Military personnel guide

This guide provides information on how to find arrivals of early military personnel and a list of records in our collection relating to Early British Army Regiments in NSW; Volunteer Force; Sudan Expedition; Boer War; World War I and World War II.


Military personnel are not generally mentioned by name on passenger lists. There are some sources, such as correspondence records that may assist in identifying the ship on which particular military personnel arrived.

Military records in the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP)

Musters and Pay Lists for the various regiments serving in New South Wales are available on microfilm as part of the AJCP. These records indicate where a soldier's pay was sent on a quarterly basis and may assist in narrowing down an arrival date.

A full set of the AJCP microfilm reels are held by the National Library of Australia and the Mitchell Library, which is part of the State Library of NSW.

Early British Army Regiments in NSW

We hold very few records relating to the early regiments stationed in the colony because, as they were British troops, the records remained with the Imperial Government. Hence, surviving records relating to those regiments are held by the Public Record Office, London. However, most State Libraries in Australia hold microform copies of the Muster Books and Pay Lists, which were copied as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project*.

Index to the Papers of the New South Wales Colonial Secretary *ARKThis index contains many references to military personnel in the colony during these years.
Alphabetical list of personnel of 17th Leicestershire RegimentCopy in the Reading Room at COD500. Compiled by BP and DA Murphy.

Volunteer Force

Colonial Secretary: Muster roll of Captain Wilkins Company No. 7, Sydney Battalion of Volunteer Rifles
NRS 8031
(Reel 2655)
Department of Lands: List of all Land Order Certificates issued to the Volunteer Force
NRS 8031
(Reel 2655)
Department of Lands: Registers of Volunteer Land Order Selections
Item List:

- 1870-74 Reel 2655 Item[4/8076]
- 1874-Oct 1876 Reel 2655 Item [4/8077]
- Oct 1876-Oct 1880 Reel 2655 Item [4/8078]
- Oct 1880- 1889 Reel 2655 Item [4/8079]
4 Jun 1870-1889

Sudan Expedition

Colonial Secretary: Special Bundles
- Sudan Contingent Roll, 29 March 1885 [4/856] COD 474
- Sudan Contingent, 1885 [4/853, 4/856]

Boer War

Colonial Secretary: Special Bundles
- Papers re discharge of various members of the South African Contingent, 1899-1902 [9/2418.5]
NRS 1477
Royal Commission of Inquiry re Claims on Members of NSW Contingents in South Africa, 1907
Minutes of evidence and proceedings
NRS 14223
(Reel 2655)
Treasury: Salaries paid to the South African Contingent


  • Records of Australian Contingents to the War in South Africa, 1899-1902. Compiled for Department of Defence by Lieutenant Colonel P.L. Murray (in NSW State Archives Reference Collection at SR 747)

World War I and World War II

Department of Education

Records of teachers and officers in the AIF during World War I
Returns of casualties of teachers enlisted in the AIF and RAAF during World War II
Record of service of Department of Education personnel in World Wars I and II

* See published guide: Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook, part 4, War Office.

NSW in 1942

Factory workers assembling Beaufort Bombers

World War II: New South Wales in 1942

A look at NSW involvement in World War II through the State Archives Collection, including the construction of roads, bridges and airfields and war time activities on the home front

How to access the records covered in this guide

  • None of the files can be viewed online
  • Visit the Reading Room to view the original documents
  • We don’t offer a copy service for these records
  • Hire a researcher. We cannot undertake research for you. Please see our referral list of professional researchers

Boer War records guide

A brief overview and list of the main sources in our collection relating to New South Wales' participation in the Boer War

Soldier Settlement guide

A list of the main land records in our collection that relate to returned soldier settlement after World War I. The passage of the Returned Soldiers Settlement Act 1916, (Act No 21 1916) allowed the settlement of returned soldiers on Crown and Closer Settlement lands. When applying for land, an ex-serviceman was required to complete a Qualification Certificate which was a declaration of his or her status as an ex-service person and eligibility for land

Group photo of military men in various military uniforms

Researching your military ancestors

An introduction to key sources in the collection for researching military personnel in the 1800s and early 1900s