Remembrance receives a modern update with website overhaul

A website containing details of almost 2300 war memorials across the state, and the names of servicemen and women on them, has been completely overhauled to coincide with Remembrance Day.

The site, revamped by the State Library of NSW, can be searched  by name or place and users can add details and pictures of relatives who are named.

The placing of memorials in halls, stations, on park gates and buildings took off with the vast numbers of young men volunteering to fight on the Western Front in the First World War but some date from the Boer War around the turn of the century (1899-1902).

Unusually, Australia listed all servicemen and women who went to war unlike the UK whose memorials list only those who were killed.

Some relate to trades or organisations – one on Bridge Street records teachers and workers in education who served, there is one to staff from Grace Brothers and one for employees of the Commonwealth Bank – which is in what is now the Louis Vuitton store in Sydney.

State Librarian Dr Alex Byrne said: "This is an important part of social history so we are launching the website in a much more interactive form. It is an early example of crowdsourcing – 10 years ago we invited people to provide details about service rank and number as well as photos of those individuals listed.

"It is starting to become much more than just a list of memorials and names and is especially useful for people researching family history and for people trying to discover their links to a town. With the passion that people have for family history we think this will explode to become full of information.

"There is no doubt that the proportion of the population that went from Australia to the First World War was rivalled only by some of the towns in the Midlands and Yorkshire in England. There was a huge felling of 'we have to go and do our bit' coupled with that boy's own sense of adventure."

The database has details of about 2280 memorials with the names of 170,000 service individuals but there are believed to be some 3000 memorials in total.

The Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello, who is responsible for Veterans' Affairs, said: "No memorial is too small or insignificant to be listed on the website because each records a noble sacrifice."

This story Remembrance receives a modern update with website overhaul first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.