Official Histories

Since its inception, the Memorial has sponsored Australia's official war histories. Australian governments have commissioned four separate series of official war histories over this period, one for each of the major conflicts in which Australia has been involved: the two world wars and the Cold War–conflicts in Korea and south-east Asia. In 2004 the Federal Government authorised the writing of a fifth official history relating to peacekeeping and Post–Cold War operations.

Official histories are "official" in the sense they are commissioned by government as the national record of Australia’s involvement in particular conflicts. The official historians are granted unrestricted access to closed period and security classified government records. The Australian official war histories contain the authors' own interpretations and judgements and do not follow any official or government line.

The works are the first published official record of Australia’s involvement in war. They are a detailed, chronological record of all services and theatres of conflict. They comprise an invaluable resource for researchers at all levels, from the scholar to the general reader. The official war histories are our enduring national record providing a comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible account of the Australian experience of war.

Please note: Only the First and Second World War official histories are available here in digital format. For access to the Official Histories for Korean War, South-East Asian Conflicts, or Peacekeeping and Post-cold War operations, you will need to visit the reading Room at the Memorial.

Digitised Official Histories

Information on Non-Digitised Official Histories

Official Histories in Development