Archivist uncovers UQ stories for 100 Years of ANZAC

Over the past four years, The University of Queensland Archivist Bruce Ibsen has researched UQ ANZACs and helped uncover their stories. His work has helped drive the development of many special projects undertaken around the University to mark the centenary of World War I, which ended 100 years ago this month (November 2018).

Four years of research

Bruce has been involved in many projects around UQ since 2014, supplying information to different groups and units around the University to help them uncover their ANZAC stories.

Bruce’s biggest project was the creation in 2015 of the publication Faces of the Fallen. This book details the 84 staff, students and alumni from UQ and the Queensland Agricultural College at Gatton, now UQ Gatton Campus, who served and fell in the war.

Tribute to the fallen. from The University of Queensland on Vimeo.

As research has continued and new details have been uncovered, Bruce has continued to update the publication, which you can read on UQ eSpace. He also provided assistance to outside groups seeking information about UQ-connected service personnel for their own research project, like the Supreme Court Library of Queensland.

Researching UQ ANZACs

On any given day, Bruce fields numerous research queries, both from within and outside the university. Since 2014, many of these requests have involved establishing and detailing the university records and military service records for UQ staff and students who served in the War. Bruce describes his research process:

“I start in the University archives with the individual’s academic record, then I move on to other online resources to help find information.”

As well as student records on microfilm and general information about an individual’s studies at UQ, Bruce searches the Australian War Memorial, National Archives of Australia, National Library of Australia and State Library of Queensland for more about each individual. With service records, student records, photographs and newspaper reports, Bruce builds a detailed picture of each scholastic and military career.

Honouring the fallen

One of Bruce’s most important achievements was addressing missing names in several existing campus honour boards, where some UQ students had not been listed on honour rolls.

The board at the Gatton campus of the University was recently updated with new names Bruce uncovered. 15 students enrolled in the Queensland Agricultural College’s associated programs had not been included in the original honour board.

Bruce confirmed their service and UQ connection and encouraged the creation of a new honour board. This board was officially revised and rededicated on November 7 by UQ.

University of Queensland Archivist Bruce Ibsen with the newly updated UQ Gatton Roll of Honour.

A recognised national expert

In 2016 he worked with archivists and researchers from across Australia in the Expert Nation: Universities, War and 1920s & 1930s Australia project. This project followed servicemen who returned from World War I to contribute further to developing higher education across a range of disciplines. Bruce was an invited guest at the Expert Nation Symposium in Melbourne in October 2017, in recognition for his specialist contributions.

We will remember them

To mark 100 years since the end of World War I, UQ Contact Magazine has produced a special story reflecting on the impact of the War on the UQ Community. Read “We Will Remember Them”, which includes contributions from Bruce’s research.

Last updated:
15 August 2023