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Service & Personnel Records

Department of Defence Service & Personnel Records

Accessing Service Records

Defence holds records, both during and after their service.

The following types of personal information can be obtained about ADF members which are retained by the ADF.  

  • Health records

  • Incident and inquiry records

  • Psychology records

  • Service records

The personal information of an ADF member can be requested by:

  • Advocate or representative of a living current or ex member

  • Advocate or representative of the immediate family of a deceased ex-member

  • Current member

  • Ex-member

  • Immediate family of a current or ex member, living or deceased

There is an online form where you can submit your requests.   Before submitting the form you are required to have documents such as Proof of Identity (POI) and if relevant consent and proof of relationship.   The link to the form is here which includes the relevant documents you will need prior to submission.

On your records there may be information pertaining to third parties and that information is protected under the Privacy Act 1988.  This means that when you receive the information, it may be redacted to protect the privacy of third parties before release.


You can find information about Redactions here

Contact Details

You can contact the ADF access for records on 1800 333 362 or email

Defence Archives Conflicts Since 1953 Personal files for all conflicts since 1953 are held by Defence Archives. Defence Archives also holds records for members who enlisted or were commissioned into the Regular Army from 1948, including those who did not see active service.  All enquiries should be directed to:  Defence Archives GPO Box 225 QUEENSCLIFF VIC 3225 Email:

ADF Fact Sheet upload

ADF Administrative Access Guidelines

Accessing DVA Records

Using the DVA MyService you can view your service history at any time and ensure your service history is accurate. For more information on MyService visit: 


In addition, you can access DVA records under Australia’s freedom of information law, you have a right to access the documents DVA holds. When DVA releases a document, they put the details in their disclosure log. 


Pertinent Acts

  • the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA)

  • the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA)

  • the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).

  • the Archives Act 1983 historical information 


Military services records

These records contain information of a Veteran’s military service. 

Where do I find military records?

Two national government agencies, located in Canberra, hold most of the records about Australian service men and women:


State archives also have records from before Federation (1901) relating to the Boer War.  See this overview of service records from the Department of Defence for a quick guide to where records are held – for both current and ex-serving members.

You may also find military records on family history websites like Ancestry and Find My Past but generally all of these can be accessed directly through the National Archives, Australian War Memorial or state archives.

National Archives of Australia

The National Archives' collection of records about Australia's defence and war efforts will help you learn more about your family's war history, support your academic research, or commemorate ex-service members.  Records in the National Archives are available to the public if the records are more than 20 years old, called ‘the open period’. 

Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial maintains a set of searchable lists called ‘rolls’ which are names of service persons in the following categories:

  • Roll of Honour – names of service persons who died on active service

  • Commemorative Roll – names of people who were not in the defence forces but who died during or as a result of war

  • Nominal rolls

  • Conflicts before World War I

  • World War I Embarkation Roll – recorded as defence persons left for overseas

  • World War I Nominal Roll – recorded when service persons received repatriation assistance

  • Honours and awards – details of military honours

  • Honours and awards – details of recommendations

  • Red Cross wounded and missing

  • Prisoners of war

  • Australian Naval Force 1903 to 1911

Where can I find women's land army records?

Where do I find information on the Kokoda Trail?




Other Resources

These other resources provide information about men and women who served in the Australian armed forces. 

Poppy Wall

The Office of Australian War Graves

Students on Campus

AIF Project

Veterans with Flowers

DVA's Nominal Rolls

Other Resorces

Understanding and Maintaining your information;

Confidentiality and Privacy 

Privacy Act

The Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) is the principal piece of Australian legislation protecting the handling of personal information about individuals. This includes the collection, use, storage and disclosure of personal information in the federal public sector and in the private sector.  Other statutory provisions also affect privacy and separate privacy regimes apply to state and territory public sectors. 


The Privacy Act provides 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs). The APPs apply to government agencies and private sector organisations with an annual turnover of $3 million or more. The APPs are principles-based—protecting privacy while not burdening agencies and organisations with inflexible prescriptive rules.. 

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is responsible for investigating breaches of the APPs and credit reporting provisions.

Freedom of Information

Freedom of information (FOI) means the right of the public to access information Australian Government ministers and Australian Government agencies hold.  This right is promoted and enforced in the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).


Identifiable Information

It is important that you know how to keep your personal identifiable information private and secure.  Identifiable information is any piece of information, or ‘data’, that can confirm who you are or how to find you. It’s important to make sure it’s only used with your knowledge and consent and for the purpose it should be used.  You are in control of making sure that you are clearly informed by anyone that collects your personal information of how it will be collected, stored and used. 

Health Information

Health information includes information or opinions about the health or disability of an individual and future health information for health services.  Health information is regarded as one of the most sensitive types of personal information. For this reason, the Privacy Act provides extra protections for the way health information is handled.

