National Archives of Australia (NAA)
Personal service records are generally held by the NAA although some State Archives or Record Offices may hold service records prior to 1901. You can use the quick search bar to search the NAA's collection, or you can search through individual record types (for example, by using the Record Search feature you can limit your search to World War 2 service records).

Australian War Memorial (AWM)
The AWM's collection holds a large number of records related to military engagement, including embarkation rolls, an extensive photographic collection, information relating to specific military units and over 8,000 private records of individuals.

Dorothy Amos with four local men in uniform, Darwin, Northern Territory, January 1947

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have served in every major conflict in which Australia has been involved. Many personal service and other records have been digitised and are available online through the National Archives of Australia and Australian War Memorial websites.

Online resources

  • Serving Our Country: A History of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Defence of Australia
    The Serving Our Country project documents the historical contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australia defence and auxiliary services from the Boer War to 2000. Throughout 2014 and 2015, Serving our Country conducted community Yarn Ups, recorded oral and video histories, researched archival papers and other sources to create a more inclusive understanding of Australia's defence history.
  • Department of Aboriginal Affairs Western Australia - They Served with Honour
    The Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Western Australia has produced an online publication (downloadable as a PDF file) to honour the contribution of the thirteen Western Australian Aboriginal servicemen who served at Gallipoli: James Dickerson, Lawrence Farmer, Lewis Farmer, Charles Hutchins, William John Jackson, Fred Lockyer, Randell Mason, William Mason, Arthur McCallum, James Melbourne, Gordon Charles Naley, Frederick Leslie Sayers and Claude Shaw.

In the Library

The Library has a strong print collection relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander involvement in various war efforts. Published books and histories often contain specific information about individual servicemen, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from a specific town, community or mission who engaged in military service.

Selected texts

The following texts have been selected to provide an overview of the types of published works in the Library's collection and of the information they generally contain:

  • Aboriginal ex-servicemen of Central Australia. Compiled by George Bray, edited by Kenny Laughton, researched by Pat Forste
    This brief history presents an honour roll of Aboriginal servicemen from Central Australia in World War I & World War II, as well as other campaigns such as Vietnam. Aboriginal ex-servicemen of Central Australia also contains several transcripts of oral histories collected from Aboriginal servicemen.
  • The boys from Barambah : the story of the black diggers of Barambah-Cherbourg of World War 1. Compiled and written by Mark Newman, Sally Lawrence and Philippa Scarlett with assistance from Tanya Schneider and the ANZAC 100 Boys from Barambah Committee
    The boys from Barambah presents history of the Barambah settlment (now known as Cherbourg) in Queensland. This history touches on race relations, treatment of Aboriginal people during the war period, and contains profiles of Aboriginal servicemen from the Barambah settlement.

The following publications held by the Library contain lists of servicemen:

The black Diggers : Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in the Second World War

The black Diggers : Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in the Second World War / Robert A. Hall  Aboriginal Studies Press Canberra  1997

Aboriginal ex-servicemen of Central Australia

Aboriginal ex-servicemen of Central Australia / [compiled by George Bray ; edited by Kenny Laughton ; researched by Pat Forster]  IAD Press Alice Springs, N.T  1995


Trove's newspapers can be a good source of information for military family history.

Not sure where to start?