Studio portraits

Studio Portraits

James C. Cruden, Wedding portrait of Kate McLeod and George Searle of Coogee, Sydney, 1915

Studio portraits of this type can be found in homes across Australia. Dressed in new uniforms, the soldiers gaze into the lens with pride and a sense of optimism. These were intended as keepsakes.

Papers of Arthur Wesley Wheen

Papers of Arthur Wesley Wheen

Australian-born Arthur Wheen (1897 – 1971) served as a signalman on the Western Front. Translator of the German novel All Quiet on the Western Front, a now famous phrase, Wheen’s papers include the original English language galley proof.

Papers of William Morris Hughes

Papers of William Morris Hughes

‘Billy’ Hughes was one of Australia’s war time Prime Ministers and perhaps the most controversial. He called two referendums on conscription – one of the most socially divisive issues on the home front.

Original Norman Lindsay drawings

Normal Lindsay drawings

Norman Lindsay (1879 – 1969), a leading artist, cartoonist and writer of the period, supported the war effort through his strident posters. His designs played to fears of foreign invasion and invited citizens to consider what might happen if the ‘Huns’ made it to Australia.

Papers of Ferdinand Henry Wright

F.H. Wright (1888 - 1981) volunteered for military deployment directly to the Secretary of Defence at the age of 26, leaving behind his young wife and two children. Included in his moving letters home, is an envelope only to be opened in the event of his death on his son’s 12th birthday.

Ephemera, posters and mass media


Propaganda played a huge role in the public perception of the Great War – its objectives and social impact. The National Library collections are teeming with the remnants of the all-consuming media campaign that coloured and shaped Australia’s war time experience.

Cartoon by David Low

Cartoon by David Low

Cartoonist David Low (1891 – 1963) made his reputation during the war with his caricatures of Prime Minister Billy Hughes. Low was merciless in his depiction of Hughes as a bombastic bully seeking attention on the world stage.

Papers of Sir John Monash

Sir John Monash papers

Running to nearly 300 boxes, the Papers of Sir John Monash (1865 – 1931) are undoubtedly one of the great treasure troves of the Library. Commander of the Australian forces by the end of the war, Major General John Monash was organised and innovative.

Papers of Sir Keith Arthur Murdoch

Sir Keith Arthur Murdoc

Writer of the famous ‘Gallipoli letter’, the young journalist Keith Murdoch (1885 – 1952), founder of the Murdoch empire, had enormous influence on key leaders during the First World War. Sent to the Dardanelles by Prime Minister Andrew Fisher in 1915, Murdoch’s report on the conditions of the Australian troops has ignited historiographical debate ever since.