Military History

The Centre builds on the long-standing reputation of UNSW Canberra for its expertise in military history. By means of annual seminars, symposia and conferences, the ACSACS showcases its researchers’ work in a number of areas.

  • operational histories of Australian units in the Great War of 1914-18;
  • studies of the social consequences of the Great War and its impact on families and local communities, including local reactions to the events such as the German atrocities in Belgium during 1914-15 and the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916;
  • the publication of a new series of ‘personal histories’ of the major conflicts in which Australia has been involved, highlighting historiographical issues and explaining the approach leading historians have taken to presenting Australian military history in fresh and evocative ways;
  • analytical surveys of Australian operations in the Vietnam Conflict from a ‘lessons learned’ perspective.

The Centre also hosts two major historical database projects.

The First AIF Database

The First AIF Database is a comprehensive biographical resource containing detailed personal information on the more than 330,000 Australians whose names appear on the AIF embarkation rolls. The database is constantly corrected, updated and enlarged as new sources of official information become available. The database is accessible to researchers via an easy to use search engine. A similar resource is currently being developed for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.


The Vietnam War Operational Database

The Vietnam War Operational Database contains detailed information on the 4665 recorded contacts between the First Australian Taskforce-Vietnam and Vietnamese forces between 1967 and 1971. Linked to a number of official records, the data is presented visually with the aid of a battle map that can be searched from a number of fields. The “Australia’s Vietnam War” website is the most comprehensive presentation of this controversial conflict available to researchers and will soon include naval and air operations. A similar database is being developed for more recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.