The State Library of NSW will open up a wealth of war diaries never before seen by the public in a new partnership with News Corp announced this week to commemorate the centenary of the start of World War I.
The project, 100 Years of Untold Stories: ANZAC to Afghanistan, will see stories of Australian service men and women and their lives on the front line published in newspapers including the Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Advertiser and The Courier-Mail in both print and online over the next four years.
The stories will be sourced from a collection of more than 1000 WWI diaries and letters, as well as photographs, maps, artwork, books and other material from the library vault, and fresh interviews with modern day diggers.
The partnership was announced yesterday at a function at the State Library attended by politicians, war veterans and News journalists and executives.
A highlight will include the engineering of a “live blog” on ANZAC Day, 2015, recounting entries from Diggers’ diaries of 100 years before.
It is one of the “most ambitious” elements of the long-running project, according to News Corp journalist Tory Maguire.
She saw the partnership as an opportunity not only to bring the diaries to life, but also to use the ANZAC to Afghanistan project as “a sort of sandpit for creativity, so we can test out new ways of storytelling”.
News Corp Australia group editorial director Campbell Reid said the idea of using the diaries as the foundation of News’ centenary commemoration had crystalised after over four years of talks with the State Library.
“We’ll be using every channel available to us,” he said.
This ANZAC Day, News will deliver digital stories, newspaper liftouts and a searchable online archive of diaries “that people, on every day, can connect with.”
High schools around the country will also be encouraged to become involved by using the ANZAC diaries library as a teaching resource.
Penny Fowler, chairman of the Herald and Weekly Times and granddaughter of Sir Keith Murdoch – who played a significant role in the decision by the British and Australian governments to withdraw forces from the Dardanelles – said: “It’s so important to be able to contemporise all these stories and really connect the untold stories and heroes of that generation with today’s younger generation.”
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