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World War I and Australian society

Starting just 13 years after Australia became a nation, World War I was one of the first times we came together as 'Australians'.

After Gallipoli, ANZAC soldiers became known and respected for their courage, endurance and mateship.

But the war also changed society at home, from the role of women to the establishment of organisations to help returned service people.

Find out more in this animation/video.


New Zealand Gully, Gallipoli 1915. Australian War Memorial J02447.

Finding out

Many Australians joined World War I (WWI) in Europe. Find Europe on a world map. In 1914 it took 40 days to travel to Europe from Australia. How do travel times differ today?

Talk to an elderly person about the roles their parents played at home. Did both parents go out to work? Which parent mostly looked after the home and cared for the children? How is this the same or different to your family and your friends’ families today?

Sorting out

When you watch the video, think about the different ways in which Australian women and men contributed during WWI. How did men help the war effort? What things did women do? How were traditional roles for men and women altered after WWI?

Following WWI, meetings were held between world leaders to decide how to keep peace between nations. What do you think about the American President's attitude to the Australian Prime Minister's presence at these meetings? How do you think other world leaders' opinions of Australia changed after WWI? Why do you think opinions of Australia changed?

Taking action

Both the RSL and the Australian Red Cross were founded during WWI. Research one or both of these organisations. Find out what kind of work their members do today to support Australians.

Talk to an older person about how you think the experience of WWI caused Australia to 'mature' as a nation. What changes in society were brought about during WWI? How do you feel about these changes?

More for years 3 - 6

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Taking part in ANZAC and Remembrance Days

For teachers and parents

Teachers' notes for World War I and Australian society