Friday 17 May 2013 by Meagan Nihill. 7 comments
Anzac Connections, Volunteers

This week is National Volunteer Week. Much invaluable work is undertaken by volunteers at the Memorial, and last Friday marked the beginning of a new volunteer project within the Research Centre.

Six of the Memorial’s Online Research volunteers have started to index the approximately 324,000 names on the digitised First World War Nominal Roll. This project, which is expected to span several years, will help to enrich the Research Centre’s online resources by making the information on the Nominal Roll more accessible and easier to search. We greatly appreciate the time that our volunteers have taken to assist with this project.

Online Research volunteer Joan Pitt entered the first sheet of names for the project (pictured below).

Joan has been a volunteer at the Memorial since 2004, when she began volunteering her time in the Discovery Room (an earlier incarnation of the Discovery Zone).  She has since spent every Friday morning helping visitors with family research in the Memorial's galleries, and we are now lucky to have her working on the Nominal Roll project.

 This project will support the expansion of the Memorial’s online resources as we approach the First World War Centenary. More information on related projects can be found here.


Robyn Van-Dyk says:

Thank you Joan and also Ted Fleming, Edward Helgeby, David Oner, Robyn Spratt and Marian Mazey. The Memorial's first six volunteers for the project.
Robyn van Dyk - Head, Research Centre

John Scott Palmer

What a great project! So many stories. Thank you volunteers!


Whilst it is great the volunteers have enlisted to do this project,can you please elaborate what this index is? Members of the AIF can already be sought through the NAA records search, and the ADFA had previously generated a database which has now been closed to public access. I would hate to see a duplication of efforts when the generosity of volunteers could be used to datamine untapped resources.

Meagan Nihill

Hi Torokina,

Thanks for your comment, and for your interest in this project.

The document being indexed – the First World War Nominal Roll – was compiled in 1919, probably at Australian Imperial Administrative Headquarters, London. It is believed that the roll was compiled to assist with the administrative arrangements necessary to repatriate members of the AIF to Australia. The roll contains information that was current for each serviceperson at the end of the war. (You can read more about the roll here.)

At the moment, the roll is available on the Memorial’s website, but it is not fully indexed, so it can sometimes be difficult to find the person you are looking for. By indexing the roll, we will be able to make it possible to search for a person by their name or service number, or even to compile lists of people who returned to Australia on a certain date.

The Nominal Roll contains some information not recorded in any of our other biographical databases, or even in the service records held by the National Archives. Importantly, it also lists some service-people who may not have been included on the Embarkation Roll.

The information compiled by ADFA was a very useful resource, but, as you noted, it is not currently available to the public, and it is also not a resource that belongs to the Memorial. This database will be a compilation of our own official records. We expect it will be a great addition to the many resources already available on our website, and we are very grateful for the help of the volunteers who are making the project possible.

Thank you very much again for your interest in the project.


Can I help as a volunteer? I live in QLD.

Meagan Nihill

Hi Christine,

Thanks very much for your comment, and your interest in this project. I apologise for the delay in my response.

At this stage, we're not looking for external volunteers for this project, but it is likely that we will in the future. If you are still interested in being involved, then please keep an eye on this blog!

Thank you very much again for your interest.

Dr George Davis

Congratulations on such a worthwhile project. As public interest grows in a nation's history it is timely that archival institutions are devoting resources allowing greater access to material often only the preserve of professional researchers.