State Library releases never before seen collection from WWI

State Library of Queensland has unearthed thousands of never before seen personal photographs, letters and diaries from the First World War.

A State of War is a new online and onsite portal which showcases Queensland’s unique stories of the First World War, including personal snapshots depicting experiences at war and at home, key events, portraits of Queensland soldiers and old newspaper clippings from SLQ’s collection.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said through the use of digital technology, the onsite display at SLQ would provide visitors with a hands-on interactive audio-visual experience.

“This is a chance to delve into the stories about Queenslanders, many of which may not have been told before,” Ms Enoch said.

“Through touch, visitors can navigate their way through memories that have passed through generations. Users can also listen to audio of a selection of letters and diaries or browse the digitised original item or its transcript.
It’s a terrific example of using digital technology to bring to life stories from our past into the present.”

A State of War comprises of two main components, offering an innovative online experience that all Queenslanders can access, as well as an interactive display onsite at State Library.

In-depth personal timelines help depict the experiences of seven featured Queenslanders. There are first-hand accounts through letters and diaries which can be viewed as originals or transcripts and heard via selected audio tracks.

Acting State Librarian and CEO Sonia Cooper said SLQ plays a leading role in ensuring Queensland’s collective memory is available to be explored and shared.

“State Library has created an opportunity for people to uncover key moments and stories which reveal how Queenslanders experienced the First World War,” Mrs Cooper said.

“This portal and onsite display allows us to discover and share the memories of the 57,705 Queenslanders who served Australia in the First World War 100 years ago and create a digital legacy for future generations.”

The incoming Assistant Minister of State to the Premier, Mark Ryan, noted his predecessor, Stirling Hinchliffe, recently opened the A State of War display.

Assistant Minister Ryan said the Queensland Government was proud to support this important interactive display as part of the Anzac Centenary program.

“I encourage as many Queenslanders as possible to visit this fantastic interactive display and dynamic online portal at the State Library,” Mr Ryan said.

"It’s important to commemorate and understand Queensland’s First World War history and its impact on our community. This installation will create an enduring digital legacy of Queensland’s experience of the First World War,” Mr Ryan said.

Queensland newspaper articles from almost every day of the war reveal what was happening at home and overseas and how the Queensland public consumed the war through print media.

Through the image gallery, follow Queensland light horsemen through the desert; infantry battalions through Gallipoli and France; fundraising volunteers and Red Cross workers at home and discover intimate snapshots of life at the war front and back home during these tumultuous times.  Users can browse the online portal then name and curate their own collections of content, then share it via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email.

A State of War is part of SLQ’s Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation five year program, proudly supported by the Queensland Government, and is accessible for the next three years of Anzac centenary commemorations.

A State of War online portal:

Media enquiries
Cinnamon Watson Publicity  0432 219 643 |

A State of War highlights

  • Queensland stories – the experiences of seven Queenslanders are presented as in-depth, personal timelines, and enriched through their first-hand digitised letters and diaries which can be viewed as originals or transcripts, or heard via selected audio tracks.
  • Rich visual imagery - personal snapshots of the First World War experience at war and at home; and how the war was communicated and received at home through media communications; the coming home experience.
  • Create collections – users can browse the site then name and curate their own collections of content, then share it through social media.
  • Sharing – selected content can be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
  • Users can listen to audio of a selection of letters and diaries while they browse the digitised original item or its transcript.
  • Onsite at SLQ the hands-on experience, coupling innovative digital technology, touchscreens and rich visual history enables SLQ visitors to navigate a number of images and delve into the stories about featured Queenslanders.

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