Media release: Tuesday, 28 October 2014
War censorship secrets, Anzac nurses, and events on the home front are just some of the themes explored in the new website, Discovering Anzacs, launched today by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd).
A joint project by the National Archives of Australia and Archives New Zealand, the website will include digitised service dossiers of every Australian and New Zealander who served in World War I as well as many from the Boer War, creating a unique online profile for each.
'We're proud to be able to bring together the official records of our two archival institutions in this way,' said David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives of Australia. 'Discovering Anzacs builds on the success and popularity of our earlier website Mapping our Anzacs, and encourages members of the public to upload their own family stories, photos and mementoes.'
The National Archives of Australia has also expanded the range of records beyond that available on Mapping our Anzacs. Postcards about love and war, photographs of internees and cultural aspects of the time provide a detailed picture of life beyond the official war history.
In all, the site includes the records of more than 600,000 people involved in conflicts or behind the scenes, including those of munitions workers, internees and merchant marines, as well as servicemen and women.
'We hope members of the public will post their own photographs, news clippings and tributes to their relatives,' said Mr Fricker. 'I'm sure many people will also enjoy playing an active role in transcribing records online to make them more searchable – as many have done already.'
'All of these records help us discover the reality of war – what happened behind the public face of national pride and heroism,' said Mr Fricker. 'As well as the heroes, there were those whose achievements went largely unrecognised. We see this website as a tribute to them all and a valuable resource for future research.'
Discovering Anzacs was launched at the National Archives of Australia on 28 October 2014 by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove. Students from Campbell High School in Canberra, who have used National Archives records for their own World War I projects, also attended. The website can be explored at discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au.