War brides

Australian Mothers of War Brides Goodwill Mission Club, 1950 (NAA: A8139, VOLUME 8)

As a result of Australian involvement in various wars over the last century, there were a number of marriages among Australian servicemen and women from countries where they were serving. Many of the women they married migrated to Australia. A significant number of Australian women married United States and British servicemen stationed in Australia and migrated to their countries.

After World War II, the Repatriation Commission authorised free passage to Australia for servicemen’s wives, fiancées and children, and kept records of these voyages, which are now in our collection.

Between 1944 and 1949, 110 ships made 177 journeys. The files record the names of women and children on board, and some also have information about notable incidents that occurred on the journey, as well as illnesses and conditions on the ship.

The records are listed by the name of the ship – not the name of the war bride. If you are searching for information about a particular war bride, you will need to have gathered some basic details, such as the name of the ship and the approximate date of arrival in Australia. The 'bride ship' records, in series A2421, also include general administrative and policy files created by the Repatriation Commission. This means they may not be easily located (or possibly not even listed) on our collection database, RecordSearch.

To trace the journey of these women (and often their children), you will need to ask us for help. Be sure to have the name of the person you are looking for, the date of arrival or departure, and most importantly, the name of the ship. The following selection of records may be of interest.

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