Monday, 12 March 2012

Australian sources for research

We were recently contact by Sandra Young, a researcher based in Australia, who suggested some sources of information which we thought may be of interest.

Our thanks to Sandra for these suggestions. If you have any question on Australian research, you contact Sandra via our website.

Australians who enlisted and fought in WW1 contained numerous Scottish linked veterans, so searching the Australian National Archives, which you can search freely as a guest, allows you to search Australian military records, including our comprehensive Australian WW1 record collection.

The Australian War Memorial website contains an arsenal of useful information and searchable data bases, such as listings of WW1 Australian embarkation lists, WW1 nominal rolls, Honour Roll listings, that give information about Australian veteran casualties.

The Department of Veteran Affairs also contains searcahble nominal rolls for Australian WW2 veterans, which you can search by enlistment towns, service number and a useful feature is if you know a surname and perhapsone or  two initials, a search using this information, also then using place of birth and place of enlistment can often find the WW2 veteran you may be searching for.

The Department of Veteran Affairs also has nominal rolls for Vietnam etc.

The National Library of Australia (NLA) has digitised many old Australian newspapers, up to about 1954, which are now freely available to search online at the NLA website.

The NLA has a "Trove" search function that allows people to search for perhaps WW1 veteran names in both old newspapers and some library resources etc.

(I think the "Trove" search is short for "Treasure Trove".)

Many Australian states would have their own memorial sites such as the register of war memorials in NSW, (New South Wales), which may be helpful to some Scottish people who had relatives who enlisted with Australian troops.

For example,  when you visit the New South Wales site, choose the town as Yass and then choose the bank of NSW officers listing, it should contain  links to some Scottish veterans in some Australian WW1 era banking Honour books.

These veterans happened to work in some Australian based banks that had overseas based staff, as well as Australian staff in the WW1 era.

Other sites include:
  •  an Australian Gallipoli dedicated website, Spirits of Gallipoli;
  • The AIF Project, which allows you to try to find out some aliases of some AIF veterans etc;
  • The ACT Heritage Library's ACT Memorial, with photos and stories about Canberra, or ACT based veterans;
  • The Monaro Pioneers, which has numerous originally Scottish descandant families, who settled in the Monaro area (this site explains where the Monaro NSW area is) and also an extensive listing of some Australian military resource web references in its link section.
  • "Mapping Our Anzacs", is a tool to browse 375,971 records of service in the Australian Army during World War I according to the person’s place of birth or enlistment. This tool gives you a new way of seeing Australia’s involvement in World War I. It shows 9694 men from Scotland having served in the Australian forces.

There are also electronic resources at the National Library of Australia, some of which are freely available, some you need to have a library card and some resources are limited by copyright restrictions, so you have to be physically present in the NLA to use them.

One useful and free resource is the Ryerson Index, run by volunteers, it allows you to search for contemporary, mainly NSW death and probate notices, but you then have to go to the indicated Australian paper where these death and probate notices were published.

The Ryerson Index mainly was useful for NSW death and probabte notices, but it now seems to be adding othe Australian state papers to its arsenal of resourced papers.

I also use some Australian Boer War sites,  one useful one is the Oz-Boer Database, which allows you to freely download a zip file.

Another Boer War site is the Australian Boer War memorial website, which displays numerous photos of Australian Boer War Memorials and other useful information.


  1. I've recently been doing some research on Scottish military traditions in Australia (in general), and also looking at the influence of Scottish-born, or those of Scottish descent in one particular Australian infantry battalion in the First World War. I'll be presenting this at a conference in Edinburgh next week.

    I've used a few of the above-mentioned sources, and they are very good, and mostly easy (and free). Online resources in Australia are generally very good. We're very keen on our military history here!

    I've also been in recent contact with the Gordon Highlanders Museum who have been of great help to me finding info on one of their WWI officers for a related project.


    Craig Tibbitts
    Senior Curator
    Official & Private Records
    Research Centre
    Australian War Memorial

    1. Craig

      If you pass on the details of the conference you are attending we can post it here if there places available for members of the public to attend.

      Kind regards


  2. Hi Adam,

    The conference I’m attending is titled,

    "Wha bears a blade for Scotland?": the construction of Scottish diasporic military identities, c.1880- present day.

    It’s a joint project between National Museums Scotland and the University of Edinburgh, being held at the latter on 23-24 March.

    Sorry, I don't know if there are places available for members of the public to attend, but I'll contact the organiser and see if I can find out and let you know before I leave Australia.


  3. This one is actually more of a workshop/symposium for researchers in this area and attendance is not available to the public. However a conference will result from it later in the year (September), and that will be open for the wider public to attend. They will publicise details on that in the next few weeks.