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Where can I find Australian military records?

Nine soldiers gathered around an ambulance


Military service records are held at the National Archives of Australia. You can find information about these through their fact sheets on defence and war service records.

As a gift to the nation, World War 1 service records have been digitised and are freely available online.

Defence service records set out the essentials of a person’s service in the forces. They will tell you information such as which unit or ship a person served. Information about these units, what they did and where, can often be found in unit records held by the Australian War Memorial (AWM) or in published sources. The following AWM links are particularly useful:

Service records also show any decorations received. You can read about campaign and service medal entitlements on the Department of Defence Defence Honours and Awards site. To find records of honours and awards made to Australians search the Honours and Awards database at the AWM.

The records include the exact date, Gazette number and page number for announcements of the awards in both the London and Commonwealth Gazettes. The London Gazette has been digitised. Note that a complete citation was not usually published, only the name, rank and unit. A full citation may be in the service record.

Several useful books for military research are:

If you are unable to visit the Library, Trove can help you find and get items at a library near you.