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Remembered Today:

ALL WW1 Australian Personnel Records Now Online!


green_acorn

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The Australian National Archive today posted ALL the records for those who served online.

DICOVER YOUR DIGGER HERO - www.naa.gov.au

AUSTRALIANS whose forebears fought in WWI will be able to access their war service records online from today, under a $5 million project launched by the Federal Government.

The National Archives of Australia has posted the records of 376,000 men and women – a total of 12.3 million pages – on its website.

The site is live now. If you visit it and find an interesting story about your ancestor, tell us via the feedback form below.

Prime Minister John Howard yesterday visited the archives to examine his own family's war contribution.

His father Lyall, and grandfather Walter both fought in France under Australia's hero general, Sir John Monash.

The father and son had an extraordinary battlefield meeting in August 1918. His 22-year-old son simply wrote in his diary: 'Met Dad at Clery.'

"This exhibition which I've just launched will make available to all Australians the records of some 376,000 Australians who served in WWI and the capacity that provides people all over the country to trace their family's history and their family's experience is quite remarkable," Mr Howard said.

"There is a growing interest amongst Australians in what their ancestor's did not only in war but elsewhere.

"When you think of the size of our population in 1914-1918 to have 376,000 out of just 5 million is quite amazing, and that is a sizeable chunk of the personal history of this country."

The National Archives has spent three years digitising the war service records, at a cost of $4.9 million.

Typically, records contain enlistment documents, certificates of medical examinations, injuries sustained throughout the war, and official correspondence with family members.

Among the masses of files are those of Sir John Monash – whose distinguished military career led to 101 pages of notes – and Captain Albert Jacka, a hero at Gallipoli who received the first Victoria Cross in WWI.

The records of writer Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson, and Prime Ministers Earle Page and John McEwen are also online.

by Nicolett Burke. The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) 11 Apr 07

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A big "well done" to Nicolett Burke and The Daily Telegraph (Sydney).

Beppo,

I think the well done should be for the staff and contractors of Australia's National Archives, rather than the journalist who wrote the article I posted.

But most importantly it is a resource we can all use for free, but please not all at once! I have been on the site now reading a few files and it is getting slower as more people get their evening news here in Australia!

cheers,

Chris

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Beppo,

I think the well done should be for the staff and contractors of Australia's National Archives, rather than the journalist who wrote the article I posted.

But most importantly it is a resource we can all use for free, but please not all at once! I have been on the site now reading a few files and it is getting slower as more people get their evening news here in Australia!

cheers,

Chris

You are, of course, quite right Chris.

A belated thank you for the staff and contractors of Australia's National Archives. :)

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I think it makes a lot more sense to sell your records to a foreign company who will spell all the things the search engine looks for wrongly so you can't find it, and who will sell it back to you for £80 having done just 1/13th of the task.

You Australians and your absurd notion of providing free access to public records. And you Canadians too for that matter. Shame on you all.

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I know that it looks as if TNA is dragging its feet, but you do have to put these things in perspective.

I wouldn't like to hazard a guess at the total volume of material, of all sorts (not just military records), that TNA is managing, and doing this on a tax base of c. 60 million people.

We wouldn't have anything like one third of the material at TNA, in fact probably a tiny fraction of the amount, but we've grown a bit in 200 years and have a tax base of 23 million people.

There are also some privacy questions that can be asked about having personal records on a "free-to-view" basis, which means that anyone can look at anyone. Not that your average punter knows what to look for or where to look for it, of course, but there are arguments that can be raised for having a small fee and a "pay-to-view" approach.

Noel

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The Australian and Canadian Governments have shamed the British Government. How many members of Parliament actually know about the free service their commonwealth neighbours are providing? I`ll wager none.

Why must I continue to live in a country that persists to rip its population off, even for soldiers records who gave their lives so the existing Government could still be around today?

Two of the female relatives of my family married two chaps who were KIA in the war. Both were the last of a family line and because they married into my family I have to PAY to see their records. Ok so I dont mind paying when I researching none family members but to have to pay for these two men is an insult.

Yes there are the overheads to consider for the TNA and Ancestry........but what about the overheads for the Australians and Candians? It wont be long before New Zealand are way ahead of us too.

As I have said in previous posts far too much money is being wasted by the Government. Preservation of heritage is essential and it is important to encourage interest.........the way to do it is not by selling our records off to fat cats and having them rip the British public off in the deal.

Steve.

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As I have said in previous posts far too much money is being wasted by the Government.

