Australian War Memorial Service Charter

The Memorial's Service Charter states that the Research Centre will provide:

  • access to an irreplaceable collection of official and unofficial diaries and papers, photographs, film, sound and art;
  • facilities for family history research;
  • on-line access for those who cannot visit;
  • facilities for specialist and longer term researchers; and
  • grants to encourage military history research and publications.

The Service Charter is available from the Memorial or on this website.

Reading Room services

  • Skilled reference staff will provide advice on our services and the use our databases, research guides and equipment; and help plan  search.
  • Reference books are kept on open stacks in the Reading Room.
  • To consult items for our closed stack area, clients must be registered and agree to our conditions of use. They will then be issued with a Client Number.
  • Requested items will be retrieved from our closed stack area within 60 minutes. Retrieval requests submitted for onsite material after 4pm will be retrieved for the next business day. Material stored offsite will be retrieved every two weeks.
  • Items from our closed stack area will be held at the Reading Room information desk for one week. Requests may be lodged for any number of records but only five items, or one box, will be handed out at one time. Records that are unbound will be issued only one at a time. This is to minimise the chance of items being mislaid or lost.
  • The Archives Act 1983 requires Commonwealth records to be made available for public access, on request, once a specified period has passed. (Originally 30 years, amendments passed in 2010 will reduce this period to 20 years by 2021.) Under the Act, however, some categories of records (such as those with sensitive personal information) are exempt from public access even after this period has elapsed. Requests for access will receive a decision within 90 days. Some records may need to be referred to the agency that created them, which will take longer to complete.
  • If any requested records are restricted from public access, we will explain why. An application can be made to review this decision.
  • We will not disclose clients' names, addresses or other personal details without their permission.

Copying services

  • Prepayment for copying services is required (see copying services).
  • We provide a public access photocopier for copying books and serials, printers for microform and computers, and recording facilities (DVD and video) for reference copies of films.
  • For preservation purposes, staff will undertake copying of original records on request. Some records may be subject to restrictions due to fragility, copyright or other reasons. 
  • Copying requests are processed in order of receipt.
  • We will produce the best photocopy possible given the state of the original record.
  • Copying request may take 4-6 weeks to complete. Copyright assessment, if required, may take 2-6 weeks. Our staff will advise the likely turn-around time.
  • There is a commercial copying service for photographs, works of art, film and sound recordings. Orders can be made through the online Collections Search, or an order form can be downloaded from the Memorial shop. Copies of items generally take four to six weeks to supply.

For more information, see information sheet Copying services.

Alternative access arrangements

If you are unable to visit the Reading Room:

  • The Memorial's website contains information about our services, facilities and collections. It also provides access to numerous databases, finding aids, information sheets to assist research, articles and summaries relating to Australians at war, and an increasing number of digitised documents and images.
  • Reference questions can be submitted online through ReQuest, our online reference service. Enquiries will be responded to within 3-10 working days.
  • The Research Centre can also be contacted by telephone, letter, fax or email. We will respond to letters and faxes within 10 working days, and to telephone enquiries within 3 working days if they cannot be answered immediately. Answers to more complex enquiries may take longer.
  • Research Centre staff will provide basic research assistance, such as advice on relevant records or possible alternative sources of information. The Research Centre is not resourced to undertake detailed research.
  • For queries which require substantial research, private research agents can be hired. For a list of agents, see the information sheet Research agents.
  • Photocopying requests can be made by letter, fac, telephone or online through our ReQuest service. Such requests should make clear precisely what material is being requested for copying. The information required can be found in our online collection databases. A quotation will be provided before a firm order is processed. For more information, see the information sheet Copying services.

What you can do to help us

  • If you plan to research individual service personnel, you should obtain copies of their personal records before visiting the Memorial (see information sheet Personal service records).
  • Check our website for information on visiting the Reading Room, and search our databases to identify relevant records in advance.
  • Contact us prior to your visit to discuss how we can facilitate your research. You can phone us or fill in a Visiting the Research Centre form on ReQuest.
  • If possible, order records before your visit to ensure the best use of your time.
  • Please address email enquiries using ReQuest, our online reference service.

Preserving our collections

To help protect and preserve our collections, please:

  • place items not related to your research-bags, newspapers, umbrellas, mobile phones-in the lockers provided;
  • take only essential items, such as pencils, note paper, purses and laptop computers, into the Reading Room;
  • wash your hands before (and after) handling items;
  • treat all collection items with care and according to the conditions of use;
  • use only pencils (these are provided); and
  • do not remove anything from the Reading Room.

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