The Memorial's collection contains over 800,000 photographs, covering the experience of Australians at war and Australian military history from the 1860s to the present.
The core of the collection consists of photographs that were taken by more than 200 official photographers. Many more photographs have been donated by servicemen and servicewomen and others over a period of more than 90 years. While our coverage of many subjects, and especially First and Second World War material, is very comprehensive, we do selectively collect photographs that fill gaps in the coverage of past conflicts, and we actively seek photographs documenting the involvement of Australia in contemporary conflicts. Our Collection Development Plan outlines our collecting priorities.
Highlights of the collection include:
- photographs of Gallipoli taken by soldier photographers during the campaign
- rare First World War colour images, taken using the Paget process
- original glass-plate negatives of the Western Front and Palestine in the First World War, taken by Australian official photographers Frank Hurley and Hubert Wilkins
- iconic images of the Second World War in the Middle East and the Pacific, by official photographers including Damien Parer and George Silk
- an extensive photographic documentation of conflicts since 1945, including the Korean and Vietnam wars
- work by leading contemporary photojournalists covering recent deployments of Australian forces
The collection provides vital historical evidence for locations where Australians have fought. It shows us details of military technology and scenes of Australians engaged in military operations. It contains images that convey the dangers of war and the emotional impact it has on its participants.
An illustrated history of the photograph collection, Contact: photographs from the Australian War Memorial collection, is available from the Memorial Shop.
Vignacourt - Lost Diggers photographs
The Memorial is very pleased to accept the Lost Diggers collection of First World War photographs on behalf of all Australians, and would like to acknowledge the generosity of Mr Kerry Stokes AC for the donation of the photographic collection. Find out more here.
Catalogue records, many of which include images, for hundreds of thousands of our photographs, are available online through our Collections Search database.
Reproductions of these photographs may be ordered online, subject to copyright authorisation; user fees apply for commercial use. For more information please see How to order photos, art, film & sound.
Please be aware that some images may be disturbing, and that the language contained in captions can reflect attitudes and prejudices prevalent at the time.