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Commemoration of commencement of war

Plans to mark the anniversaries of the outbreak of war
In 1915 a number of State-wide activities were planned to mark the one-year anniversary of the outbreak of war. Public meetings at local and shire councils were held to confirm support for the war, with the passing of a patriotic resolution to uphold the ‘ideals of Liberty and Justice which are the common and sacred cause of the Allies’.(1)

Government offices, trains and trams throughout the State stopped work at 10 am on 5 August 1915, to coincide with the anniversary of the declaration of war in England at midnight on 4 August. Special church services across all denominations were held on the following Sunday.  In 1916 though, the five minutes of remembrance across State government offices was cut to just two minutes.


Similar commemoration activities occurred in 1916 and 1917.  Efforts were made to make sure that there was uniformity across the states in the commemoration activities.  The resolution or pledge continued to be included in the commemorations and may have been used as a means of encouraging the local community to re-commit to the war.  For the third anniversary of the commemoration of commencement of war in 1917, a flyer was published in Britain.  The flyer included the above pledge to be given across the Empire, as well as a graphic portrayal of St George slaying the dragon, which acted as a symbol of the Allies winning the war.(2)

Local Council Postcards

A selection of postcards from local and shire councils from around Sydney were found with archives relating to the commemoration of the commencement of World War I.  These postcards were sent into the Premier’s Office to notify that department of their participation in the commemoration activities of 1916.



(1) NSW State Archives: Premier’s Department; NRS 12060, Letters received, [9/4792], B18/2430, p. 13.

(2) NRS 12060, [9/4792], B18/2430.