Irish-born soldiers who fought in the Australian Imperial Force during WWI will be remembered in an online database developed at UNSW.

The Irish Anzacs Project, created by UNSW’s Global Irish Studies Centre, aims to identify the estimated 6,000 Irish-born enlistments in the Australian Army during the First World War.  

Around 900 Irish Anzacs, many of whom came to Australia to pursue a new life, were killed or died of wounds or illness due to their service.

The database, funded by a grant from the Irish government’s Emigrant Support Program, will provide families with information on their Irish-born family members, as well as statistical information on the contribution of the Irish to the Australian war effort.

The project’s director, Dr Jeff Kildea, is an adjunct senior lecturer at UNSW and Keith Cameron Chair of Australian History at University College Dublin (UCD).

Dr Kildea wrote Anzacs and Ireland, one of the first books to tell the story of Australian and Irish soldiers who fought alongside each other at Gallipoli, the Western Front and in Palestine and of the thousands of Irish-born men and women who enlisted in the Australian forces.

Director of UNSW’s Global Irish Studies Centre, Professor Rónán McDonald, said the contribution of the Irish to the Australian war effort deserves more recognition both in Ireland and Australia

“This database provides an enduring resource for historians, researchers and genealogists interested in the many interwoven strands of Irish and Australian history," he said.

The Irish Anzacs database was launched simultaneously at events at UCD and UNSW via video link.

Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charles Flanagan attended the launch at UCD.

“One third of the Australian population boasts Irish ancestry. Ongoing academic collaboration between UCD and UNSW, two superb institutions of learning, is representative of the strength of our people-to-people ties,” Minister Flanagan said.

“Irish and Australians stood shoulder to shoulder in Gallipoli and at the Somme, and I am delighted that today we continue to work together in more peaceful times.”

Explore the Irish-Anzac database here

Media contact: Fran Strachan, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8732, 0429 416 070