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World War I and Australia

War begins for Australia

August 1914

Australia was in the middle of a double-dissolution election when Britain declared war against Germany in August 1914. With Britain now at war, all dominions of the British Empire were also at war with Germany — including Australia. The Prime Minister, Joseph Cook as well as opposition leader, Andrew Fisher — who would win the election and become the Prime Minister — both pledged Australia’s full support. The campaign to recruit volunteers for the Australian Imperial Force began straightaway.

We have a number of recently published books about the beginning of the war. Visit us to read these books.

Some of the first Bega men to enlist during World War I, 1914, on Tathra Wharf ten miles from Bega. Waiting to embark on ship Merimbula – Tathra, NSW

Digital order number: bcp_02079


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. 

Find out more about copying, purchasing digital copies and publishing.

Sydney Mail

We have digitised all the Sydney Mail covers for the period of the War. You can view the covers via the Library's catalogue.

Digital order number: a9609005


Digital order number: a7871113


Search Trove to find Australian newspaper articles relating to the outbreak of the war.

Trove includes major Australian metropolitan and regional newspapers. You can search by keyword across all newspapers or narrow your search to a specific newspaper.

View a list of the newspapers available on Trove.