Since 1885, when, at England's beck and call, New South Wales sent troops to the Sudan, hardly a decade has passed when Australian troops have not been fighting on foreign shores in someone else's war. Ironically, although we've assiduously tried to deny, forget, or write out our internal wars, we've always been very publicly involved in someone else's conflicts. Australian men have seemed good at war. As early as 1883, The Age was promoting them as 'splendid material for an army' and offering them up and ushering them off to fight for England in the Sudan. It is not an exaggeration to say, however, that it is Australia's involvement in the great European War of 1914-18 which continues to generate the most interest, despite Paul Keating's recent attempts to engineer a re-orientation in time and place. And while Australia's participation in any subsequent wars- be it in Spain in the thirties, in Europe, the Middle East or the Pacific during the Second World War, in Korea, Vietnam or even the recent conflict in the Gulf - gave rise in each case to its own small literature, the First World War is that crucial point to which so often we return when we think of Australians at war. As Richard Nile's comprehensive bibliography attests, the literature which now surrounds it is enormous.
Rutherford, Anna and Wieland, James, FOREWORD, Kunapipi, 8(2), 1986.