Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Contemporary audiences will be able to experience the Sights and Sounds of the First World War period, by exploring a new website produced in partnership by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) and Ng Taonga Sound & Vision in New Zealand.

A curated selection of hundreds of rare films, songs, recorded interviews, documents and photos from the era have been expertly restored and digitised for the website, titled Anzac: Sights and Sounds of World War I ( The site will be launched tonight in Sydney.

New content will be added regularly during the Centenary period (2015 – 2019). Initial highlights now available on Sights and Sounds include:

The First Troopships: Departure (1914): Departure of the Australian Imperial Force from Albany, Western Australia.
Heroes of Gallipoli (1915): Rare footage of the Gallipoli campaign (loaned from the Australian War Memorial).
The Exploits of the Emden (1914/1928): Directed by Ken G Hall, this film combines documentary and dramatised incidents relating to the Sydney-Emden naval battle.
Cartoons of the Moment (c1915-1916): Australian sketch artist and caricaturist Harry Julius provides a satirical commentary of World War I.
If England Wants a Hand, Well, Here It Is (1915): A song performed by Harrison Latimer.
Charity Bazaars in Martin Place (c1916): Fundraising for the war effort in Martin Place, Sydney.
The Landing of the Troops in Egypt (c1916): A musical and dramatic recreation aimed to encourage support for the war effort.
Mrs Barnard (1965): The gargantuan gingernut-baking efforts to fundraise for the war effort.
A range of oral histories from soldiers who served at Gallipoli talking vividly about their experiences, the hardships they faced, as well as some of the lighter moments.

Continuing the Anzac tradition of cooperation between Australia and New Zealand, the Sights and Soundsproject has allowed the NFSA and Ng? Taonga Sound & Vision to compare and contrast how each country experienced the First World War. 

NFSA Senior Curator Jennifer Coombes added: “The power of our audiovisual collection is its ability to take us back to a particular moment in time, and see and feel that world. The footage on Sights and Sounds gives you a chance to picture yourself walking along the wharf next to the departing troop-ships, throwing streamers as they leave the dock, sharing the sense of anticipation and excitement that was felt by those travelling overseas for the first time. On this website you get to sing their songs, and look at those years through their eyes.”

Ng? Taonga Sound & Vision Head of Audience Diane Pivac said: “Through Sights and Sounds we are hoping to convey a real, tangible connection to the past. The content has been carefully selected to give visitors a very real sense of the people whose lives were transformed by the war, and to illustrate how much our societies changed between 1914 and 1919.”

The NFSA and Ng? Taonga Sound & Vision invite all Australians and New Zealanders to explore these Sights and Sounds, and share their reactions to them on social media. They represent a defining moment in the history of our nations and as such, belong to all of us.

Sights and Sounds was produced with funding from the New Zealand Lottery World War One Commemorations, Environment and Heritage Committee. 

Facebook: anzacsightsound
Twitter: @ anzacsightsounds


NFSA Senior Curator Jennifer Coombes and Ng? Taonga Sound & Vision Head of Audience Diane Pivac are available for interviews.

Footage, audio and stills are available for media use. For more information or to request interviews/materials, please contact Miguel Gonzalez on [email protected], (02) 8202 0114 or 0404 281 632.


First World War


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