On this day: Australians off to war.

Australian Imperial Force's 2nd Infantry Brigade marching through Bourke Street, Melbourne, Friday, 25th September 1914. First World War. World War One.

This photograph – dated the 25th of September, 1914 – shows the Australian Imperial Force’s 2nd Infantry Brigade marching down Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Australia was involved in the First World War from the outset. 38.7 percent of the country’s eligible male population enlisted in the war – a war taking place on the other side of the world. At this point in time Australia considered itself very British.

 

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On this day: Australia at the outbreak of war.

Parade of Queensland Expeditionary Force through the streets of Brisbane, 14 September 1914. Australia. First World War.

Seven weeks after the outbreak of the First World War, and six weeks after Britain – and therefore Australia – declared war on Germany, a military parade took place in the streets of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was the 14th of September, 1914.

Featured prominently in this postcard image are the Light Horsemen, who played a significant role in Australia’s participation in the war.

Sixty Years Ago: British Ballet in Australia

10th September 1958: New Zealand-born ballerina Rowena Jackson stars in a (British) Royal Ballet performance of Swan Lake at the Empire Theatre in Sydney, Australia.

50 Years of the National Library

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The National Library of Australia, located in Canberra, was opened by Prime Minister John Gorton on the 15th of August, 1968.

Sir Robert Menzies speaking at the laying of the National Library of Australia_s foundation stone on 31 March 1966. National Library of Australia, nla.obj-136760449 Canberr

Sir Robert Menzies speaks at the laying of the foundation stone on the 31st of March, 1966.

On this day: an actor in the Air Force

Chips_RaffertyPilot Officer Goffage RAAF (better known as the Australian actor Chips Rafferty) reading the programme for a revue to be held at the RAAF Base at Gili Gili in the Milne Bay

Film star Chips Rafferty is seen here on the 14th of August, 1943, while he was a member of the Royal Australian Air Force.

Rafferty, born in New South Wales to an English father and Australian mother, rose to prominence in the 1940 war movie Forty Thousand Horsemen. Australia entered World War Two on the 3rd of September, 1939, and Rafferty joined the Air Force on the 29th of May, 1941 – the day after he married Ellen Jameson.

He was discharged  from service on the 13th of February, 1945. In the years after the war he was contracted to England’s Ealing Studios, where he found international fame.

On this day: the Australian Women’s Army Service was formed

AWASwithOwengunsAWAS with Owen guns. Members of the Australian Women’s Army Service being instructed in the use of the Owen gun at Belmont in Queensland.

Instructions in the use of the Owen gun. Belmont, Queensland. X

The Australian Women’s Army Service, created to release more men into forward positions in the military during the Second World War, was formed on the 13th of August, 1941.

AWAS_-_poster Australian Women's Army Service Recruitment poster

Recruitment Poster

Lae, New Guinea, 25 December 1945. The Right Honourable J.B. Chifley talking to Sergeant Pritchard, AWAS, the only woman interpreter of Japanese in the Australian Army.

Sergeant Pritchard (right), the only Japanese translator in the Australian Army. X

The AWAS was preceded by the Women’s Australian National Service in 1940, where women proved they were capable of performing traditionally male roles.

Awas_in_wa_1943Northam, West Australia. 1943-04-20. The Minister for the Australian Army, the Honourable F.M. Forde, inspecting personnel of the Australian Women's Army Service at the We

The Minister for the Australian Army, the Honourable F.M. Forde, with AWAS members in Western Australia in 1943.

24 026 women were enlisted over the course of the war, and several hundred served in New Guinea.

The AWAS was disbanded in 1947.