Broken nation


Beaumont, Joan.  (2013). Broken nation : Australians in the Great War.  Sydney :  Allen & Unwin


Keepsakes: Australians and the Great War was the National Library of Australia's exhibition showcasing items from the collections relating to the First World War. Read this essay by exhibition curator Dr Guy Hansen exploring this unique collection.

The broken years: Australian soldiers in the Great War


Gammage, Bill. (2010). The broken years : Australian soldiers in the Great War. Carlton, Vic : Melbourne University Publishing.

The National Library of Australia has extensive holdings of material concerning Australia's involvement in the First World War.  These cover all formats, including:

  • printed works
  • newspapers
  • manuscripts
  • pictorial
  • oral history
  • realia
  • online

This guide aims to introduce researchers to key collections and items, as well as advise of where related material may be found that is not held by the National Library. 

Catalogue search tips

Search the Library catalogue to find titles, authors or subjects.

  • To see what you can view from home, view the eResources results. You can also view the 'Catalogue' results and 'Limit your search' using the options to the right to view 'National Library (digitised item)'.
  • If you get too many results, in the 'Catalogue' results use the options under 'Limit your search' to the right of the results page to refine the list.
  • If you need to widen your search, click on the subject headings in an item's individual catalogue record to find other material related to that subject.

Although you can't browse the Library's shelves in person, you can use the catalogue to browse by title, author, subject or call number.

To search for general works about the First World War, either enter a general search term and limit your search by subject, or use the 'advanced search' option to search directly by subject. Types of subjects can include the names of campaigns and individuals. Some examples are:

Remember you can use the 'Limit your search' options to further narrow your results by language, format or publication year range.

In addition to browsing, you can use different search terms alone or combined to identify a wide variety or location-specific items. The following are some examples that can be used:

  • 'diggers'
  • 'first world war'
  • 'great war'
  • 'australian soldiers world war I'
  • 'soldier settlers'
  • 'conscription world war I'
  • 'indigenous anzacs'

Winter, J. M.  (2014).  The Cambridge history of the First World War.  Cambridge ; New York :  Cambridge University Press


If you are a registered reader, you can request items to read and photocopy in the reading rooms of the National Library of Australia.  

Registered readers can also search selected subscription databases via our eResources portal

If you can't visit the Library, you can use the National Library's Copies Direct service to request copies and have them sent to you via mail or email. Please note there may be copyright restrictions when using this service.

You can also search Trove to find a library closer to you which has the item in their collection.

If there is no library near you with the item, you may be able to arrange an interlibrary loan through your local public or institutional library.  Please ask staff at your local library for assistance with this.

Not sure where to start?