Chronological guide to official records
The purpose of this guide is to categorise official records series, held by the Memorial, by the period to which they primarily relate. The records are generally available for reference use in the Memorial's Research Centre.
The guide is organised into chronological periods. Some series, because they span several periods, have been listed under each relevant category. The guide lists some private records that contain material of an official nature.
Individual items (files) belonging to these archival series are catalogued on the National Archives of Australia’s RecordSearch database. You can also find out more about each series in the series notes.
Because most of the records listed in this guide are Commonwealth records access to them is governed by the Archives Act 1983.
Commonwealth records are in the ‘open access period’ when a period of 20 years has elapsed since the end of the calendar year in which they came into existence. Before release to the public, records reaching the ‘open access period’ must also be examined for exemptions. Section 33 of the Archives Act specifies several types of exemptions which include certain types of sensitive information. This exempt information is further precluded from public access until that sensitivity has sufficiently diminished. There may be a delay while examination takes place (the delay may vary from about one to four weeks). The item description of each record on the RecordSearch database will indicate whether the record is ‘Open’, ‘Closed’, ‘Open with Exceptions’ or ‘Not yet Examined.’
Collection items may also be temporarily withheld from reference use if they are subject to arrangement and description work, conservation treatment, or are being digitised.
You can view archival records from the Memorial's collection in the Research Centre. We recommend that you contact us prior to visiting to arrange for the records to be retrieved.
- Pre-First World War (19th century to – 1913)
- First World War (1914-1918)
- Inter–World War Years (1919–38)
- Second World War (1939–45)
- British Commonwealth Occupational Force (BCOF) (1946–52)
- Korean War (1950–53)
- Malaya and Indonesian Confrontation (1948–66)
- Far East Strategic Reserve (Land Forces) (1955-1974)
- Vietnam War (1962–75)
- ANZUK Force, Sinapore (1971-1974)
- Gulf War (1990–91)
- Afghanistan (2001– 2021)
- Iraq (2003–2013)
No records held at this time
- Peacekeeping (1946– )
- Appendix I: Australian War Memorial records
- Appendix II: list of official records series