And I think that the vast majority of the tax payers in this country would agree that free access to digitised records paid for by them would be a further waste. Why should the vast majority subsidise our hobby? I don't ask for governmental grants to purchase equipment for my other interests, why should this be any different?

As we all know the records are free to access, you just have to get off of your backside to do it.

Andy

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And I think that the vast majority of the tax payers in this country would agree that free access to digitised records paid for by them would be a further waste. Why should the vast majority subsidise our hobby? I don't ask for governmental grants to purchase equipment for my other interests, why should this be any different?

I think your wrong about this. Already this government is tipping millions into minority groups. You are trying to point out that the enthusiasts of this hobby are in themselves a minority group. The fact is everybody who lives in this country had a relative who fought in the Great War and that is what makes this case unique. By the time 2014 comes around I am sure there will be even more interest than there is now. More people will be asking why should they have to pay to find out about their relatives sacrifice.

Please point me to the posts where the Australian and Candian population are complaining about how their government is putting money into projects of this like. I can find no complaints anywhere on the Web. In fact the Australians are praising their Government and War Memorial for their work. Now theres a country that takes its heritage seriously........its a shame we dont.

Steve.

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I think your wrong about this. Already this government is tipping millions into minority groups. You are trying to point out that the enthusiasts of this hobby are in themselves a minority group. The fact is everybody who lives in this country had a relative who fought in the Great War and that is what makes this case unique. By the time 2014 comes around I am sure there will be even more interest than there is now. More people will be asking why should they have to pay to find out about their relatives sacrifice.

Please point me to the posts where the Australian and Candian population are complaining about how their government is putting money into projects of this like. I can find no complaints anywhere on the Web. In fact the Australians are praising their Government and War Memorial for their work. Now theres a country that takes its heritage seriously........its a shame we dont.

Steve.

Steve

Start one of those online petitions and see how much support you get from outside of the fraternity that we are in.

Andy

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Andy,

I think your right. If this petition was marketed correctly and came about in 2014 you might be surprised at number of people who would put their names to it. Maybe just the names of the active members of this forum would be enough just to get 'noticed' by Downing Street.

A great place to start:

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/

Steve.

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Five million for remembering and preserving those that gave their lives ,believing that it was for the benefit of this wonderful country we live in.???

Five million is what the Pollies spend on one election.

Five million is a drop in the bucket in what Australia gives in overseas aid.

Five million is nothing compared to the money wasted on crackpot schemes that the bleeding heart, do gooders get up to.

Five million on preserving the AIF,........very well spent.

Kim

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Apologies to my English, Welsh, Scot and Irish friends, I was just having a dig at you about costs and accessibility on the net. I think Kew and the work TNA does is superb, one of the reasons our NA would digitise is the geographic size of the nation. It isn't easy to get to any of our archive sites, for example as many would know my interest is "intelligence" to research it I have to go to each capital city office of our national archives Perth to Brisbane, Darwin to Hobart, which at a mimimum is going to take 8 travelling days by air! Not cheap! And then there is the research time. local travel and accomodation costs!

After having visited the TNA in October 2005 it was terrific, I just think your fees are outrageous! Though it did cost me over GBP 10,000 to do the round trip for the privilege. By the way could anyone tell me of a reasonably priced 2-3 star hotel to stay at near Kew next time I visit the UK? Last timeI stayed at the Victory Services Club near Marble Arch and would appreciate less travel and more research next time.

cheers,

Chris

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This is a brilliant achievement by the Australians! Andrew Hesketh makes great points, but you missed out that the UK NA concept of 'digitising' is to copy from copies (rather than the originals) and then not enhance the result!

On the other hand

The National Archives are free to view at Kew and the FRC. You don't HAVE to pay to see the records. These records are just a tiny portion of the projects that TNA have worked on.

The numbers of records just do not compare 376,000 service personnel is about the size of the WW1 RAF (no plans for their records yet and not all their records have even been released) or the ASC and I think is less than the numbers of Royal Navy ratings (again no plans for the officers) and Royal Naval Division naval contingent, both of which have been released - so the UK TNA are ahead of the game.

For the army, they have already released over 5 MILLION mics online, so that's a total of over 6 million pages so far. They have over TWO MILLION servicemen's (again no plans for the women ) records to work on, which is 5-6 times as many as the Australians and probably at least double the number of pages.

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Is there any plan for the New Zealand Government to make their records available?

Martin

I'd love to know if so!

