The untold stories of World War One now online at “One Hundred Stories”

Elsie-TranterOne hundred years after the beginning of “The Great War”, it may surprise some people to know that stories are still emerging from this turbulent and momentous period of history which shaped the world as well as the nation.

Monash University's “One Hundred Stories” project is designed to capture community memories of World War One. The project invited people to submit their anecdotes or records from their own family histories. Monash historians conducted further research on each case and the findings were distilled into short videos which capture the power of the individual stories.

The videos highlight the experiences of women as well as men, and also recover the all too often forgotten contribution of Indigenous Australians. They emphasise the ongoing cost of war to the community as a whole.

Nurse Elsie Tranter's recollection of Armistice day, when peace was finally declared (11 November, 1918) is just one of the many vignettes now online. Her account of the wild and happy celebrations outside the hospital where she worked is poignantly contrasted with the predicament of those wounded men inside, for whom the war was not over, and in some cases never would be. She talks about a young boy who was critically wounded, and in her care on that day:

“When we told him the war was over he seemed unable to realise it and asked,

‘Is it really over? Won't I have to go back?'

He seemed so happy each time we reassured him. This poor little lad finished his battle towards evening.

He was barely 18 years old and we were all so fond of him”

(From “We were all so fond of him”, Elsie Tranter)

The “One Hundred Stories” website is being launched to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the departure of the first troops headed for the battlegrounds of World War One, on November 1, 1914. These digital narratives will feature in the new National Anzac Centre to be opened in Albany on 1 November.

The first fifty videos are now available online, and you are invited to discover these untold stories from the Great War: