This website provides extensive information about the history of Australia at war, through primary and secondary material, as well as information about the memorial itself. Major conflicts covered by this site range from the Anglo-Maori Wars in New Zealand (1860-1866) to the 2003 Iraq War. There are two main categories of databases on the site—Collections databases and Biographical databases. The latter reflects the widespread use of the site by genealogical and family researchers. Both are easily identifiable on the left of the home page. While the site is set up to order copies from the collections, this is not necessary in order to utilize its resources.

Students and teachers of world history, who are less likely to be searching for a specific individual, will find the Collection databases more useful than the Biographical ones. They provide online access to the memorial’s collections of art, photographs, film, sound, private records, military heraldry, and military technology. Currently more than 4,000 works of art, 203,000 photographs, 3,500 films, 350 sound recordings, 8,200 private records and 2,000 heraldry and technology items are available. Approximately 400 oral history transcripts may also be accessed. When images are available, they are presented in thumbnail size, and can be expanded for closer viewing. Both simple and advanced search features are provided. It is possible to limit searches to items that include images or documents. The sign-in feature allows users to save searches or to store individual records and images for later use in the work area.

The online primary sources are only one aspect of a very large and diverse website. Under “Learn” on the home page can be found an encyclopedia, a guide to military organization and structure in Australia, and a number of articles.

The vast size of the collection is daunting. Students of world history wishing to use this site might wish to focus on one issue or question to make materials more manageable. Thematic approaches such as memorializing war, war diaries, or the role of women in war are possible through advanced searching.

Reviewed by Kirsten McKenzie, University of Sydney
How to Cite This Source
Kirsten McKenzie, Australian War Memorial in World History Commons,