• Historically significant diaries of C.E.W. Bean are now online

    Monday 9 November 2009 by Robyn van Dyk. 1 comments

    The notebooks, diaries and folders created by Charles Bean during and after the First World War have immense historic value and are considered to be one of the most significant records created by a single Australian. The collection includes 286 volumes of diaries and historical notebooks recorded by Bean at the time and often at the front line. The diaries are firsthand accounts of the war and offer a unique perspective due to Bean’s …

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  • The diaries of C.E.W. Bean: 11 November 1918

    Monday 9 November 2009 by Robyn van Dyk. 4 comments

    The notebooks and diaries of C.E.W. Bean provide valuable insight into the last days of the First World War. Bean was Australia’s sole official correspondent and he worked assiduously throughout the four years of the war recording events, often from the front line. Charles Bean was staying in Lille, France during November, 1918. He was an experienced investigator and interviewer and his diaries of the weeks before Armistice detail the…

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  • The butcher and the grocer: A Western Front story.

    Friday 28 August 2009 by Craig Blanch. 12 comments

    The Western Front was epitomised by the brute force of men against machine and each other. Tens of thousands were lost in the maelstrom of war. In the horror, friendships were forged that endured even through death. This is the story of one such friendship... Wally Brown was a grocer. He did not necessarily want to be a grocer but neither did he want to follow in the footsteps of his father as a miller. The small Tasmanian community of…

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  • Dr Phoebe Chapple: The first woman doctor to win the Military Medal

    Tuesday 30 June 2009 by Craig Blanch. 15 comments

    Phoebe Chapple (1879-1967) Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. B 25677/34 Phoebe Chapple was always going to be someone special. She grew up in a family of high achievers. Apart from her father, Frederic Chapple, who was headmaster at Prince Alfred College Adelaide, five of her seven siblings held university degrees: Alfred a lecturer in engineering at St John’s University Cambridge; Ernest, another…

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  • Infantry Battalion Regimental Marches

    Thursday 19 March 2009 by Theresa Cronk. 7 comments

    What do a concert pianist, an Indian bandmaster and an Australian militia bandmaster have in common? Each of these individuals composed a march that would eventually be adopted as the regimental march of an Australian Imperial Force infantry battalion during the First World War. Many were popular songs of the period. The 23rd Battalion March was composed during the First World War by Miss Una Bourne at the request of Mrs Doris Carter. …

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  • WWI - For this Sydney family it was "on for young and old".

    Wednesday 18 March 2009 by Sue Jamesion. 23 comments

    When Leonard Walter Jackson of Neutral Bay joined the AIF on the 6th of August 1915, he must have been one of the youngest Australians ever to enlist in our military services. Using the assumed name Richard Walter Mayhew, and claiming to be an 18 year old orphan, young Leonard, who was born on 27th August 1901, was actually 13 years 11 months and 10 days old on the day he "signed up". Len's older brother, Harry Melville Jackson, had …

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  • Happy Valentine's Day from ‘The Love Controller'!

    Thursday 12 February 2009 by Alexandra Orr. 4 comments

    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 …

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  • "Any little news I can get"

    Monday 27 October 2008 by Jessie Webb. 7 comments

    In the Research Centre, we receive a lot of enquiries from people who want to know how and where their relatives died in the First World War. Finding out this information can be a difficult task. Quite often families know no more than that their relative died on a particular date in a particular country, and they'd like to know if we can help them narrow that down. With the advent of the Internet and the progress of digitisation …

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  • Making a Silk Postcard

    Wednesday 3 September 2008 by Annette Gaykema. 5 comments

    Embroidered silk postcards were first made in 1900 with popularity peaking during the First World War. Cards were generally embroidered on strips of silk mesh by French women. They were then cut and mounted on postcards. Since the completion of a project to get the silk postcard images (all 700+) onto the database, I have been interested in seeing how well the process could be replicated. Having some experience in cross-stitch, I …

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  • Going out for a spell...

    Thursday 21 August 2008 by Ann Penhallow.

    What does a twenty-three year old wag of a soldier say in his defence, when facing yet another court martial for going AWOL during the First World War?  If you're Private Albert Stipek, the words come easily: "I met some friends and went away with them. I had no idea the Battalion was going to the Line. I thought it was going out for a spell".  Nevertheless, he had absented himself from the 51st Battalion for nearly two months. We can …

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