To mark the centenary of the commencement of the First World War, the State Records Office has digitised and placed online the official “War” file created by the WA Premier’s Office in 1914. Preserved for posterity by the SRO, this remarkable archive provides a behind-the-scenes and uniquely Western Australian perspective to the declaration of war and the actions of government, the military and the people at home in WA. Along with top secret coded information, it reveals the concerns of officials and the community during the first months of the war.
The First World War affected Western Australia deeply. Nearly 40% of West Australian men aged 18-44 volunteered, enlisted and served in this conflict and it stretched the resources of the State. It created both social cohesion and disruption and ultimately, through the deaths of thousands of young Western Australians, it decimated a generation, devastating communities and families. It changed WA forever.
Over 1000 letters, memoranda, telegrams and notes have been digitised, so that detailed information about the commencement of the war in 1914 can be revealed as it happened 100 years ago. This archive (Consignment 1496, item 1914/0302 v1-5) offers a uniquely ‘home front’ view on how WA coped with the declaration of the First World War and the subsequent mobilisation of the community.
To see WA's 'War' file
WA's 'War' file is divided into 5 volumes. These are:
'War', Consignment 1496, item 1914/0302 v1 (1 Aug - 14 Aug 1914)
'War', Consignment 1496, item 1914/0302 v2 (6 Aug - 21 Aug 1914)
'War', Consignment 1496, item 1914/0302 v3 (15 Aug - 12 Nov 1914)
'War' Consignment 1496, item 1914/0302 v4 (11 Nov 1914 - 22 May 1915)
'War' Consignment 1496, item 1914/0302 v5 (2 June - 28 Oct 1915)
These are linked to the SRO's catalogue record for each volume. To view digitised copies click on to the 'Digital Copy' area of the catalogue record.
These files are made available online in digital form for reference and research as part of the SRO's preservation and management processes. No further copying should occur without permission of the SRO and/or the creators of the original material.
Please Note: The pages in each volume of the file have been digitised in the order in which they appear. This means the top pages in each digitised volume are in fact the last items received.
To learn more about the contents of the 'War' file, see the following topics:
In addition to making the digitised volumes available online through the SRO’s website, from 1 August 2014 until early 2015, the SRO posted to Facebook and Twitter selected highlights from these volumes, including copies of letters, telegrams and memoranda which reveal the day-to-day activity and actions of the government and the community. Everyone was able to watch the war unfold as archival information about this historic conflict from 100 years ago was posted to SRO's Facebook page. An ‘as-it-happened’ experience was also offered via SRO's twitter acount at @archives_wa, using the hashtags #otd and #WW1inWA.