Personal Information

The Privacy Act defines personal information as ‘information or opinion, whether true or not, and whether recorded
in a material form or not, about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable’.  Personal
information includes an individual’s name and address, signature, contact details, birth date, medical records and
bank account details.  It does not matter whether the information is true. Personal information can be held in any media. Information does not have to be explicitly recognised as personal information to constitute personal information under the Privacy Act. The types of information that are personal information are unlimited and can vary widely.


Medical Information
Your doctors may record personal information on paper and in electronic records, and this may also include; X-rays, CT scans, videos, photos and audio recordings. Information held by doctors may include not only medical opinions and diagnosis directly, it also includes data and information from a third party in the course of providing your healthcare service.

Defence Information

The Defence records may include your service report, personal and health documents.  Prior to 2013 mental health documentation was retained in psychology documents, whereas after 2013 mental health is within health documents.  


DVA Information

DVA collects personal details such as name, date of birth, occupation, marital status, residential details, contact details, government identifiers, and date of death, Information about a person’s circumstances and background such as employment history, military service history, marital status, financial affairs and remuneration, medical, and lifestyle. Information about dependants, family members and authorised representatives, Tax File Numbers (TFNs), when required for certain payments and details that may relate to a program.

Use & Disclosure

Generally, the distinction between use and disclosure refers to whether third parties are involved.  For example, a doctor will ‘use’ health information when it holds and manages that information within the medical practice, such as for clinical or consultation.  Whereas, the doctor ‘discloses’ health information if it makes it accessible to persons, agencies or companies ‘outside the practice and releases the handling of the personal information from its own control.

An organisation or agency can’t use or disclose your personal information for another reason (a secondary purpose) unless an exception applies. Exceptions include: you’ve consented to an organisation or agency using or disclosing your personal information for a secondary purpose, an organisation or agency uses or discloses your personal information because they think it’s reasonably necessary for enforcement-related activities carried out by, or on behalf of, an enforcement body, a secondary purpose is required or authorised under an Australian law, or court or tribunal order.

Consent to the handling of personal information

Your consent is only valid if you’re aware of the consequences of giving or not giving your consent at the time you make the decision. An organisation or agency should:

  • clearly explain how they want to handle your personal information

  • communicate their request in plain English, without legal or industry jargon.

Consent must be voluntary

You give voluntary consent if you’re not forced or pressured to give your consent. Some factors that decide if consent is voluntary are:

  • the options available to you if you choose not to consent

  • the seriousness of any consequences to you, your family or associates if you refuse to consent.

Consent must be current and specific

When you give consent at a particular time and for specific circumstances, an organisation or agency can’t assume your consent continues indefinitely.

Express consent
You give express consent if you give it openly and obviously, either verbally or in writing. For example, when you sign your name (by hand, or by an electronic or voice signature). An organisation or agency must get your express consent before handling your sensitive information.

Implied consent
An organisation or agency doesn’t need your express consent to handle your non-sensitive personal information; but they need to reasonably believe that they have your implied consent.  It’s not sufficient for an organisation or agency simply to tell you of their collection, use or disclosure of your personal information. Unless they presented you with an opt-out option they cannot assume your implied consent.

Bundled consent
A bundled consent is a single request for consent from an organisation or agency that contains several requests to collect, use and disclose your personal information, and does not let you choose which ones you consent to and which you don’t.

You can withdraw your consent at any time. 

FOI Disclosure Logs

This disclosure log lists information released in response to a freedom of information (FOI) request, where appropriate.  Agencies must publish documents released in response to a freedom of information (FOI) request. This publication is known as a ‘disclosure log’. The purpose of the disclosure log is to make available to others information that has been released under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).


Accessing DVA FOI

Form: D8601


POST:  Information Access Unit, Department of Veterans’ Affairs GPO Box 9998 Brisbane QLD 4001

Accessing Open Arms FOI

Requests for personal information relating to counselling sessions held through the Open Arms Veterans and Families Counselling Service should be directed in the first instance to:


POST:  Open Arms Counselling Service, GPO Box 9998 BRISBANE QLD 4001 or PHONE 1800 011 046


If seeking personal information about a current or ex-serving member use the Personal information request.  A FOI request should be made when:  seeking Defence corporate information created on or after 1 January 2002, seeking to amend or annotate information held by Defence, not satisfied with the result of a Personal information request.

Make and FOI request by using the online form, or by submitting a request in writing to or the Defence FOI postal address; Defence Freedom of Information, PO Box 7910 Canberra BC ACT 2610

Accessing National Archives FOI

Freedom of information requests can be made to the National Archives of Australia.  For records that were created by a Commonwealth Department or Agency and are more than 20 years old (open period), a request to access them under the Archives Act 1983 (Cth) can be made by emailing or by visiting  Ask us a question page on their website.

Your request must:

  • be in writing

  • state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act

  • provide information about the document(s) you wish to access so that we can process your request

  • provide an address for reply.

You can send your FOI request:  By email: or  or by post: FOI Coordinator, Corporate Governance, National Archives of Australia PO Box 4924 Kingston ACT 2604.

Access to records in the closed period can be requested under FOI by directing your request to the FOI section of the Government Department or Agency who created them.

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