Prime Minister to open Shell-shocked: Australia after Armistice

Media release: Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will open the new exhibition Shell-shocked: Australia after Armistice at the National Archives of Australia:

Date: Wednesday, 12 November
Time: 9.45am for 10am (until 11am)
Place: National Archives of Australia, Queen Victoria Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600

For many thousands of Australian men and women, the 20 years after World War I were a time of grief, pain and loneliness.

How did a shell-shocked nation recover when 65 per cent of those who served overseas were killed, injured or missing in action? How did soldiers who returned – blind, maimed or insane – get on with their lives? How did their families adjust?

During World War I, 416,809 Australians enlisted for service, almost 40 per cent of the total male population aged between 18 and 44. If Australia made the same commitment today, the nation would see 1.4 million men enlisting and 900,000 casualties.

While the story of World War I has been told many times, the National Archives (with support from Department of Veterans Affairs) is more interested in the untold story – the future impact of the war on thousands of Australian men, women and children.

Individual soldiers' files from World War I are among the most popular in the National Archives collection. It is from these files that our researchers have pulled a range of stories that show the ongoing human impact of war.

Interviews are available with:

  • Curator – Tracey Clarke
  • Consultant historian – Dr Michael McKernan
  • Relatives of diggers featured in the exhibition

See post-World War I images and film available for media.

Please note: Media ID is required

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0427 853 664 e elizabeth.masters@naa.gov.au
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