War memorials are an everyday part of the Australian landscape. They are an excellent starting point to answer questions about neighbours past and present, family members, and our local community at large. As sources of local history, war memorials are invaluable as they can connect us to the men and women who once called our neighbourhood home. Each name has a story attached, and the increasing availability of online resources means that researching them is more achievable than ever. But where to begin?
The Royal Australian Historical Society is proud to announce the launch of our new NSW History project, Researching Soldiers in Your Local Community, to help students, teachers, historians, and people wishing to know more about the history of their local area begin their research journey. With a particular focus on community history, Researching Soldiers aims to give anyone the tools to find out about local residents who served in wartime, whether they have Anzac ancestors or not.
The project consists of a central homepage, highlighting eight themes of interest to consider when researching your local soldier, drawn from the NSW History curriculum. If offers an opportunity for members of the public to submit their own local soldier stories, plus YouTube video guides which walk through the key online resources for Anzac research. There’s also a downloadable research guide with information about other resources, as well as suggested additional reading.
This project encourages us to explore the different war experiences of people who once lived in our hometowns and suburbs, helping us to appreciate the patterns of change and resilience that have moulded and continue to shape the people and places of New South Wales.
Researching Soldiers is a living webpage and will by regularly updated with new content from our councillors, members, affiliates, and more.
This project has been supported by Create NSW through the Arts Rescue and Restart Package – Stage 2
This story originally appeared in our e-newsletter of 22 July 2021