World War One

The University of Melbourne Archives holds many collections of historical material relating to World War One. These collections include original items from Australian soldiers, nurses and doctors at the various fronts, as well as business, union and personal papers revealing the situation on the home front.

Over 400,000 Australians enlisted in the First World War; over 60,000 of those were killed and over 150,000 were wounded or taken prisoner. For those who remained, industry was transformed, living conditions suffered and political debate intensified over the issue of conscription.

The social and economic crisis the war caused is reflected in almost all UMA’s collections from the period. Business records, union and community organisation collections and personal papers reveal the impact of the war on all aspects of Australian life. Collection highlights include: the Swallow and Ariell Busy Bees album of photographs showing the war efforts of their staff; the Bendigo anti-conscription campaign committee minutes; correspondence from Vera Scantlebury Brown as a young female assistant-surgeon in England; and souvenirs including poppies picked on the Western Front in 1916 and still intact as part of the Ray Jones collection.

Due to the scope of the impact of the war, it is not possible to details all material held in the collections relating to the war. This guide is designed to illustrate topics of interest to researchers, types of material available and other resources which spotlight key subject areas.

Collection material and resources based solely or party on UMA collections include: