State Library of Queensland has been collecting wartime diaries, letters, photographs, and historically significant items since opening its doors in 1934. Through uncovering our past, we invite future generations to understand, share, and learn about the Queensland experiences of war, and ensure those who made the ultimate sacrifice are never forgotten.

We've searched through State Library's extensive military collection to bring you a selection of stories that best illustrate the courage, resilience, sacrifice, and duty of Queenslanders who served on the home front and the warfront, and immortalise the Anzac Spirit.

Sharing Stories of Service

John James Flynn, QX17415 & QX19492

Jack Flynn WWII   

Jack Flynn stepped forward in July 1940 and volunteered to join the Army where he flourished. A keen athlete, he was selected to attend a specialist Physical Training Instructors course in Victoria but, after injuring himself, earned himself an early discharge. 

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Constance Keys 

Constance was one of the first four Queensland nurses to embark for Egypt in September 1914 and she has left an enduring legacy and a moving account of her service during this most terrible of conflicts.

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Portrait of nurse Constance Mabel Keys, 1914
Curtis McGrath wins the gold medal at Rio 2016

Curtis McGrath OAM 

Curtis McGrath OAM was born in New Zealand and grew up spending a very active outdoors childhood in both New Zealand and Australia. When he was just 18 years old, he enlisted in the Australian Army. His immediate focus was on becoming a combat engineer. 

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Five seamen from HMAS Parkes while deployed overseas during the Second World War, 1943-1945.

Donald Campbell

Donald Campbell was just 17 years old when he enlisted in the Navy.

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Air Cadet Alan Groom prior to departure for England, after graduating from Point Cook RAAF base, Victoria, 1935

Group Captain Alan Groom DSO, RAF

Alan Groom's passion for aircraft took him to the other side of the world when he was only 22. 

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An Australian Serviceman sitting on sandbags in Vietnam, 1968-69, during the Vietnam War.

David Kelly, Vietnam War

David Kelly was one of many young Australians who was conscripted through National Service to serve during the Vietnam War. 

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Captain Dorathea Jane Skov, Australian Women's Army Service

Major Dorathea Jane Skov

After the Second World War, Major Dorathea Jane Skov founded the Ex-Service Women’s Association of Queensland.

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Nurse Marion Winifred Croll and Major David Gifford Croll, seated on camels, Cairo, Egypt, ca. 1915. Being led by two men with step pyramid in background.

David and Marion Winifred (Winnie) Croll

As one of the few husband and wife couples to serve in WW1, David and Winnie Croll have a unique story.

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Ernest Duncan in his army uniform during his time in the Militia, Circa 1941.

Ernest Duncan

Ernest Duncan served in the army, the navy and the air force, and worked for the United Nations.

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Francis on a camel tour near the Great Pyramid, Egypt, 1915.

Francis Leofric Armstrong

While great stories are told of the Evacuation of Gallipoli, it is timely to remember those who were not destined to return. 

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Private Robert Salisbury, ca. 1916.

Robert Salisbury WWI

When Robert Salisbury, from South Brisbane, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in October 1916 he was the sole breadwinner

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Portrait of Reverend George Green

Reverend Green

George Green was born in London and educated at Oxford University before becoming an Anglican minister in 1910.

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Dr Kim Morgan-Short standing in front of a nurses' station at a medical clinic

Dr Kim Morgan Short

The military has always played a role in Kim Morgan-Short’s life. 

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George Bostock visiting the Anzac Square Memorial Galleries on Vietnam Veterans Day, 18 August 2021

George Bostock

George Bostock is a Bundjalung man from Grafton, NSW, who grew up in Brisbane and Sydney.

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Major John Stanton Mellick

Stanton Mellick

John 'Stanton' Davis Mellick, attended Brisbane Grammar School in the 1930s, and later studied accountancy

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Annie Wheeler

Annie Wheeler OBE

Annie Margaret Wheeler, who had some prior training in nursing, came to be known as the 'Mother of Queenslanders'

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Victor Owen Williams

Victor Owen Williams

In 1917, 18-year-old Victor Owen Williams enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force with permission provided by his parents.

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 Servicemen’s Wedding at Charlotte Street, Brisbane, 1917

James Lingwoodock and John Geary

James Lingwoodock and John Geary were two of more than 20 Aboriginal men comprising part of the 20th Reinforcements for the 11th Light Horse Regiment

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Charles Fry, Flt Lt, 112 Fighter Squadron RAF, Egypt 1939

Charles Fry

In May 1939, Flight Lieutenant Charles ‘Digger’ Fry was posted to Egypt. In May 1941, Charles was flying on operations over Crete when his Hurricane fighter aircraft was shot down.

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Captain Andrew Craig on Duty

Captain Andrew Craig OAM, RAN (Rtd)

Andrew Craig, a former naval officer and helicopter pilot, served with the Royal Australian Navy from 1958-1988, retiring with the rank of Captain..

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