National Archives World War I repatriation records reveal the legacy of war

Media release: Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Stories of Australia's returned World War I (WWI) service personnel have been brought to life in new videos produced by the National Archives of Australia.

For thousands of service personnel, the effects of war continued long after the signing of the Armistice in 1918.

Repatriation records held by the Archives reveal the impact of war on the mental and physical health of returned service personnel and the experiences of their families.

To help search, access and interpret the thousands of repatriation records held in its collection the Archives has released a series of educational videos hosted on the Discovering Anzacs website. The videos are complemented by two classroom resources hosted on the Archives' VRROOM education site.

The project was developed and delivered with financial assistance from the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) throughout the Centenary of WWI period 2014 to 2018. The Archives' 600,000 repatriation records are progressively being digitised through a $3.4 million project begun in 2015.

'We are proud of these videos which use rich archival records and storytelling to bring post-war experiences to life, revealing the legacy of war,' says Archives Director-General David Fricker.

'Reading repatriation records challenges the dominant narrative of the Anzac legend – courage and mateship on the battleground – to illuminate the mental and physical toll of war on those who served.

'This project has drawn on the combined education resources of the Archives and DVA to deliver innovative school and community-focused learning tools and resources.'

Seven earlier videos and complementary classroom resources focused on access and interpretation of the Archives' WWI service records. The entire collection – 12.3 million individual pages – was digitised when the Gift to the Nation project gave Australians online access to the service records of 376,000 men and women who served during WWI.

The Archives will deliver professional development to teachers on the use of the resources, which are linked to the Australian History curriculum for year 9 students. The resources will support greater engagement by teachers, students and the broader community with repatriation records, and with the Discovering Anzacs and VRROOM websites.

Contact information

  • Sophia McDonald (Senior Communications Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3697 m 0417 247 157 e media@naa.gov.au

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Copyright National Archives of Australia 2018