World War I centenary

The State Library of Victoria is marking the 2014–2018 centenary of the First World War with a range of activities, including helping to make a significant number of digitised Victorian newspapers from the war period available online, publishing an important book on Victoria's WW1 experience and presenting an exhibition display that tells the stories of Victorians at war. During this significant anniversary, we invite you to explore our rich collections and publications, attend our events and exhibitions, and discover the many personal stories of Victorians' experiences of war, at home and abroad.

Digitised newspapers

The Library has helped digitise and make available online via Trove a significant number of digitised Victorian community newspapers from the war period. These 216 newspaper titles feature news and public debate; letters from soldiers, sailors and nurses; and death notices, and provide a window into the impact of World War I, both on the battlefields and at home. The digitisation of these newspapers has been supported by the State Library of Victoria, National Library of Australia, Public Libraries Victoria Network, local councils and historical societies.

Explore these digitised newspapers

Exhibition display

Between August 2014 and May 2018 the Library’s permanent exhibition, The changing face of Victoria, will include a dedicated area examining the experience of Victorians during World War One, both at home and abroad. The display, to be updated annually, reflects the Library's extraordinary collection of World War I material. Visitors can see diaries, letters, realia, maps, posters and postcards, and hear the words of Australian servicemen and women brought to life through a moving audio-visual presentation.

Find out more about the exhibition display

Victoria at war publication

In Victoria at war 1914–1918, bestselling historian Michael McKernan tells stories from the home front and battlefront that commemorate the devotion, sacrifice and spirit of a community pushed towards breaking point. This important book is illustrated throughout with photographs, letters, diaries, posters and other documents from the collections of the State Library of Victoria and other national, state and local collections.

This publication is being launched with an 'in-conversation' event at the Library and an author tour to regional Victorian libraries.

Read more about 'Victoria at war 1914–1918'

Victorians at war videos

A series of four videos, 'The Great War – personal stories', has been produced using the original diaries, letters and photographs of Victorian servicemen and women. These short videos bring to life the poignant stories of nursing sister Alice Kitchen, First Lieutenant Eric Chinner, Sergeant George Auchterlonie and Lance Corporal Percy Langford.

Watch these videos

WWI collection materials

The Library has an extensive World War I collection, which is a great resource for historians, students, family historians, returned soldiers and academics. It includes digitised unit histories and photo albums, and thousands of digitised WWI and conscription-related images (including photos, postcards, posters and ephemera).

Explore our WWI collection

Australians in WWI research guide

This expert guide provides tips and suggested resources for those tracing the service records of Australian soldiers and nurses who served during World War I. Users can find out where people served, who they served with, personal stories, medals and honours, images of life during the war, and where and how they died. This is an indispensable guide for family historians and history buffs alike.

Explore the research guide

Such was life Australian history blog

Over the course of the WWI centenary, the Library's 'Such was life' blog will include regular posts highlighting the Library's World War I collections, including online resources and treasures in the stacks. From diggers' diaries to patriotic postcards and anti-conscription propaganda, the blog will examine life on the battlefield and on the home front.

See all our WW1-related blog posts

Centenary of WWI Fellowship

Over the course of the WWI centenary period, the Library is offering four annual fellowships worth $12,500 each to support historians and researchers wanting to access the Library’s extensive collection on a subject related to Victorians at home and abroad during the First World War (1914–1918) and its immediate aftermath. The 2014–15 fellowship has been awarded. Applications for the 2015–16, 2016–17 and 2017–18 fellowships will open in late January in each of those years.

Discover more about this fellowship