What is it?

Fighting Australasia was a souvenir record about the contribution of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) to the conflict. The book is glossily produced and illustrated with many photographs of ANZAC soldiers. As well as acting as a record of the contribution of ANZACs to the war and a note of their experiences, the publication was produced and sold to raise money for the Australian and New Zealand Comforts Funds. 

The cover of the volume shows an ANZAC soldier putting his head through a breach and smiling at the viewer, although exactly what the hole has been put through is not entirely clear. The soldier wears a ‘slouch hat’, a distinctive piece of attire that was the standard issue Australian headdress from 1903 onwards. 

Australasia and the Great War

The Australian and New Zealand forces involved in the First World War saw action in multiple theatres and incurred many casualties, not least through involvement at Gallipoli. As a result the war left almost 80,000 dead and over 190,000 injured; large numbers for countries with a combined population of just over 5.5 million and a reason why comfort funds, like that supported by Fighting Australasia, were so important.