The Victorian soldier settlement story online and searchable (Demo Table 4)

Kate Follington, Public Record Office Victoria , Australia

How can a website take a large archival collection of 70,000 records and make these individual files searchable by name and place, tell a story, be educational for students, helpful for family researchers and offer substantial data sets for academic research? The Wordpress website Battle To Farm, produced by Public Record Office Victoria, demonstrates a legacy web project during the WW1 anniversary that has given online access to otherwise impenetrable records: The files of 11,000 returned WW1 soldiers who sought a new life as farmers in regional Victoria. There were various challenges to overcome for the project team: fastidious data management working with 120 volunteers, a limited budget, an unlikely choice of CMS and finding case studies to help demonstrate the value of the records.
This is a website which will help tell the story of post World War One rural Victoria, when 11,000 returned soldiers built new towns from scratch, started new agricultural industries, cleared the Victorian landscape and faced a second life-battle during the Great Depression.