About

The National Archives of Australia has developed this innovative website in partnership with Archives New Zealand as a gift to both nations for the centenary of World War I.

The Australian and New Zealand contribution to World War I extends beyond the shores of Gallipoli in April 1915. Back home and abroad, ordinary people were mobilised by the war effort and crossed paths with the government. Discovering Anzacs provides a unique opportunity to create an extensive view of contributions to the war.

Use the search function to explore a growing selection of government records about soldiers, munitions workers, nurses, conscription, internment, wartime copyright and patents, defence correspondence and more. View the highlights to see what kinds of connections can be made and what type of records you may find. Recreate the wartime journey of an individual on the frontline, or those left behind at home.

Available records

Discovering Anzacs contains original records from:

  • Australian Imperial Force
  • Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force
  • Royal Australian Navy
  • Australian Flying Corps
  • Australian Army Nursing Service
  • depot unit personnel
  • official artists, photographers, war correspondents and historians such as CEW Bean
  • internees
  • munitions workers
  • New Zealand Boer War service records.

Additionally, the website features files relating to the war experience both abroad and at home in Australia and New Zealand:

  • selected copyright and design records
  • selected correspondence from departments such Defence, Security and Intelligence
  • correspondence from Australian wartime governors-general
  • Acts of Parliament, letters, protest material and clippings on conscription
  • diaries and records of the Chief Censor.

A large selection of photographs from the National Archives and Archives New Zealand is also available, including images of battle sites, maps and strategic plans, personal photographic collections of significant people, as well as official photographs of some soldiers and most internees.

Learn more about the series

Contributing to the website

The photographs and stories added by users to the service records help to create a rich picture of the lives of those who served. You can contribute to Discovering Anzacs in a variety of ways.

Recent contributions are displayed on the home page and all contributions to Discovering Anzacs are searchable, making it easier for others to find user-generated content.

Background to the project

In 2004, the National Archives of Australia finished digitising all 375,971 World War I service records. Archives New Zealand completed digitising World War I service records in August 2014. In 2008, the National Archives launched the website Mapping our Anzacs, an innovative and interactive website that allowed users the opportunity to map the details of the 375,971 service records by location. Through the website, users could view the names and service records of soldiers who were born or signed up in locations across Australia and around the world. The website provided a new perspective on the widespread effects of World War I on the Australian population.

Created in partnership with Archives New Zealand to commemorate 100 years since the beginning of World War I, Discovering Anzacs expands on the role of Mapping our Anzacs and provides users with even more records to explore. Tributes and scrapbook entries from Mapping our Anzacs have been migrated to Discovering Anzacs, and now appear as ‘stories and comments’. Users can now create connections between other archival records.

See more about which other records are available on Discovering Anzacs.