New WW I Archive

A recently discovered set of Parliamentary Papers dating back to World War I have been deposited with the National Archives of Australia. The papers were found amongst documents relating to World War II.

The ABC News reported on the discovery:
Historians will have access to valuable World War I records for the first time after they were unearthed at Parliament House.
The Federal Parliamentary War Committee records were buried among World War II records in the Parliament’s collections.
They have now been handed over to the National Archives of Australia and include documents detailing how to deal with returned soldiers, recruitment posters and postcards.
The war committee – which included prominent parliamentarians such as Billy Hughes – provided advice to the government and kept the Parliament up to date on how the war was progressing.
Senate President John Hogg says the records from 1915 – 1918 offer a valuable insight into government decisions such as recruiting, land settlements and military hospitals.
“A major interest was the welfare of returned soldiers, including disabled soldiers. This included their employment and the possibility of land settlement,” he said.
“The committee visited military hospitals and convalescent homes as well as military camps.
“There are also records about alien and enemy subjects, medals, pensions and the prohibition of the commercialisation of the word Anzac.”
National Archives Director Ross Gibbs says the items are all undergoing preservation work.
“Over a long period these records would’ve been created when the parliament was created in World War I in Melbourne,” he said.
“They then came up to the old Parliament then up to the new Parliament and, almost 100 years later, they’ve become available.”
Mr Gibbs says the documents will eventually be digitised so they can be viewed online.
“Australians looking for their ancestors, they’ll find out new information about them,” he said.
“It’s not so much about named individuals but just about what was happening in Australia at the time, how involved everyone was, how the Parliament itself set itself up as part of the war effort.”
Photo:  Andrew Dawson, House of Representatives

To find out more about what the contents of these records from the National Archives of Australia and when they will be available by click here.

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The Families and Friends of the First AIF thanks the Australian, UK and French Governments for affording Australian and British soldiers dignified individual reburials in the new CWGC cemetery at Fromelles, and applauds the Australian and British Governments for their joint decision to DNA test the remains at exhumation and use every reasonable method to attempt identification of each soldier.

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