Land, sea and air forces

Australian Army

Over 350 series of Army records are held in our collection. A small number of these are described below. More collections can be identified by using RecordSearch.

Military Board

The Military Board was created in 1905 and was responsible for the administration of all matters relating to the military forces. The National Archives holds the following Military Board records:

The Directorate of Military Intelligence

The Directorate of Military Intelligence was established in 1916. Records created by the Directorate include:

The Australian War Memorial also holds the following series of records created by the Directorate:

Army Inventions Directorate

Set up in 1942, the Army Inventions Directorate (AID) was created to handle the flood of inventions and ideas the public submitted to assist with the war effort. Although more than 21,000 submissions were examined by the AID, only 127 were accepted for development. Our collection includes:

Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps

The records concerning the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps include:

War diaries and other Army records

Most of the following collections are held by the Australian War Memorial:

Some of the many other Army collections include:

Army photographic collections

Some of the National Archives photographic collections depicting scenes of army life can be searched and viewed on PhotoSearch. You can also browse titles by subject.

A large number of images can also be searched and viewed using the Australian War Memorial’s collection databases.

Royal Australian Navy

Over 450 series of Navy records are held in our collection. A small selection of these is described below. More information can be found by using RecordSearch.

Naval Board

The Naval Board, created in 1905, was charged with administering all matters relating to the naval forces. The main records created by the Naval Board are the Naval Board minute books.

Ship plans and specifications

Two collections popular with naval historians and model enthusiasts are:

Also useful is the collection of ships' books and supplements, which are naval record books detailing the performance, engineering details and other aspects of particular RAN ships.

Naval intelligence

Our records on naval intelligence include:

Other Navy records

Other Navy records in the collection include:

For more, see – Navy administrative records.

Naval photographic collections

Some of the National Archives photographs depicting scenes of life in the RAN can be searched and viewed on PhotoSearch. You can also browse titles by subject.

To view more images, try searching in the Australian War Memorial's collection databases

For information about the Navy Photographic Unit at Garden Island, Sydney NSW 2000, telephone (02) 9359 3039 or fax (02) 9359 3041.

Royal Australian Air Force

Over 250 series of Air Force records are held in our collection. A small selection of these is described below. More series can be found by using RecordSearch.

Air Board

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was formed in 1921. The Air Board was established in 1920 to control and administer the Air Force according to the policies determined by the Air Council. The following Air Board records are a useful starting point for any research relating to the RAAF:

Unit histories

Two series can be used to find information concerning a particular unit or squadron:

Aircraft and airfield research

The following series are useful for researching the development of aerodromes at a particular site, the performance of particular types of aircraft, and aircraft accidents:

Air Force photographic collections

Some of the National Archives photographs of life in the RAAF, as well as RAAF aircraft, can be searched and viewed on PhotoSearch. You can also browse titles by subject.

To view more images, try searching in the Australian War Memorial's collection databases.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2014