While the men were fighting overseas women were expected to keep things going at home. Women were also actively encouraged to support the war effort by joining voluntary organisations to raise money for the war and to provide comforts for the troops.
These organisations include the Australian Red Cross, Citizens' War Chest, Voluntary Aid Detachments, Australian Comforts Fund and the Cheer-up Society.
We have a number of the papers from these organisations, along with personal papers of individuals who were involved with the organisations.
Voluntary Aid Detachments, Double Bay, 1915
Digital order number: a7873017
- Australian Comforts Fund, 1916-1919
- Australian Women's Service Corps papers, 1916-1919
- New South Wales War Chest papers, 1914-1918
- Scrapbook of news-cuttings relating to the appeal 'Our day', for the British Red Cross, November 1917
- Mary Booth papers, pictorial material and realia, 1905-1957
- Irene Victoria Read papers, pictorial material and relics
- Letters from V.A.D volunteer, Olive Oakley nee Waterhouse, 2 June 1915-1 January 1916
- L. Harvey papers connected with public appeals held in Sydney 1918
"'A souvenir of today at Cudgewa 25.10.16.' It looks something like a Red Cross meeting, but it's just the normal state of patriotic girls during the Great War." Cudgewa, Victoria
Digital order number: bcp_00874
Loans and bonds
War loan programs were set up by the Commonwealth and State governments to encourage Australians to support the war effort by purchasing government war bonds which would be repaid with interest. Posters promoting the programs combined patriotism with notions of responsibility to encourage Australians to financially support the war.
War loan bonds poster
Digital order number: a8730003
After the war, the government launched 'Peace Loan' campaigns to recover the cost of the war and to fund soldier pensions. Peace loans were similar to war loans where people lent money to the government and received interest.
Peace bonds poster
Digital order number: a8730001
We have digitised a range of posters in our collection that were produced throughout the war to promote the war and peace loans programs.
- Collection of posters promoting the sale of peace bonds during World War 1
- Collection of posters promoting enlistment in World War I and investment in war bonds
- Jacka. He kept his pledge - you buy Peace Bonds
- New South Wales Central Loan Committee papers, 1918-1919, regarding seventh war loan and first peace loan
Search our catalogue to find more posters promoting the programs using the subject: World War, 1914-1918 -- Finance -- Australia -- Posters.
Knit one purl one
All over Australia individuals and organisations played their part in supporting the war by knitting everything from socks to balaclavas as comforts for the troops. These were sent along with other practical items such as soap, handkerchiefs and notebooks.
Amongst our collections relating to World War I is a knitting pattern for the grey sock, to be made and sent to soldiers at the front. The pattern came to us with the papers, photographs and objects of Irene Victoria Read, a community and charity worker, who first became involved with the Australian Comforts Fund in 1915. She joined her husband in Cairo where he was a doctor with the No. 2 Australian General Hospital and was shocked by the lack of facilities for the men. She lobbied the Australian Comforts Fund to send supplies for their needs. She returned home later in the same year and became involved with the work of the Fund.
"War Chest" Sock Appeal, May 1917 : 3 photos of workers handling goods by G. A. Hills
Digital order number: a6136001
Small instruction book for knitting soldiers socks (The Grey Sock : Soldiers' Sock Fund) in World War I, ca. 1915.
Digital order number: a6086029
In the interests of national security thousands of men, women and children were interned in camps during World War I.
Learn more about internment camps.
Our World War I ephemera collections includes pamphlets, leaflets, concert programs about Australian participation including Red Cross services, memorial services, fund raising efforts and ANZAC Day commemorations.
Ephemera on World War 1 relating to Australian participation : Comforts funds.
Digital order number: a5940037
Mrs Marson, Miss Nelly Kelly and Mrs Eileen Pettet spinning wool to knit socks for soldiers at Tenterfield, NSW
Digital order number: bcp_06822
Copying, publishing or purchasing digital copies
You can make copies of pictures for research and study purposes by:
- using a digital camera
- using our microfilm reader printers
- ordering paper or electronic copies
- ordering high quality digital scans
- purchasing microfilm
You need to contact us for permission to publish our original materials. You must also acknowledge the Library and provide the correct location details.