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1st Reinforcements Queensland to Egypt, 1918
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Military records

First Nations peoples have served in military conflicts from the Boer War onwards. Discover some vital sources for locating military service records.

Video guide

About military records

Military records are very detailed and can assist in finding information about family members not previously known. Military records can be searched across the Australian Army, Navy and Air Force, and Department of Defence. The record of service is detailed information on a person’s career in the defence force.

Military service information can be found in several locations and organisations.

What information do I need to find military records?

It is helpful to know a person’s full name if possible, or first name and surname. It is also useful if the date and place of birth is known, as well as when and/or where they served.

B&W head and shoulders portrait of Hirst Nations soldier in uniform, 1918.

W. Cummings, one of the soldiers photographed in The Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 1918, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Image number: 702692-19181026-s0023-0038,

Searching for First Nations military history

State Library of Queensland

State Library’s collections include:

  • stories,
  • photographs,
  • blogs, 
  • and memorabilia relating to First Nations service personnel.

To find information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queensland soldiers search online in our One Search catalogue by using the following phrases:

  • Aboriginal soldiers portraits, 
  • Aboriginal Australian Soldiers – Queensland,
  • Indigenous soldiers or 
  • Indigenous servicemen.

For the best results choose “State Library Collections” and/or “State Library Digital Collections”.

State Library’s First Nations Soldier blogs can be found under First Nations culture. Use search words such as 

See also:

  • Century of Service to explore collections, blog posts and research about wartime history.

State Library of Queensland First Nations military history resources list

State Library holds many published texts relating to First Nations peoples military service. They are excellent references for researchers and families alike.

PDF · 121 KB

Anzac Square & Memorial Galleries

Visiting Anzac Square & Memorial Galleries is a wonderful way to learn about our men and women who served their country. The three galleries commemorate and showcase Queensland stories of our armed forces from WWI and post-1945 to enhance our knowledge and understanding of service and conflicts.

You can also read stories of First Nations men and women who have served their country. [Anzac Square > Stories > Topics > First Nations]

History Pin: Q ANZAC 100: MEMORIES FOR A NEW GENERATION - Indigenous enlistment 

This collection relates to First Nations peoples who enlisted in WWI. Each entry includes a brief biography of the soldier’s life and links to further information.

Other websites

National Archives of Australia

National Archives of Australia holds service records for Australian service men and women, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who served in the Australian Defence Force in all conflicts.

The records include many details such as: 

  • address at the time of enlistment
  • age
  • place of birth
  • marital status
  • next of kin 
  • person’s full service history

Some files have photographs and physical descriptions and can include correspondence between the soldier’s next of kin and the Department of Defence advising of wounds, death of the person serving, awards and medals.

To find service records go to Explore the Collection, click on RecordSearch, and then click on NameSearch tab. For more information see their research guide, Defence and service records.

Group of soldiers seated and standing in sand at military camp in Eygpt, 1918.

Soldier standing far left has been identified as Pompey Roberts, Group of soldiers seated in the sand in a military camp in Egypt, 1914-1919, 32829, Private Thomas James Bodycott photographs, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, 
Image number: 32829-0018,

Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial holds records on military units and their operations. It provides information on who served in conflicts including the Boer War, First World War, Second World War, Korean War and Vietnam War. The collection also includes photographs, films and more. 
You can find a person by searching the lists or scroll down to Indigenous Service to browse or search the names of known First Nations service personnel to find their service number, unit and conflict.

Visit Indigenous Service to explore Australian War Memorial collections relating to First Nations peoples.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has webpages devoted to First Nations veterans, providing resources and links. They also hold medical and dental records and publish searchable nominal rolls, which are lists of people who served in conflicts in which Australia was involved. 

Visit For Indigenous Veterans for more information.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission can help you find war graves, cemeteries and memorials. 

On the website under Find Records they have records about: 

  • Find War Dead, 
  • How to find War Records World War II, 
  • About their Records, 
  • Archives and 
  • Frequently Asked Questions.

TROVE digitised newspapers

Trove contains digitised historical newspapers which include articles, notices and photos of soldiers, regiments, and conflicts. Search using phrases like 'Aboriginal soldier' or 'Aboriginal Digger' or using the personal name. Searches of the newspapers can be completed up to 1954.

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)

The AIATSIS guide to Military service records provides an understanding of what a military record is as well as where to look for information online. It includes a list of resources that provides further information relating to the involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander military service.

Who's Your Mob information guide - Miliary records

Discover some of the vital sources available for locating First Nations peoples military service records.

PDF · 173 KB

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