In the December edition: On the Homefront Appeal and Christmas
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Another year has come and gone, all too quickly, it seems.  The State Library of Western Australia Foundation has seen some great achievements in 2015, the highlight of which was the Freycinet Suite Recital, a world premiere of an original piece of music based on the amazing Freycinet Collection, which was gifted to the Library by the Foundation this year.  Now we have the countdown to Christmas and the New Year.


Christmas Truce

Image of Front of A postcard embroidered with the badge of the Royal Artillery surmounted by a British and a French flag

Image: Front of A postcard embroidered with the badge of the Royal Artillery surmounted by a British and a French flag, CN# BA703. Courtesy of State Library of WA 


In these years of the ANZAC Centenary, the legendary “Christmas Truce” has again received attention.  In 1914, as Christmas approached, there were numerous unofficial cease-fires occurring along the Western Front.  In these German and British soldiers crossed lines and exchanged Christmas wishes, food, and in some cases, engaged in a friendly game of football. 

Local newspapers recorded the heart-warming story of the 1914 Christmas Truce in articles similar to this in the Geraldton Guardian on Tuesday, January 5, 1915:

“A colonel states that the Germans and his men rushed out spontaneously.  He at first suspected treachery, but afterwards he permitted the fraternisation and took part in it.  The English helped to bury the German dead and attended a church service a German captain reading the service in German and English.”

 Sadly, those in command positions were not as pleased about this fraternisation and as the war continued, bitterness and anger at opposing forces meant that the Christmas Truce was not to be recreated in subsequent years.



On the Homefront


The exciting news about our On the Homefront Appeal is that of the original 26 newspapers that were to be digitised, we now have 19 of them up on Trove and available for researchers to investigate.  These include editions that were published in small country towns as well as the larger metropolitan areas.  If you have not had a chance to explore these, then probably the Christmas break may provide this opportunity.
However, we still have seven more to go and it could be your donation that enables these valuable historic stories to be released and available to all.  So, now is a great time to make your contribution to the On the Homefront Appeal and to see such gems as this on Trove:

“Complaints are common of late regarding the noise made by numerous boys of the town in their efforts to imitate the howl of a dingo, the cry of the night hawk and the mournful wail of the curlew interspersed with the yodelling of a Tyrolean shepherd.  This sort of thing should be stopped in the vicinity of the town as it is becoming a painful nuisance.” (Narrogin Observer August 21, 1915)

BA1271/104: Stereoscope of two boys pose on a log in the bush, ca.1905

Stereoscope of two boys pose on a log in the bush, ca.1905 Image provided courtesy of State Library WA Call#BA1271/104

The digitisation of these remaining newspapers would be a wonderful gift that you can give to all Western Australians, so please consider donating to the “On the Homefront “ appeal, by clicking on the GiveNow button below.  Remember that all financial donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Click here to be taken to our appeals page

The 12 Days of Christmas


Relax over Christmas with this selection of 12 great reads as selected for your enjoyment by the Foundation staff. Enjoy!:

  1.  For the little ones,  Lynley Dodd “Hairy McClairy from Donaldson’s Dairy” the iconic first book which introduced the beloved children’s character.  Don’t forget to see the exhibition of Lynley Dodd’s illustrations at the State Library until 27 January 2016.
  2. For older kids, teenagers and young adults, “Northern Lights” the first of the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pulman.  It’s been around a while, still very suspenseful, full of action and fun to read.
  3. If you didn’t read it last year then you must read Tim Winton’s “Eyrie” set in and around Fremantle. 
  4. …and his latest book, a memoir exploring his relationship with the Australian landscape “Island Home”
  5. Also part memoir, part history, “Perth” by David Wish-Wilson, is a wonderful gift for ex-pats – it will make them want to come running home.  
  6. And another by a great West Australian author Robert Drewe “The Beach: An Australian Passion” is an examination of Australian beach culture – what better read for the summer holidays? 
  7. As we commemorate the centenary of the first World War, then Peter Fitzsimon’s latest book “Fromelles and Poziers: In the Trenches of Hell” should not be missed.
  8. For those who like their history with a dose of fiction then Tom Keneally’s “Napoleon’s Last Island” should keep you satisfied.  This is a popular one for Book Clubs.
  9. The 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner, and another treat for historical fiction fans is “All the Light We Cannot See” by Andrew Doerr.
  10. For the armchair crime lovers, Alan Carter’s latest book “Bad Seed” continues the Cato Kwong series, set in Fremantle and surrounding suburbs.
  11. For something quirky, Annabelle Crabbe and Wendy Sharpe have teamed up for “Special Delivery” a cook book with a difference, it comes with instructions on how to pack and take it with you as your holiday festivities move from house to house
  12. And finally, have to finish with a lighthearted romance, Loretta Hill’s “The Maxwell Sisters” set in our very own Margaret River region.
Reading and relaxing in the caravan park, Coral Bay. R. Garwood, 1992. Courtesy of State Library of WA CN#b4257022

Image: Reading and relaxing in the caravan park, Coral Bay. R. Garwood, 1992. Courtesy of State Library of WA CN#b4257022


Facts and Figures

Did you know that the 232 public libraries in Western Australia in 2013-2014:

  • attracted over 10 million visitors 
  • answered over 1.3 million enquiries
  • had over 1 million members and
  • loaned 16 million plus items to the general public
Librarian lending books at Kwinana Public Library, 1959

Image: Librarian Patricia Morris lending out books at the Kwinana Public Library, 1959. Courtesy of State Library of WA. CN#319581PD


 From the State Library of Western Australia 

Fremantle signed on to become a Public Library in 1955

Christmas shopping made easy at the State Library Shop


If you are looking for something just a little unusual or special for your Christmas gift, consider visiting the State Library Bookshop, which has a wide range of products from books through to stationery and small gifts for those Christmas stockings.  The bookshop is open from Monday to Friday 9:30 to 5:00pm and Saturday and Sunday 12:00 noon to 5:00pm  

The State Library of Western Australia will be closed from Friday December 25 to Monday December 28 and from Friday January 1, 2016 to Sunday January 3, 2016


Where your Donations Go


With the assistance of your generous donations made to the State Library of Western Australia Foundation in the years 2012-2015, the Foundation has been able to:

  • Raise more than $1.5 million for library projects
  • Gift collections valued at more than $2 million to the library
  • Build a database of more than 3,800 donors, supporters and prospects
  • Secure $400 thousand from Lotterywest for National Year of Reading and 125th Anniversary Celebrations
  • Project manage events for the National Year of Reading and the 125th Anniversary

You can assist us to maintain and to grow our contribution to the State Library and the Western Australian community by donating to the Foundation.


State Library of Western Australia Foundation


The State Library of Western Australia Foundation would like to advise friends, supporters and donors that the office will be unattended over the festive season for the following dates: from Friday December 17, 2015 to Monday January 4, 2016.

This will be our final newsletter for 2015 and I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the State Library Foundation Board and Team to wish all of our donors, supporters and friends a very happy, safe and peaceful festive season and best wishes for 2016.   We thank you for without your encouragement and endorsement, our achievements would not be possible.

Jane King 
Executive Director

Merry Christmas - The Foundation office will be closed over the Christmas Break

Image provided courtesy of State Library WA CN#010744D