State Library digitises Queensland’s Anzac history

Anzac Day 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the inaugural Anzac Day services held in Queensland. To mark the occasion, State Library of Queensland (SLQ) has recently digitised the first minute book of the Anzac Day Commemoration Committee which records the origins of the committee and its earliest meetings in 1916.

The committee was formed on 10 January 1916 at a public meeting when local land agent, Thomas Augustine Ryan, put forward a recommendation to form a committee to explore ways of honouring the fallen soldiers of the Gallipoli campaign. The committee quickly devised a ceremonial day to be held on 25 April 1916, the anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.

“Queensland has a proud history of supporting our Defence Forces and this year we also pay tribute to those Queenslanders who led the way in commemorating the sacrifices our diggers made,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

“Every year since, Queenslanders have come together in towns and cities across our state to pay their respects. I commend the State Library for the efforts they’ve gone to to ensure this rich part of Queensland’s history has been protected and will be shared with all Queenslanders for generations to come.”

Through the years, the committee has overseen the conduct of Anzac Day services and activities all over Queensland, and remains central to the organisation of these events today.

By a Deed of Gift, SLQ holds the business records of the committee, a unique collection which includes minutes, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and photographs.

The recently digitised minute book reveals the ideas and discussions which contributed to the original Anzac Day event and the development of elements which are still part of Anzac Day today.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the digitisation of the committee minute book and other items provides the opportunity for Queenslanders to explore this often unknown chapter in the state’s Anzac history.

“It is not commonly known that Australia’s Anzac Day traditions have their origins in Queensland and the unique items being digitised by State Library are helping to share that story,” Ms Enoch said.
“This is just another way that the Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation program is creating opportunities for people to uncover key moments and stories which reveal how Queenslanders experienced the First World War, both at home and abroad.”

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

“This year’s Anzac Day commemoration is a significant milestone in the First World War centenary period and SLQ’s collection items can enhance our understanding of the origins and importance of this occasion,” Mrs Cooper said.

“It’s important to commemorate and understand Queensland’s First World War history and its impact on our communities. The work that SLQ is doing to preserve and digitise precious First World War items is creating a lasting legacy for current and future generations of Queenslanders.”

Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation is proudly supported by the Queensland Government.

Media enquiries:
State Library: Hillary Bell | 07 3842 9864 | hillary.bell@slq.qld.gov.au

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