Category Archives: First World War

To our last man and our last shilling

I sincerely hope that international arbitration will avail before Europe is convulsed in the greatest war of any time. All, I am sure, will regret the critical position existing at the present time, and pray that a disastrous war may be averted. But should the worst happen after everything has been done that honour will permit, Australians will stand beside our own to help and defend her to our last man and our last shilling.
— Andrew Fisher


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Entente Cordiale – We’ll keep the flags a-flying boys, World War I postcard


April, the month of remembrance

My mind is on the First World War this month. Anzac Day, will be commemorated this month. On this day (25 April) Australians and New Zealanders remember those who have served and died in war. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. This was the landing on Gallipoli, which happened 103 years ago, in April 1915.



Postcard celebrating the end of World War I, 1919

International Women’s Day — the early years

The uprising of the 20,000 and the first Women’s Day explained how International Women’s Day started with The Socialist Party of America in 1909 dedicating a day (28 February) to commemorate the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York.

In 1910 the day became international. The Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women’s Day, to honour the fight for women’s rights and to support universal suffrage for women. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries unanimously approved the proposal.

International Women’s Day may have had a slow start in Australia. The first time it is mentioned in Australian newspapers seems to be in 1915. The article The Socialist International Women’s Day was published on 3 June 1915 in the Worker (Brisbane, Qld. : 1890 – 1955). You can read it here or below.

As you can see from this article the early concerns of International Women’s Day were shaped by the First World War. The day became a day to press for peace and to express solidarity with other like-minded activists.

In 1917 Russian women chose to protest and strike for ‘Bread and Peace’ on the last Sunday in February (8 March on the Gregorian calendar). Four days later, the Czar abdicated and the new provisional Government granted Russian women the right to vote.


first IWD

Many are strong at the broken places

If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
— Ernest Hemingway

Agree or disagree?

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World War I postcard, 1918



Australian history collections of love

During February, the month of love, I have been enjoying looking for Australian history items associated with love. Here are a few that you might like to explore.

Sydney Living Museums have put together a beautiful digital collection Close to the heart, which highlights keepsakes and jewellery from their collection that were given and worn as symbols of love.

The National Museum of Australia holds the largest collection of convict love tokens in the world. This whole collection can be studied via the collection interactive Convict love tokens.

The oldest wedding dress in Australia (1822) is currently on display at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney as part of the exhibition Love Is… Australian Wedding Fashion, running until 20 May 2018. You can also search the museum’s collection to see the wedding dresses they hold.

Melbourne Museum’s exhibition WW1: Love & Sorrow is based on the experiences of eight people who lived through the war. It includes over 300 objects and photographs, which tell stories of love and sorrow. Accompanying the exhibition is an impressive website Love and Sorrow.

Do you know of other Australian history collections of love?

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Australian Airmen and bride in Devon village, 1943






January 2018, Roundup


Ralph Abernathy, Fiona Baverstock, Vera Brittain, Edmund Burke, Robin G. Collingwood, Elsie Dalyell, John Devoy, Peter Englund, Miles Franklin, Vida Goldstein, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Reid, Ettie Rout, Marion Leane Smith, G. M. Trevelyan, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, James Wilson, Virginia Woolf


Fremantle, Royaumont, Malta, Trinidad, Salonika, Istanbul, Egypt, England, Canada, New Zealand, Melbourne, United States, Russia, Belarus, Italy, Iraq, France, Macedonia, Malta and Salonika


1868: The last convicts arrived at Fremantle, Western Australia.
1874: James Wilson, one of the last convicts, writes to Fenian leader John Devoy.
1876: The Catalpa rescue — the liberation of six Fenian convicts from Fremantle gaol.
1915: New Zealand Volunteer Sisterhood set up by Ettie Rout is in Egypt.
1917: Ettie Rout’s prophylactic kit is sold at New Zealand Soldiers’ Clubs in England.
1918: First World War Armistice.
1919: Dr Elsie Dalyell awarded the OBE.
Also see military anniversaries in History, war and remembering in 2018


Australian War Memorial


Troves Digitised Newspapers
Women of Empire 1914-1918
Dressing Australia Museum of Costume
Women of Empire Stories


The Beauty and the Sorrow
Sinners, Saints & Settlers


Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. —Edmund Burke

But though kind Time may many joys renew, There is one greatest joy I shall not know Again, because my heart for loss of You Was broken, long ago. — Vera Brittain

Well-behaved women seldom make history. ― Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

If one could make alive again for other people some cobwebbed skein of old dead intrigues and breathe breath and character into dead names and stiff portraits. That is history to me! — G. M. Trevelyan

We are not makers of history. We are made by history. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Every new generation must rewrite history in its own way. — Robin G. Collingwood

Now, dear friend, remember this is a voice from the tomb…we have been nearly nine years in this living tomb…it is impossible for mind or body to withstand the continual strain…one or the other must give away. — James Wilson

Gold Star

Fiona Baverstock and her husband Keith for their exhibition Women of Empire 1914-1918.