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South Australians of World War 1 : Share their story: South Australians of World War 1

South Australians of World War 1 : Share their story

2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and the State Library of South Australia is proud to commemorate this anniversary with a photographic tribute to those South Australians who served and in some cases died for King and Country.

With contribution from State Records of South Australia we've created a Flickr group, South Australians of World War 1, for you to add your own photographs and information, or you may wish to update what we have uploaded already with your own memories and family stories.

The State Library has uploaded over 500 First World War portraits from our Chamberlain collection and our Ron Blum collection. These have been combined with a series of photographic portraits of South Australian soldiers, sailors and nurses supplied by State Records of South Australia (GRG 26/5/4). Unfortunately, in some cases very little detail is known about the soldiers featured, a one word name written on a photo chit or sometimes not even that.

The Chamberlain and Ron Blum collections represent only a small percentage of First World War portraits held at the State Library, though few others are studio portraits of the same quality. You can browse other images in our media viewer.

Can you help?

Are you able to identify any of the people in the photographs or add more detail, such as service details, biographical information or stories of interest?

To view our unknown soldiers please visit

Alternatively do you have photographs and details of South Australian service men and women who served in the First World War that you would like to add to this tribute?


You can help add to the State Library's collection of First World War material by providing information about the existing photos in our South Australians of World War 1 group on flickr, by uploading your own photographs, donating material to our archives or recording an oral history for us. Instructions on how to participate in the flickr group can be found on the flickr tab.

South Australians of World War 1

All of these photos tell a story. The men photographed in this collection fought and possibly died for their country. By adding your comments, information and any links, images or text to the photos in Flickr you will help us to remember and share their stories. We may even add this information to complement our records.

For iPad/iPhone users images can be viewed using the Flickr Light box.

The Collections

Chamberlain Collection

The Chamberlain Collection features a series of glass plate negatives of soldiers who served in the First World War. The collection was donated to the State Library on 13 May 1986 by Mr and Mrs H.B. Chamberlain of Mosman, NSW.

499 glass plate negatives have been digitised and made available at high resolution via the South Australians of World War I Flickr photo group

Herbert Barron Chamberlain was born in Sydney, NSW on 7 February 1921 and educated at North Sydney Boy's High School. Before World War 2 he was employed by a Japanese trading company. On 21 July 1942 he enlisted in the 2nd Australian Imperial Force and rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the 2/5th Infantry Battalion based in New Guinea.

In August 1945 he married Yvonne Patricia Strawhan of Dulwich, South Australia.

He re-enlisted in the Army in the 1950s and served on ships transporting supplies between Australia and Vietnam. On retirement he joined the Mosman RSL, serving as its president between 1990 and 1994.

He died on 19 March 1996 and was survived by his wife, two daughters, Robyn and Anne, and son, Clive.

Information drawn from obituary in The Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 26 March, 1996, p 47, and other sources.

State Records WWI photographic collection

State Records of South Australia holds a collection of close to 3000 photographic portraits of soldiers, sailors and nurses who took part in the First World War. These photographs were collected by the administration department of the then Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of South Australia from 1918 to 1952. Each photograph is accompanied by a ‘particulars sheet’ giving full name, date of birth, date of enlistment, trade or calling, birthplace, address prior to enlistment, rank, number, unit and distinctions. An index to the photographs can be found through State Records' catalogue.

Ron Blum Collection

In response to the launch of the South Australians of WW1 flickr group, South Australian photo historian Ron Blum donated a collection of 46 glass plate negatives of World War 1 soldiers to the State Library. Ron was able to provide valuable evidence as to the provenance of the negatives he owned, which are similar in many aspects to the Library's Chamberlain Collection.