Australia Military Records

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Military records identify individuals who either served in the military or who were eligible for service. Evidence that an ancestor served in the military may be found in family records, biographies, census, probate records, civil registration, and church records.

Military records may include:

  • Muster rolls
  • Personnel files
  • Regimental account books
  • Letters of deportment
  • Lists of officers
  • Pay vouchers or records
  • Pension records
  • Records of leave
  • Naval records
  • Descriptive rolls

Army[edit | edit source]

The history of the army in Australia can be divided into three main groups:

  • Imperial forces
  • Local colonial forces
  • Commonwealth military forces
  • AIF Project - Australian Anzacs in the Great War - 1914-1918

Imperial Forces (1788–1870)[edit | edit source]

The marines, under the direction of the Admiralty Board, were the first military presence in Australia. They arrived with the first fleet and were assigned to guard the convicts. In 1790 the marines were replaced by the first army regiment. The British maintained army regiments in Australia from that time until 1870. The following source lists army regiments that were and are stationed in Australia:

Defense. The Australian Encyclopaedia. Third Edition. (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia: The Grolier Society of Australia) Volume 2, (1977): 230. (Family History Library Call Number 994 A5a.)

Local Colonial Forces (1854–1901)[edit | edit source]

By 1842 Great Britain was pressing the colonies to develop and support their own defense force. By 1870 the last of the British troops had left Australia. In order to keep a strong military force, some colonies, including New South Wales and Victoria, offered land to those who had served at least five years in the military. The colonies soon realized they needed to coordinate their defense activities. As a result, in 1877 a British commissioner of defense came to the colonies and helped organize an army.

Commonwealth Military Forces (1901–Present)[edit | edit source]

In 1901 the Australian government took responsibility for the defense of for the whole country.

The Australian War Memorial
Biographical Records has available listings by several categories of military service: website.

Graves and memorials of Australians in the Boer War 1899-1902
The records are maintained by The Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra Inc. The site now has a searchable database of information for South African Graves and Australian Boer War memorials:website.
The Australian War Memorial
The Memorial has a collection for the Boer War. website.
Australians in the Boer War, Oz-Boer Database Project
This project is dedicated to the memory of the around 20,000 Australians who, a century ago, risked all to serve their Queen, Empire and Country in the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) - in particular the 600 plus who lost their lives in the process. They have not been entirely forgotten. website.

AIF Project - Australian Anzacs in the Great War - 1914-1918
The AIF project is a database that has many records of the 330,000 men and women who served overseas in (first) Australian Imperial force in the years 1914-1918. website.

World War I Service Records
Records of Australian servicemen and women who served in World War I are preserved in the National Archives, website.

The Great War
This is a database of the WW1 Military Service Records website.

Photos of WWI soldiers, sailors and nurses
Photos are here on the Flicker website.

The World Remembers - WWI Deaths
This site that may help you find relatives. This site is coordinating the WWI names data files from participating countries.website

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database listing the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations worldwide where they are commemorated. The register can also be searched for details of the 67,000 Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action in the Second World War.website

World War II service records
The World War Two Nominal Roll honours and commemorates some one million people who served in Australia's defence forces and the Merchant Navy during the period 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945. website

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
War Dead Records and Cemetery and Memorial Records for the First and Second Wold Wars. website

Korean War Nominal Roll
The Nominal Roll of Australian Veterans of the Korean War honours and commemorates the men and women who served in the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force in Korea, or in the waters adjacent to Korea, during the conflict and after the ceasefire, between 27 June 1950 and 19 April 1956.website

The Nominal Roll of Vietnam Veterans
This honours and commemorates the men and women who served in the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force in Vietnam, or in the waters adjacent to Vietnam, during the conflict between 23 May 1962 and 29 April 1975.The roll contains information from the Service records of more than 60 000 military members who served during the Vietnam War. website

Headquarters Company, 1st Australian Task Force
HQ 1ATF served in Vietnam between 1966 and 1971, and D&E Platoon was the longest continually serving Platoon in South Vietnam.website

Australian Redcoat Settlers
This Site is dedicated to the Soldier's, their Spouses and families of British Regiments who settled in Australia ( Be it Officer or General soldier). website

The following book can supply further information on tracing your military ancestors: Montague, R. H. How to trace your military ancestors. Sydney, N.S.W., Australia: Hale & Iremonger, 1989. NLofA website

Navy

The organization of the navy is divided into three groups:

  • The British era, 1788–1887
    * Auxiliary squadrons and subsidies, 1887–1909
    * Australian squadron, 1909–
  • The British navy first arrived in Australia as a part of the first fleet. The first regular warship was stationed at Sydney in 1821, and the navy continued to be in Australia from that point on. In 1855 Australia’s first warship was built. Although Australia had organized its own navy by 1869, it was still under the protection of the British navy. In 1901 the Australian government took over jurisdiction of the navy.

Availability of Records[edit | edit source]

The records of regiments that served in Australia are available at some archives and genealogical societies in Australia. British military records are held at the Public Record Office listed below. Some records are also available on microfilm through the Family History Library.

Public Record Office
Ruskin Avenue
Kew
Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU
ENGLAND
Internet: website

Military records in Australia can be found in the following repository:

Australian War Memorial
G.P.O. Box 345
Canberra
Australian Capital Territory 2601
AUSTRALIA
website

The Australian War Memorial holds a large collection of military records. The memorial has a research center, but the staff does not offer a research service. They will provide a list of other people who do research at their center. There are many research guides avalible at the site, under Research a Person.website

Australian Goverment Department of Veteran's Affairs
GPO Box 9998
Brisbane QLD 4001
Phone:800-555-254
website. *Please be aware that webiste will be moving to its new home by the end of 2019.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The Office of Australian War Graves
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
2 Marlow Road
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 7DX United Kingdom
Tel:+44(0)1628-634221
website.

Military Historical Society of Australia
Federal Secretary
Military Historical Society of Australia
PO Box 5030
GARRAN ACT 2605
Australia
website

Royal Australian Air Force -RAAF- Records
National Australian Archives Office and the RAAF Aviation heritage centres have records to help your search.
NAAwebsite and RAAF

Astralian Goverment Department of Veterans Affairs Pension Entitlements
Veterans’ Affairs Network
G.P.O. Box 802
Canberra
Australian Capital Territory 2601
AUSTRALIA
website.

Most state archives will have some military records. For a listing of the archives and their addresses, see the "Archives and Libraries" article of this wiki. Check their holdings to determine exactly what the state archives have. Two states have military history societies that can help you. The addresses of these societies are:

New South Wales State Archives
Reading Room: 161 O'Connell Street
Kingswood NSW 2747
Telephone:(02)9673-1788
Email: info@records.nsw.gov.au
website.

South Australia
South Australian Maritime Museum
126 Lipsom Street
Port Adelaide
South Australia 5015
AUSTRALIA
website.

The Family History Library has some Australian military records. This link Australia's Military Records will take you to the main search screen for Australia's Military Records.

Online Resources[edit | edit source]