We can help you with your research.
Our researchers are never more than an email or phone call (02-9359 2372) away.
Some common research queries are about:
- Australian Colonial navies
- Royal Australian Navy ships
- Australian Naval battles and operations
- Royal Australian Navy shore establishments
- Naval vessels and small craft
- Medals and awards
- Ships’ crests
- Coastwatchers and S.R.D.
Australian Colonial navies
From the mid-1800’s until Federation, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales created their own Colonial navies. These were responses to regional, political and other factors, including the British wars as well as the influence of the Admiralty and Colonial Office. The background, effectiveness, design and history of the ships and vessels of each navy are varied and the Society can help you with research into this interesting aspect of Australian history.
Royal Australian Navy ships
From 1901 until the present day, the RAN has built or operated hundreds of ships, of varying types and classes. Each ship has its own history, including political, technological and strategic factors. The Society has substantial resources that can assist with information about almost every ship operated by the RAN.
Australian Naval battles and operations
From the involvement of the Naval Brigade in the Boxer rebellion in 1900, the First World War though to Vietnam and current operations in the Middle East, in the Pacific (for example, East Timor, the Solomons, Fiji ) and other places. The RAN has been involved on its own and with its allies to protect Australia.
The Society can also assist with background and information about battles and operations involving Australians and Australian ships. These include AE2 and the Naval Bridging Train at Gallipoli, the Battles of the Coral Sea, Java Sea, and Sunda Strait, the Mediterranean in World War II including Crete, Tobruk and the sinking of the Bartolomeo Colleoni by HMAS Sydney and the submarine attack in Sydney harbour leading to the sinking of HMAS Kuttabul. There is a long list and we will have information about them all.
Royal Australian Navy shore establishments
Information of RAN shore establishments in every state and territory.
Naval vessels and small craft
During World War II many small craft were formally taken up for Naval Service. Perhaps your vessel, or that of a family member or friend, was part of the Naval Auxiliary Patrol (NAP) during the attack on Sydney Harbour in 1942.
Medals and awards
We may be able to assist you research the history of medals and awards or find the correct source to make further enquiries about the medals or awards of a family member. Some medals are awarded for specific service in areas such as Vietnam of the Middle East. other medals are given for general service.
If you would like a copy of a crest of a ship we can help. We can also give you the background to the design of a crest.
Coastwatchers and S.R.D.
The Australian coast watching network was established to provide information on the movements and disposition of enemy forces in the South Pacific during World War II. It drew upon the knowledge of local inhabitants throughout the area. The intelligence that Coastwatchers gathered played a significant part in the planning and conduct of Allied operations in the Pacific. It was imperative that they avoided contact with the enemy and remained undetected.
The Naval Section of the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD) was established in January 1944. SRD was the cover name for Special Operations Australia (SOA). The Naval Section initially operated 2 vessels, Krait and Alatna.
Additional similar content
We welcome requests for research assistance on any naval or maritime matter. We are normally able to answer your request, but if we can’t then we can usually refer you to another appropriate authority to assist you.
We may be able to help you in these areas:
- Naval family history records
- Names of ships
- Crests and badges of ships
- Movements of ships your friends or relatives may have served in.
You can request research assistance by:
- call ( 02-9359-2372/2243), or
- email our Researcher.
We don’t usually conduct intensive searches outside our own collection. Since we are staffed exclusively by volunteers there may be occasional delays in replying to your request.
There is usually no charge for our research service but if a research item takes up a good deal of time and effort we may discuss the matter with you with a view to defraying our costs.
Researchers should note that the RAN Reading List maintained by The Sea Power Centre is extremely comprehensive and should be considered by any serious researcher.