Frequently asked questions
The Australian Army History Unit is not resourced to conduct private personal research for individuals.
Reference enquiries can in some instances be answered by the friendly staff at the Australian War Memorial's Research Centre at: info [at] awm.gov.au
Where do I find the service record for a relation of mine who served in the Australian Forces?
Read through the Australian Army History Unit's Family History page first of all to see if your questions are answered: Family history
The National Archives of Australia collection contains records of service in the Australian armed forces, dating principally from Federation in 1901.
These records are being progressively made available online, so check the web site first.
If the records you are seeking are not yet online, please visit their 'ask a question' webpage here.
There is a great deal of helpful information on accessing service records on the web sites of the Australian War Memorial.
Information about medal entitlements is available from Defence Honours and Awards: Defence Honours and Awards
You will need to send a copy of the World War I service record to the section if you are inquiring about World War I medals entitlements. The personal file of the member should show his or her medal entitlements. Look closely at the file as all three service medals for World War I are usually stamped on the record with an annotation of the date of issue or "NE" (No Entitlement) written on the stamp.
An online database regarding Australian ANZACs in the Great War has been developed as part of The AIF Project: The AIF Project
How can I obtain obsolete Defence equipment/memorabilia to display in our museum/RSL club?
AAHU is not a disposal authority for out of service equipment, which is disposed of by the Defence Material Organisation (DMO). Like all museums, we only hold objects relevant to Army's various museum collection policies.
To ensure a fair competitive opportunity for all interested parties, almost all surplus serviceable Defence equipment is disposed of through auctions run by major commercial auctioneers. Such sales may include functional items with a direct commercial use such as vehicles, spares, small assets and office equipment but generally do not include defence memorabilia.
The very few Defence memorabilia items that are suitable for public displays may be listed for competitive tender on the AusTender website should they became surplus. To be notified when tenders occur you may wish to complete a Defence Surplus Register of Interest form available on the website.
Further information on the disposal and sale of surplus Defence equipment, including some of the items that Defence does not sell, is available from the Defence Disposals Agency Website.
Where can I find any personal information available about my relation?
Biographical databases and rolls are the first places to look for personal information.
The AWM has extensive searchable online databases, including its own nomimal rolls and also links to others: Australian War Memorial Biographical Databases
How do I find out about the unit, such as the battalion or regiment, my relation served with?
Many units have published unit histories, which can usually be located thorough local or state public libraries or the Research Centre at the Australian War Memorial (AWM): Australian War Memorial Research Centre
The AWM's online book catalogue contains the title and publication details of numerous unit histories: Search AWM's online book catalogue
The AWM holds War Diaries maintained by the units during hostilities which can be a useful source of information. These can be accessed at the AWM. War Diaries are a concise, accurate, day-to-day operational account of the unit, but can vary considerably in quality and diaries unfortunately do not exist for every unit that served.
The AWM has an ongoing project to scan the diaries and publish them online so a first check should be made of the web site: Australian Army War Diaries
A microfilm copy of the diaries can be viewed in the reading room of the AWM Research Centre. If you are unable to view a copy of the unit diaries yourself, you may wish to engage a research agent to undertake research on your behalf.
The AWM web site also contains brief histories of Australian First and Second War units: Australian Military Units
A further source of information is the official history of the relevant conflict, such as C. E. W. Bean's The official history of Australia in the war of 1914–1918 (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1937). This is available online through the AWM: Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918
How do I contact the Australian Army History Unit?
The Australian Army History Unit is not resourced to conduct personal historical research.
For any matters not related to personal historical research you can contact the Australian Army History Unit via email, ahu.enquiries [at] defence.gov.au