What is this website all about?
This website allows users to search the records of the South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau held in the collection of the State Library of South Australia (SLSA). From 1916 until 1919, the South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau (SARCIB) performed the service of undertaking research into more than 8,000 enquiries from family and friends of missing Australian Imperial Force (AIF) personnel fighting in World War 1. Documentation produced and received in the process of making these enquiries is included in the ‘packets’ of records that can be searched and viewed on this website.
How did the records get to the State Library of South Australia?
When the Bureau was winding down in 1919, it donated its records to the State Library of South Australia (then Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery). Several newspapers, including The Register of 20 December 1919, reported the donation. The Library’s acquisition of the records is most likely attributable to Sir Josiah Symon who was instrumental in the creation of the South Australian Bureau and a significant benefactor of the SLSA.
Since this time, the records have been accessible to the general public at the Library but users could only search for a soldier’s surname in the Bureau’s card index. Each index card recorded a series of numerical codes that, depending on their location on the card, indicated regimental rank or number, name, unit, enquiry file number, and links or references to other series within the records. The required interpretation of numerical codes and cross-referencing made the use of these records onerous.
The South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau records in this website have been digitised in accordance with the State Library of South Australia's Copyright Determination and Risk Management Framework. The copyright status and copyright holders for personal letters are undetermined.
The work's appearance on this website is not a guarantee that it can be used for any other purpose.
The State Library of South Australia acknowledges the permission of the South Australian Branch of the Australian Red Cross to digitise and publish these records.
Just as the Bureau used a volunteer workforce, SLSA has continued this tradition with volunteers contributing to the discovery of these missing South Australian soldiers again.
The Library engaged 40 volunteers to read the packets of information and and collect prescribed data which was added to a spreadsheet that ultimately made this database.
- October 2012-September 2013
- 99 boxes
- 8,024 enquiries
- 76,718 pages completed scanning creating 1.10TB of data
- 8,024 packets digitized and indexed. Packets are numbered 1-8033 but there are actually only 8,024
- There are a total of 76,718 pages within the packets
- 40 volunteers - 27 volunteers onsite and 13 volunteers offsite engaged and provided approximately $81,515 worth of value to our project and SLSA
- 19,696 names were indexed and turned into individual records in the final database – soldiers, nurses, eyewitnesses and enquirers were indexed to broaden the appeal and usefulness of the content
- VALA Conference 2014
- Melanie Oppenheimer & Margrette Kleinig. “There is no trace of him”: the Australian Red Cross, its Wounded and Missing Bureaux and the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign, First World War Studies, 6:3, 277-292
- Andrew Piper. Stories from silence: finding South Australia's servicemen Views August 2014 51: 82-85
- Eric F. Schneider. The British Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau: A Case of Truth-Telling in the Great War War in History July 1997 4: 296-315