Pre-Federation and Commonwealth records

Accession Number AWM1
Collection type Official Record
Object type Official Record

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain

Copying Provisions Copying permitted subject to physical condition

These records mainly cover the volunteer defence period in the Australian colonies in the latter part of the 19th century, the South African War (Second Boer War) 1899-1902, and the subsequent militia period until the outbreak of the Second World War. Apart from material held on the Boer War and Boxer Rebellion, the content of this series is derived from military formations serving within Australia.

The series is an accumulation of related items that survived pre-1950 disposal action. The records do not represent a consistent method of collection, and are far from balanced in overall subject content. Over half the series originated in the NSW Military Forces or, after Federation in 1901, in the Commonwealth Military Forces in NSW. A large portion relates to the NSW Artillery. Material from the South African War is mainly from units originating in NSW and reporting back to their headquarters in Sydney. Some material from other states is also held in the series.

AWM1 is an artificial series of records, often with minimal provenance. The records include correspondence, reports, orders, personnel records, nominal rolls, garrison marriage and birth registers, and other unit records.

Over 100 of the 324 items in this series were acquired by the Australian War Memorial in 1947, following disposal of obsolete army records by Headquarters Eastern Command in Victoria Barracks, Sydney. The records were passed to the Army's Military History Sub-Section, Sydney, and thence to the Australian War Memorial.

During the period 1948 to 1958, 12 items were added to the series from:

· Department of Navy, 1 item

· Department of Defence Library, Melbourne, 4 items

· 6th Light Horse Regiment, NSW, 3 items

· Australian War Memorial, Sydney office, 3 items

· Private donation, 1 item

One of the items from the 6th Light Horse Regiment was of Melbourne origin, and not related to the Light Horse at all.

Another 13 items, already held by the Australian War Memorial and of unknown provenance, were included in the series in 1953 when a series list was compiled. About 150 other items, mostly also of unknown provenance, were added to the series between 1953 and 1993. Item 2/1 was purchased commercially in 1984.

In 1993, 26 items were transferred from AWM49 to AWM1, and 12 from the Official Records accession OW84/5. At the same time, 5 items were transferred from AWM1 to AWM49. These 5 items were further broken up so they in fact became 7 items (AWM1 item 213 Part 1 became AWM49 items 33, 34 and 35). The transfer of items between AWM1 and AWM49 in 1993 rectified obvious cases of previously misplaced items.