• SS Cumberland’s place in maritime history

    Friday 5 February 2016 by Jennifer Milward.

    Wreckage of SS Cumberland off Gabo Island,7 July 1917

    If you were compiling a list of maritime “firsts”, you might want to include the SS Cumberland: she has the distinction of being the first civilian ship to be lost in Australian waters due to an enemy mine. The SS Cumberland was a four-masted steamer owned by the British Steam Navigation Company. Early in the First World War, she was being used to transport cargo around Australia and to England. In July 1917 she was heading for England with a…

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  • HMAS Voyager wrecked and burning at Betano Bay

    Friday 5 February 2016 by .

    Charles Bush,

    In December 1945 official war artist Charles Bush found himself sketching in the crashing surf of Betano Bay, Timor, recording the rusting hulk of HMAS Voyager. More than three years previously this bay had been the site of dramatic events that ultimately ended with the scuttling of the ship. Charles Bush was following in the traditions of the Official War Art Scheme established during the First World War to record and reconstruct paintings of …

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  • Wearing patriotism

    Friday 29 January 2016 by Eleni Holloway. 2 comments

    Elsie Myra (Judy) Richards of Newcastle, pictured here in September, 1942, is operating a lathe in a munitions factory. A row of 20-pounder anti-tank shells sit in the foreground.

    Elsie Myra (Judy) Richards of Newcastle, pictured here in September, 1942, is operating a lathe in a munitions factory. A row of 20-pounder anti-tank shells sit in the foreground. 013178 The needs of the factory worker In Britain and Australia during the Second World War, the head scarf worn by the munitions worker was adopted for pragmatic reasons, more than fashionable ones. It …

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  • Australian of the Year 2016

    Tuesday 26 January 2016 by Stephanie Boyle. 1 comments

    Image : AWM P12391 Photographic portrait of Lt.General David Morrison

    This striking portrait of former Chief of Army and 2016 Australian of the Year, David Morrison, was taken by renowned Australian photographer Peter Brew-Bevan. Brew- Bevan donated to the Australian War Memorial's National Collection in 2015.

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  • Forgotten star

    Friday 22 January 2016 by Stephanie Hume. 6 comments

    Robert Chisholm was born William Leslie Chisholm on 18 April 1894 in Melbourne, Victoria. He was one of six children, born to Annie (née Absalom) and Robert Chisholm. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 23 November 1915, joining the Australian Army Service Corps as a driver. He embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT Persic on 22 December 1916. Upon arrival in France he was attached to the 2nd Australian Divisional Supply Column …

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  • Our Furry Recruits : Cats of War

    Thursday 21 January 2016 by Stephanie Boyle. 2 comments


    Image : The ship's cat off duty, aboard armed merchant ship HMAS Kanimbla, circa 1941 AWM .300848 When people went to war, cats went too. Its a little known fact that cats and even kittens accompanied men and women into the fields of battle, both at sea and on land. "War cats" had two important roles: “official mascot” for the regiment, squadron or ship; and “rat catcher”, a less glamorous, though no less essential duty. But …

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  • A ‘fine body of men’: the Kurrajongs recruitment march, January 1916

    Thursday 21 January 2016 by Kerry Neale. 3 comments

    Kurrajong banner - http://harrowercollection.com

    Recruitment Marches The outbreak of the First World War brought an immediate rush of volunteers wanting to serve their country. In 1915, in the central west of New South Wales, a movement began which became known as the 'Gilgandra snowball'. Under the leadership of 'Captain Bill' Hitchen, 20 or so men who had decided to enlist started off to march to Sydney. Gathering other recruits along the way, they numbered about 300 by the time they reached…

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  • Caterpillars, goldfish and guinea pigs: badges of the (un)lucky clubs of the Second World War

    Monday 18 January 2016 by Kerry Neale. 6 comments

    Late Arrivals Club embroidered patch

    Whether walking back to safety from behind enemy lines, parachuting out of a disabled aircraft, crashing into water and being saved by a life raft, or enduring horrible burns from a plane crash, the stories of near misses experienced by aircrew during the Second World War are remarkable. As a symbol of the camaraderie between the men who had experienced these near misses, numerous clubs were formed, each with a distinct badge or patch to …

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  • Uniforms of the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force

    Wednesday 13 January 2016 by Craig Blanch.

    Cadets in Universal Training Pattern uniform circa 1913.

    At the outbreak of the First World War Australia immediately pledged a contingent of 20,000 men in support of England. Within days Britain forwarded a request for an additional force to capture and occupy German possessions in the Pacific, particularly the wireless stations instrumental in communications used bythe powerful German naval squadron based in the area. Nine days later, on 19 August 1914,a hurriedly equipped force of 1500 infantry, …

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  • Highlight on official records of the First World War: AWM22 - Australian Imperial Force Headquarters (Egypt), Central registry files, 1914-18 War

    Saturday 9 January 2016 by Craig Berelle.

    AWM22 134/1/2000

    Highlight on the official records of the First World War is a centenary program of posts highlighting those records created 100 years ago, whythey exist and how we can help make these essential records available for research purposes. Function and provenance The establishment of an Australian Imperial Force (AIF) Intermediate Base in Cairo, Egypt was recommended in December 1914, and took effect from 15 January 1915 with Col V C M Sellheim as …

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