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World War I: Read how it unfolded

07 August 2014

This week marks the centenary of what was the most catastrophic conflict the world had ever seen: World War I.

Britain's involvement prompted Andrew Fisher, Australia's fifth Prime Minister, to declare: ‘Turn your eyes to the European situation and give the kindest feelings towards the mother country... I sincerely hope that international arbitration will avail before Europe is convulsed in the greatest war of all time. But should the worst happen, Australians will stand beside our own to help and defend her to the last man and the last shilling.’

More than 416,000 Australian men subsequently volunteered to go to war from a total national population of 4.9 million. Sadly, around 60,000 Australians never came home. A further 160,000 were wounded.

To coincide with the WWI centenary, the Supreme Court Library is hosting a special display: original, bound copies of Melbourne’s broadsheet newspaper, The Argus, documenting what made news all those years ago.

Supreme Court Archives and Records Manager Joanne Boyd said the historic event was captured in great detail in the daily newspaper.

‘The newspaper reports provide a valuable insight into how the war unfolded over the early stages and thereafter,’ she said.

‘The pictures and headlines are evocative of the time with great photos and maps, but of course there are also some great advertising features from that long ago.’

She urged all Victorians to visit the Library and read the newspaper reports for themselves.

The newspapers are changed daily to reflect the corresponding date in 1914. The Argus will remain on display through the WWI centenary.

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