Up until May-ish of last year, you could order one (or two?) file free of charge in a 12 month period. This was a carry over from when the files were held by the Ministry of defence at Trentham. When the files were transferred to Archives New Zealand, they initially kept the faith with the 12 month thing, but suddenly, wham, all service files cost you $25. The only ones exempt from this are the ones that were retained at Trentham because they had post-1920 activity on them (such as WW2 service in the Home Defence) - you can still get one of those every 12 months gratis. I got one of these last year.

If they were to be made available free of charge, there would have to be some arrangement between the Ministry of Defence and Archives NZ to get all the files somehow scanned, when they are currently in two different places. And many of them (I may be wrong here, having not actually seen the files) are not paper files at all, but are on microfilm that is of a somewhat dodgy condition. Not to mention misfiled. not to mention pages of them culled.

Allie

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£3.50 is less than 20 cigarettes in Britain, less than most genealogical or history magazines, less than almost every meal out (I can just get a meal at my favourite local caff for less!) or even a sandwich; about the same as a rip off coffee from big chains or in some places the cost of a pint of beer. So are these records worth less to you than a beer or two?

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£3.50 is less than 20 cigarettes in Britain, less than most genealogical or history magazines, less than a meal or even a sandwich; about the same as a rip off coffee from big chains or in some places the cost of a pint of beer. So are these records worth less to you than a beer?

Very true. So how can private researchers who have to physically travel to TNA, copy the card and then post it to me do it for a total cost of £1.20? Then still find profit in it for themselves?

It totally defeats the object of the records being online if they are overpriced and the copies are of inferior quality. The only advantage I can think of is instant access.

Some people have to work an hour in this country to be able to afford an MIC...........please remember that.

Steve.

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£3.50 is less than 20 cigarettes in Britain, less than most genealogical or history magazines, less than almost every meal out (I can just get a meal at my favourite local caff for less!) or even a sandwich; about the same as a rip off coffee from big chains or in some places the cost of a pint of beer. So are these records worth less to you than a beer or two?

Sorry if offence has been caused. All the records are equally of value to me, whether it be a single Medal Index Card or the volumes of the Imperial Defence Conference of 1909. But as an institutional decision the fee is a bit rich when 99% of MIC may only get accessed once by the family, it clearly is just a revenue recovery exercise.

Regardless of the size and volume of the problem, what the Australian National Archives has done with the WW1 records is an achievement given the relative population and force sizes at both points in time. Just as importantly the gesture of making the records free to ALL, not just Australian citizens show a generosity not often made by any government, as Andrew has said what an absurd notion! And from a Conservative Australian givernment!

kindest regards,

Chris

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"As we all know the records are free to access, you just have to get off of your backside to do it."

Whilst not disagreeing with the accuracy of the statement, a 800 mile trip, plus food and accomodation hardly fits into the free access category. Not all tax payers stay a stones throw from Kew and surely the more people who have access to our heritage the better. I strongly feel that this information should be made available to anyone wanting it , not just those able to pay for it.

I appreciate that it is a mammoth task, but hardly beyond the British, we have managed much harder before, where there is a public will there is a way.

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Chris..........I am with you all the way and I dont think you have caused offence in any way for the reasons I have stated above. It is not a revenue recovery exercise.........its an excercise in profiteering and thats what I find offensive.

How can anyone begin to compare a AIF WW1 service folder which can be viewed for free online to a MIC at a charge? Its laughable!

If there was no real demand for MIC's and no one is really interested in WW1 records in the UK why did TNA even bother to digitise them? It would be nice to establish exactly how many times this particular service is used per day and exactly how much revenue is generated. I wonder what the motivation to get the Royal Navy service sheets online was? Kindness? I think not.

Steve.

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"As we all know the records are free to access, you just have to get off of your backside to do it."

Whilst not disagreeing with the accuracy of the statement, a 800 mile trip, plus food and accomodation hardly fits into the free access category. Not all tax payers stay a stones throw from Kew and surely the more people who have access to our heritage the better. I strongly feel that this information should be made available to anyone wanting it , not just those able to pay for it.

I appreciate that it is a mammoth task, but hardly beyond the British, we have managed much harder before, where there is a public will there is a way.

John

There are 15 CLDS Family History centres in Scotland from which film containing service records can be ordered and viewed for free. (over 80 locations the length and breadth of England). Research doesn't have to begin and end at Kew.

Andy

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Really Andy? It is very strange then that the Scottish Genealogical Society says it hasn't.

Aye

Malcolm

I'm only going by what the MoD says http://www.veterans-uk.info/pdfs/service_r...s/army_pack.pdf http://www.army.mod.uk/ra/gunnernet/resear...ner_records.htm

What do you mean by "the Scottish Genealogical Society says it hasn't"?

Andy

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