd battalion) can be read online. Thank you everyone. WGD

Dave Johnson

Congratulations and a big thank you to all involved. The information that is now available online has enabled me to start tracing the movements of my Grandfather during WW1.

Robyn van Dyk

Over 500,000 images have come together in such a useable format and display - congratulations!


Congratulations! Will you now move on to complete or expand the digitalisation of the Second World War unit diaries?

Diane Valli

Congratulations and thanks to all involved.

Dujardin C.

It's was a big work. Thank you so much for this, because those diaries are a real treasure for people who want to know better the history of the A.I.F.

Lawrie Owen

Hi - congratulations upon completing the Diaries project. I am in the process of transcribing an uncle's personal diary for 1918 during his service in France with 7 Field Company Engineers, and I am comparing, or should I say interpreting, his daily comments against his Unit's War Diary. Lawrie Owen 26 Calle Calle Street, Eden 2551.

Simon Melmeth

Thank you all for your hard work and dedication. Lest We Forget

Colin Rowley

I've just had squiz at the Diaries. This is magnificent. A huge thanks to all concerned in putting it together. I suppose some of the team may not want to go near a scanner for a while.

Reg Stevens

Thank you all. All you people at the Memorial are doing some fantastic work and it will be appreciated for many years to come. It has to be the finest of its kind in the world. Charles Bean has left a fine legacy and he has a lot to be appreciated for. Well done everyone

Andrew Turner

What a gift you have given generations to come! Thank you

John Kennett

Once again the AWM has provided us with a wonderful service and insight into our forebearers past and their involvement in WW1. It makes researching my Grandfather and Great Uncles units so much easier. It would be nice if the British could follow suit and not charge you for it as well. Congratulations on a job well done.

Neil Ward

Great stuff. I've been trying to look into members of the 6 Field Ambulance from WW1 and the digitisation of the unit's war diaries is invaluable for those not living near Canberra. Thanks!

Carol Clark

Everyone who has worked on digitisation can feel justly proud. I daresay for every person who has left a comment here there are thousands more who appreciate the work that was done and have not left comments. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for a great service. Keep on digitising

phill morcom

thanks! i thought i had finished my grandfathers (54th) war service study, this will complement the folder, i have viewed the files at A.W.M, and this is so convenent as have several others on the books. well done, your effort is commendable.

David Ryan

I hope that funding can be found to continue the digitisation of the Second World War war diaries. I am sure as the veterans of 1939-45 are dwindling this will help keep alive their sacrifice in defending their homeland.