ANZAC Stories

In late-1914 over 41,000 Australians and New Zealanders departed King George Sound in Albany, Western Australia, bound for the Great War. One third never returned and many who did bore the scars of their experience for the rest of their lives.

ANZAC STORIES reveals the personal experiences of six of the men and women who sailed from Albany and whose stories are featured at the National Anzac Centre. The people chosen represent a range of wartime experiences, including an army chaplain, a nurse and a military commander.

We follow their remarkable journeys; from recruitment, departure by convoy from Albany, to the horror of the battlefields and life post-war. Family members appear in newly-filmed interviews, providing a lasting testament and deeply personal connection to the tumultuous events of more than a century ago.


Click on the link above to download and print the ANZAC STORIES Study Guide produced in partnership with The Australian.


Archie Barwick – Sergeant, 1st Battalion, AIF


Grand daughter, Elizabeth Barwick, tells the remarkable story of her grandfather Archie. A farmer when he enlisted at the age of 24, Archie departed Albany on HMAT Afric and served with distinction at Gallipoli and on the Western Front.

Archie described his war experiences in 16 pocket-sized diaries that offer a compelling narrative, penned by a natural storyteller with a distinctly Australian voice.



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Walter Dexter – Chaplain, 5th Battalion, AIF


James Dexter tells the incredible story of his grandfather Walter who fought in the Boer War and later became one of the longest-serving and most highly decorated chaplains in the AIF.

Walter was also responsible for mapping the cemeteries on Gallipoli before the ANZACs were evacuated in December 1915.




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Ferdinand ‘George’ Medcalf – Private, 11th Battalion, AIF


Daughter, Margaret Medcalf, recalls her brave father’s war experience from training under the pyramids of Egypt to fighting at the Battle of Pozières for which he was awarded a Distinguished Service Order. George was a member of the famed 11th Battalion from Western Australia who were among the first ashore at Gallipoli where they sustained massive casualties.




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Sister Olive Haynes – Australian Army Nursing Service


Grand-daughter, Marnie Watts, shares the inspiring story of her grandmother who enlisted as a nurse in August 1914 aged 26. Olive Haynes was posted to Lemnos Island where she treated the wounded diggers from Gallipoli. She later served on the Western Front where she was confronted with shocking mass casualties from the bitter trench warfare.




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(Sir) John Monash – Colonel 4th Infantry Brigade, AIF


Great-grandson, Michael Bennett, tells the incredible story of his great grand-father, John Monash, who was born in 1865 to Prussian-Jewish parents in Melbourne. He worked as a civil engineer before the outbreak of war and was appointed commander of the Second Convoy that departed Albany in late-1914.

Monash commanded the 4th Infantry Brigade at Gallipoli and in 1916 was given command of the 3rd Australian Division. In 1918 John Monash was promoted to Lieutenant General and Commander of the Australian Corps. His military reputation reached new heights with the success of the Battle of Le Hamel followed by a succession of victories that culminated in the breaking of the Hindenburg Line and Armistice. In August 1918 John Monash was knighted in the field by King George V – the first time in 200 years that a British monarch had honoured a commander in such a way.


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Cecil Malthus – 12th (Nelson) Co., Canterbury Infantry Battalion, NZEF


Great-grandson, Nigel Malthus, remembers his brave grand-father Cecil Malthus who enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and departed Albany for the battlefields in late-1914.

Cecil fought with distinction at Gallipoli and on the Western Front where he was wounded by a bomb blast at the First Battle of the Somme and discharged.

Later he studied at the University of Paris and published two books about his war experiences: Armentieres and the Somme (2002) and Anzac: A Retrospect (1965).


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