Year

1999

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Department

Department of History and Politics

Abstract

The experience of Australian volunteers in World War I has been the subject of extensive research and comment by historians. Much of this has been of a general nature with few studies undertaken from a regional viewpoint. Illawarra at War addresses some of the issues previously examined by historians, but from a regional perspective.

A number of of aspects of participation by the Illawarra volunteers have much in common with the rest of the nation. Motivations, front line experiences and the impact of death all have threads of commonality. However some other features do not. Many of the characteristics of the Illawarra volunteer were dependent on the region from which they enlisted. Religious affiliation, occupational structure and a strong familial base are all features of the Illawarra region which in turn were identifiable characteristic of the Illawarra volunteers. Statistical analyses have been used to isolate and examine these characteristics and the relationship between death, locality and social standing.

Using official and private records the varied military experiences of some of the volunteers is revealed. Official records also document the failings of the AIF in delivering vital information to the families of the volunteers. Death was inevitable for many. The final aspect of this study looks at the way in which the Illawarra community responded to death and the mourning process.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.