South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau project summary

"I am anxious to know if you can give meany information as to the whereabouts of my son.

" "I thankyou most sincerely for the information you've sent meregarding the death and burial of my dear son.

" "Will you kindly makeenquiries concerning the whereabouts of Number 247, Trooper T.

G.

Chambers.

" "I have received officialinformation to the effect that my son Number 1580 Lance Corporal R.

L.

Pomeroy has beenwounded.

" "Some of our mates in the same sectiontold me they'd seen Nash killed in the first charge.

" "All these men were killed orwounded, he continued to work a gun alone.

When relief arrived he was foundlying over the gun.

' During World War 1 the South AustralianRed Cross Enquiry Bureau performed the valuable service of undertakingresearch enquiries from family and friends of some 8000missing Australian Imperial Forces personnel.

These enquiries resulted in packets of information.

They containedheart-rending letters from family still optimistic of a positiveoutcome.

Eyewitness statements made by their matesabout when the soldier was last seen, and in most cases, the resultinginformation on the fate of the soldier.

All these emotions,investigations and outcomes are included in theenvelopes, which reflect the main work of the South Australian Red CrossInformation Bureau.

The Bureau was formed in December1915, and the kinds of investigations that wereenvisaged included legal services.

As a result the legal profession wasasked to organise the Bureau and provide volunteer workers.

The Bureau wasprimarily intended only for the purpose of supplyinginformation and furthering enquiries as to the sick, wounded or missing.

Onreceipt of all official lists of casualty, hospital and returned soldiers enlisted from thisstate, details were entered upon a card system, with a cross-reference to the enquirypacket.

This was an effective means for readyaccess to all available official information.

In 1919, having loyally served both the SouthAustralian public and its sons and husbands, the South Australian Red Cross EnquiryBureau closed its doors and donated its records to the StateLibrary of South Australia.

Today the State Library is a world classresearch library.

It holds significant collectionsof South Australian material, both published and archival, with amission to ensure all South Australians and the globalcommunity can access, use, reuse and enjoy the collections and services, while protecting andpreserving South Australia's unique heritage for generations to come.

With theapproaching centenary of Anzac, the library is honouring the memory ofthose who served, at the front lines and on the home front.

The principalproject is the creation of a new web resource,the records of the South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau.

Just as the RedCross Bureau used a volunteer work force as its backbone, the State Library continues thistradition, providing an opportunity for all the volunteers to contribute to asignificant project.

And the Red Cross project will be a vehicle forshowcasing the best of South Australian collection materials and South Australian history to thenation and the world.

With its state of the art preservationDepartment, the library's preservation team iscurrently undertaking a rigorous reformatting program in orderto digitally preserve the contents of the Red Cross Bureaupackets.

Once scanning has been completed these digitised files will be married upwith website content and presented online as a sophisticatedweb resource.

The web resource will provide a new andengaging opportunity for contribution and will lead the way forfuture delivery of our collections to the world.

It will comprise of three elements: the originalpackets of information relating to the requests made throughthe Bureau, a forum for members of the community tocontribute additional information, including family photos, letters anddiaries, and personal reminiscences of loved ones.

Automated harvesting of data from third party sources suchas the National Archives, the Commonwealth War Graves Commissionand the Australian War Memorial.

Linked open data standards will be applied tothe website, enabling linking of information andcontribution to rich networks of information.

This will link knowledge in ways the StateLibrary never has before.

The State Library of South Australia welcomes any contribution that enablesthe library to complete this unique resource, which also honours and tells the stories ofthose South Australians who served in World War One and theirfamilies and those who served them.

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