Find free teacher’s notes on the Reading Australia website

The Happiness  Box: A Wartime Book of Hope by Andrew McLean and Mark Greenwood

Based on the original book created in 1942 by Sergeant Griffin a prisoner of war in Changi Prison in Singapore. The book was said to contain the secrets to happiness. After the war the book was dug up from its hiding place and declared a National Treasure.

Loyal Creatures by Morris Gleitzman

Frank, is a 15 year old boy from country NSW who owns a horse called Daisy. In 1914 there was no conscription, and to volunteer you had to be at least 16 years of age. Frank lied about his age and signed up for The Australian Light Horse Brigade. This book tells of Frank’s involvement in the Great War set in Egypt and Palestine.

SBS video: The Indigenous soldiers of The Lighthouse Brigade

Alfred’s War Rachel Bin Salleh

Nearly 1000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys and men enlisted and fought overseas. Like many others, Alfred was just a young man when he was injured and shipped home from France. Like all ‘Black Diggers’ he was neither honoured as a returned soldier nor offered government support afforded to non-Indigenous servicemen so Alfred took up a solitary life walking the back roads finding work where he could.

The Silver Donkey by Sonya Harnett

Set in France, a young soldier blinded by war is found by two French sisters. They care for him and he repays them with the telling of stories, each related to a keepsake in his pocket.

Australian War Memorial resources

Explore Resources from the Australian War Memorial on the conscription debate.

Memorial Boxes: The Memorial Box explores the unique wartime experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and their significant contribution to Australia’s defence. Several are available.

Personal stories: There are several case studies. Each contains a personal story, as well as suggested activities for research and classroom discussion, and the information relates to the hands-on objects you will find inside your Memorial Box.

Australians at war in France and the Middle East.

E-Books are available free of charge from the Australian War memorial site on a range of topics related to WW1.