Over 7,000 items, comprising of almost 3,000,000 feet of original cine film and 1000 hours of original video, are held in the film collection, covering all aspects of Australian involvement in war and armed conflict.


The official war photographers in action at night, with flashes of light on the horizon indicating a battle is taking place. Photographer Frank Hurley is at the camera with sound man Alan Anderson crouched on the sand recording the sound of the bombardment on 30 January 1941.005655

Film donations are received from a range of donors, from amateur film makers to documentary companies. Much material has been acquired from the Australian Department of Defence, or via fee waiver agreements. Film material commissioned by the Memorial has recently increased the amount of contemporary, quality material to the National Collection.

The film and video collection includes video oral histories, film commissions such as Official Cinematographer Rob Nugent to Iraq and Timor, purchases of the work of David Dare Parker, John Martinkus, Gary Ramage, Stephen Dupont and George Gittoes, and interviews from documentaries, obtained via fee waiver arrangement – for example Debt of Honour [East Timor], The Minefield [Vietnam], Beyond Kokoda [WW2], Black Knight [WW2].  The senior curator for Film and Sound travelled to Afghanistan in 2011 and recorded fifty interviews in video and audio. Donations from private individuals form a valuable part of the collection, from the home movies of WW2 and Vietnam veterans, to 80 hours of digital video shot by remote camera during the discovery of the HMAS Sydney off the coast of Western Australia.  Sydney was lost on 19 November 1941 with no survivors from the crew of 645. Recent acquisitions have also included footage shot by ADF members during their deployment, either as part of a Memorial video diary project or as their own personal record of deployment.

Film collections are stored in climate controlled vaults. Original film and video is preserved to film, digital tape or digital file, depending on the format of the original. Digital copies and born digital items are stored in a Digital Assets Management System.

See selected footage from the collection on our YouTube channel.  Look up "Film collection online" or "Sound collection online"

See also: Afghanistan: the Australian experience - Tarin Kot


About 5,000 film titles are available to the public for viewing in the Research Centre or online. You can search for films, and audio, in the collection. Time-coded copies may be purchased, subject to copyright approval. A fee is charged for commercial use. For more information please see how to reproductions of the Memorial's National collection.

Planning to research, visit or donate an item to the collection?

A large percentage of film and sound collections are digitally available online. If you wish to enquire about film and sound items not on display, please send an email to info@awm.gov.au.

If you are planning to visit the Memorial, either to offer a film or sound recording to the National Collection, or to research material which is only accessible on site, please contact the Memorial at least two weeks before your proposed visit. DO NOT make travel arrangements until you have spoken with a curator as the item you wish to see might be inaccessible due to preservation or other restrictions. Please note we cannot guarantee a curator’s availability unless you make an appointment.

Curators provide limited research assistance only about the Memorial's collection and Australian militaria generally. If you require more detailed information, see this list of research agents who use the Memorial’s Research Centre.

PLEASE NOTE: Curatorial staff are not available for meetings or to answer enquiries on weekends, public holidays or the period between 25 December and 2 January.