World War II internee, alien and POW records held in Sydney – Fact sheet 101

Introduction

During World War II thousands of men and women were interned in 'camps' around Australia, some for the duration of the entire war. These people consisted of 'enemy aliens' (especially Germans and Italians), naturalised and Australian born persons of enemy alien descent, enemy aliens arrested overseas and transferred to Australia, and prisoners of war transferred to Australia. Some Australians were also interned because of their political activities.

Tracing individual internees or prisoners of war

The camps in New South Wales were at Liverpool, Orange, Cowra and Hay. It was not uncommon for internees to be moved from one camp to another and to camps in other states. This can make it difficult to identify information on an individual because records may be held in more than one office of the Archives.

The office in Sydney holds a large collection of records of people who were interned in New South Wales during the war. Reference staff will assist you in using the control records listed below to identify the dossier on a particular internee.

Holdings on individual prisoners of war are not extensive, and those record items held relate only to the prisoner's internment in a New South Wales camp.

Records held in Sydney relating to individual internees

Commonwealth Security Service, NSW (CA 946) 1 Jan 1941 – 15 Dec 1945

Commonwealth Security Service, NSW (CA 946) (to 1945)
Commonwealth Investigation Branch, NSW (CA 904) (1946)

Commonwealth Investigation Branch, NSW (CA 904) (1919–1946)
Commonwealth Investigation Service, NSW (CA 912) (from 1946)

Headquarters, Eastern Command [I], Australian Military Forces (CA 1876) (to 1942)
Headquarters, NSW, Lines of Communication Area, Australian Military Forces (CA 1877) (from 1942)

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesPersonal files of prisoners of war1939–1946SP196/2
SeriesGeneral correspondence, 'S' (secret) series1922–1951SP1048/7

General records on internment

There are many series which contain records relating to internees and internment generally during World War II. These general records can be a useful source of information about individual persons. Included in the records are nominal rolls of internees, memoranda noting internees released on particular dates, and notes regarding internees' personal correspondence.

General records relating to internment held in Sydney

Headquarters, Eastern Command [I], Australian Military Forces (CA 1876) (1939–1942)
Headquarters, NSW, Lines of Communication Area, Australian Military Forces (CA 1877) (1942–1946)

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesGeneral correspondence files1871–1965SP1008/1
SeriesCorrespondence1912–1964SP459/1
SeriesGeneral correspondence, 'S' (secret) series1922–1951SP1048/7
SeriesSubject files to POW and internees1939–1946SP196/1

Commonwealth Security Service, NSW (CA 946)

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesVarious exhibits re internment of Italians1939–1941ST2476/20
SeriesSecurity Service weekly reports1941–1945C128
SeriesGeneral correspondence files1942–1945C417
SeriesTranscripts of the Australia First inquiry1944–1945C418

Directorate of Manpower, Central Office (CA 533)

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesGeneral correspondence1942–1945SP191/1

For more information

See the following fact sheets for more information.

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