This ANZAC Day, Australians are encouraged to visit the National Library’s Despatches from Gallipoli website to see the stories of Gallipoli from the viewpoint of the official World War I correspondents.
Despatches from Gallipoli is a website which includes transcripts of the news stories of journalists Charles Bean, Keith Murdoch, Phillip Schuler and Charles Smith and highlights the role of the correspondent in the development of an Australian identity.
Official war correspondents were an innovation of the First World War and their despatches provided a means for everyday Australians to receive information about the activities of their troops. Overseas news services provided minimal coverage of Australian troops and soldiers’ letters to home were often out-of-date.
The website includes war images, accounts of battles, examples of censorship and discussions of the Australian legend. It also includes a copy of a letter written by Keith Murdoch, the father of Rupert Murdoch, to Prime Minister Fisher regarding the conditions facing Australian troops at Gallipoli.
Funded by the Distinctively Australian program administered by the Department of Environment and Heritage, the website is the work of the National Library of Australia and the C.E.W. Bean Foundation and is an invaluable resource for students and researchers.
The stories told by the war correspondents contributed to the shaping of the ANZAC tradition and helped define for Australians a distinctive image of themselves.
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