South Australians at War
SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future

Conflicts : World War One

Coo-ee recruitment poster_GRG32_16_7 Following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne, Germany declared war on Russia on 1 August 1914, and two days later invaded France through Belgium. As a consequence, Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August. Australia was drawn into the massive conflict of 1914-1918 through its ties with Britain; on 31 July 1914, Prime Minister Cook had declared, 'Remember that when the Empire is at war, so is Australia at war' ('Statement by Mr. Cook', Argus, 1 August 1914, p. 20, col. c).

The State Library of South Australia holds a vast amount of material dealing with the many facets of the First World War. It has particularly rich holdings of material giving first hand personal accounts of the impact of war.

34,959 enlisted in South Australia during World War One (source: Australian War Memorial). 5,565 South Australians were killed in World War One, representing 9.2 percent of the total Australian casualties (source: RSL Virtual War Memorial)

Themes on this website

Other State Library of South Australia resources


Service records

The National Archives of Australia have digitised many service records of Australian soldiers who served in World War One. Search their RecordSearch for service records or see their Discovering Anzacs website for further information.

Details of all AIF personnel can also be found at The AIF Project: Australian ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918.

Official history 

The Australian War Memorial has digitised the Official history of Australia in the war of 1914-1918 and has an extensive World War One resources.

AIF unit histories

See our list of World War One AIF units, comprised wholly or in part of South Australians, with published histories available at the State Library or online.

AIF unit war diaries 

The Australian War Memorial provides digitised images of selected original war diaries recording the daily activities of Australian Army units in World War One.