From Crumbling Record to New Memorial: Remaking a Military History as a Digital Archive

By Claire A. Woods.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Ninety years ago, soldiers in a battalion of the Australian Imperial Force 1914-1918 wrote their unit history, aiming to preserve the memories of their participation in the Great War for generations to come. Sought after as a collectable artifact, the out-of-print book is little read today. The browning rough-textured leaves, dull cover, simple illustrations, and minimal photographs mark The Blue and Brown Diamond – History of the 27th Battalion on Active Service as a book of early last century. The returned soldiers who compiled this record offered a well-written and formal account, based on official sources but with little personal and social detail. More than 8 000 men were part of its narrative and the committee overseeing its production thought of it as a memorial to their role in the war. Their story is part of a larger national narrative of identity and community memory-making.
This paper discusses a project to embellish the text using resources photographs, newspaper accounts, memorabilia, diaries, and letters to create a newly made digital memorial in which the text is embedded, but not altered. This is an exercise in respectful re-making, using digital technology to create a narrative archive for a new audience, anticipating the centenary of the conflict in 2014.

Keywords: Anzac, War and Memory, Digital and Print Texts and Archives, Military Unit History

International Journal of the Book, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.53-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 857.662KB).

Prof. Claire A. Woods

Professor, Communicaton and Writing, School of Communication, International Studies and Languages, University of South Australia, Magill, SA, Australia

Claire Woods, Ph.D. (Pennsylvania); Ed.M (Harvard); BAHons (Adelaide); Dipt T.(A.T.C.); FRSA (U.K.). Professor, Communication and Writing; Director International Programs, School of Communication, International Studies and Languages. Research interests: teaching of writing; creative writing; literary practice; narratives of war, peace and reconciliation. Widely published in English studies, writing theory and practice, and pedagogy, literary practice. Winner of the Prime Minister’s Award, Australian University Teacher of the Year - member of teaching team in Professional Writing and Communication - 2000. Editorial Board member for Australian and International journals. Member of the executive, Australian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP). Former President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE).

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