Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Digitisation projects for World War I commemoration

I recently attended a consultative forum at the National Archives of Australia's Victorian office on behalf of AAGRA (Australasian Association of Genealogists and Record Agents).

I was interested to hear project updates on two major digitisation projects.

The National Archives of Australia (NAA) are working on their World War I Repatriation personal case files. They are digitising the files of all those who were on the Albany convoy. They are also adding metadata to their catalogue so that the files of all other men and women who served and claimed repatriation will be available for retrieval. The files have data in addition to that found in series B2455, the First Australian Imperial Forces personnel dossiers, that are already available through the NAA. For example if somebody was wounded, the details of the event where the wound was incurred might be described in more detail on the repatriation file. Also you may be able to learn more about life after the war.

Not all those who returned claimed repatriation. A few did not need to. Others were too proud.

The digitised files and the meta data will be released in November to coincide with the commemoration of the departure of Australian and New Zealand troop in convoy from King George Sound, Albany, initially bound for Europe. The convoy ended up in Egypt and in April 1915 the majority of soldiers landed at Gallipoli.

The Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV) are digitising the land files associated with soldier settlement after the war. There were around 10,000 Soldier Settlers after World War I and the Settlement files will be digitised and available on line in 2015. The scheme had mixed success. Some soldiers were successful farmers, others failed. A case study on the PROV's website at http://prov.vic.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/soldier-settlement gives the story of the challenges faced by one returned soldier.

A group of returned soldiers who had settled on farms in the Mallee. They rode horses to Melbourne to place wreaths on the Shrine of Remembrance. They have stopped for a meal. There is a truck loaded with sacks of chaff in the background (probably to provide feed for the horses). Photograph from Museum Victoria: Negative - Returned Soldier Settlers from the Mallee Having Roadside Meal, Wemen, Victoria, circa 1930 Reg. No: MM 002568 Copied from Mrs Jim Ryan, 1985 The Biggest Family Album of Australia, Museum Victoria.

I know my family tree contains soldiers who were totally and permanently incapacitated after World War I, including my husband's grandfather. We also have family members who were soldier settlers in the Mallee.  Both sets of files will contain family history information for me.

1 comment:

  1. Something to look forward to. I should be able to add to my family stories too.


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