Researching war memorials and veterans

There are hundreds of organisations and websites that can assist you with researching war memorials and a veteran's war service and life. There are also many online resources with information about conflicts and operations that Australian men and women have served in. 

New South Wales

State Library of New South Wales

The State Library of NSW has significant historical and contemporary collections. You can search the Library’s collections online. There are many resources that have been digitised for all to access, including First World War diaries and letters

The website also allows you to ask librarians questions if you need help with your research. The State Library works with public libraries across the State. Your local library may have a local studies collection with material that is relevant to your research. You can find your local public library here

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage - The Heritage Division

The Heritage Division is involved in the management of heritage places across NSW. The Heritage Division’s website features the State Heritage Inventory which is an online database of heritage listed places of local and State significance in NSW including records on many war memorials. 

NSW State Archives and Records New South Wales

NSW State Archives and Records have a vast collection of historical records and archives dating back to 1788. As part of the Centenary of Anzac, NSW State Archives and Records developed a New South Wales Research Guide which includes advice on how to research NSW soldiers, nurses, Indigenous soldiers and NSW Units of the First AIF. 

NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

The Registry’s website has a family history search engine that can assist you identify key naming information and family relationships.

National

Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial has extensive collections that could help you with researching a person, a military unit or an event in Australia’s military history. The Memorial’s collections can be accessed in person Research Centre. However, some of the Memorial’s historic documents and records have been digitised and can be accessed online. The website features a number of databases including: 

  • Roll of Honour which details of members of the Australian armed forces who have died during warlike, non-warlike service and certain peacetime operations
  • Pre Frist World War Conflicts Nominal Rolls 
  • First World War Nominal Roll and Embarkation Roll 
  • Honours and Awards which details over 45,000 military honours and awards to Australians 

National Archives of Australia

The National Archives of Australia holds records about service in the Australian defence forces including the Army, Navy and Air Force. Personal service records of Australian service men and women are preserved in the National Archives. All World War I service records (series B2455) have been digitised and are available to view online. As part of the Centenary of Anzac celebrations, the National Archives of Australia and Archives New Zealand worked together to build a new website, Discovering Anzacs.

Trove

Trove is an online database where you can find resources relating to Australia including books, images and historic newspapers. On this website you can search content from libraries, museums, archives, repositories and other research organisations. 

The AIF Project

The UNSW Canberra First AIF database has records on the 330,000 men of the First Australian Imperial Force (AIF) who served overseas during the First World War. The database is drawn from a range of official sources, including personal files on the National Archives website, and Embarkation and Nominal Rolls on the Australian War Memorial website.

Commonwealth Department of Veterans’ Affairs 

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs website has information about commemorations, memorials and war graves. The Office of Australian War Graves is part of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and is responsible for the maintenance of war cemeteries and individual war graves in Australia and the region, the commemoration of eligible veterans who died post-war, and the maintenance of official Australian memorials overseas. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs developed a website called the Anzac Portal to provide a range of education resources to support classroom teaching of Australia’s wartime history.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Nominal Rolls

The Department of Veterans' Affairs publishes online Nominal Rolls for World War Two, Korean War, Vietnam War and the First Gulf War. 

Monument Australia

The Monument Australia website records information on the public monuments and memorials in all Australian States and Territories. Monument Australia records all types of monuments and memorials including those dedicated to wars and conflicts. 

Royal Australian Historical Society

The Royal Australian Historical Society promotes the study of Australian history and is comprised of a membership network of individuals and local historical societies. The organisation focuses on NSW’s local and community history, and has a research collection of more than 60,000 items on Australian history. The Society has a number of collections and catalogues that can be searched online. 

2/30 Battalion AIF Association

A website dedicated to 2/30 Battalion AIF, maintained by Graham Wilson.

War Memorials in Australia

War Memorials in Australia is a site by Michael Southwell-Keely which lists the locations, descriptions and images of war memorials in Australia. Searches are available by family name, keyword or memorial location. This site is no longer available online but has been archived by PANDORA.  

International

Commonwealth War Graves Commission 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) honours the 1.7 million members of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars. The Commission maintains cemeteries and memorials in 23,000 locations in more than 150 countries. The CWGC’s casualty and cemetery databases can be searched online and have records on the details and commemoration location of every casualty from the First and Second World Wars that the Commission is responsible for.

Nominal Roll Australians in North Russia 1919

This site centralizes digitized information relevant to First World War Australian A.I.F. personnel who served in Russia 1919.