Researching war memorials and veterans

There are numerous organisations and websites that can assist you with researching war memorials and veterans. There are also many online resources with information about conflicts and operations in which Australia has been involved. 

When you are ready, find out how you can contribute your research to the NSW War Memorials Register.

New South Wales

The State Library of New South Wales

The State Library of New South Wales 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 also works with public libraries across NSW. Your local library may have a local studies collection with material relevant to your research. You can find your local public library here

Anzac Memorial, The Hall of Service

The Hall of Service at the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park displays soil from 1,701 New South Wales' towns, cities, suburbs, and homesteads given as a home address by First World War enlistees. Their interactive webpage allows you to search by an enlistee's name or location. 

Heritage NSW

Heritage NSW is involved in the management of heritage places across NSW. Their 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

NSW State Archives and Records has a vast collection of historical records and archives dating back to 1788. As part of the Centenary of Anzac (2014–2018) celebrations, they 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 Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.). 

NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

The Registry's website has a family history search engine that can assist you to 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. Their collections can be accessed in person at the Research Centre and Reading Room. However, some of the memorial's historic documents and records have been digitised and can be accessed online. The memorial's website features a number of databases including the: 

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 servicemen and women are preserved in the National Archives. Their digitised collection can be accessed online. As part of the Centenary of Anzac (2014–2018) celebrations, the National Archives 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 (A.I.F.) 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 of Australia website and the First World War 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 also 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 the Second World War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the First Gulf War. 

Monument Australia

The Monument Australia website records information on 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. 

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 Trove.  

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 accessed online and has records on the details and commemoration location of every casualty from the First and Second World Wars that they are responsible for.