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Australia in World War II, 1939 - 1945

A guide to records held in the ANU Archives

Introduction

Australian companies contributed to the war effort through manufacturing and shipping. Many maintained Rolls of Honour to commemorate staff who had served in the armed forces. After the war pastoral companies were involved in soldier settlement schemes for providing farms to veterans. Examples of the types of information to be found include:

Australian Agricultural Company

160/120-121: Despatches between the Company office in New South Wales and the Court of Directors in London relating to vessels carrying munitions, damage to wharves, insurance, manpower, etc (1942 - 1943)

Australian Mercantile Land & Finance Company

133/8/7: Correspondence concerning guerilla warfare training in northern Australia (Apr 1942)

Adelaide Steamship Company Limited

N46/813-814: Trip books for ports of call for ships' voyages (1939 - 1945)

N46/871, 882, 886): Marine Superintendent's files concerning ships serving under requisition (Manunda, Mulcra, Argosy Lemal) (1939 - 1942)

N46/911-913: Registers of Officers and Engineers (1936 - 1946)

N46/1235: Registrations and descriptions of vessels (Coast Steamships Ltd) (1927 - 1981)

N46/1255: Correspondence concerning Argosy Lemal (Yorke Shipping Pty Ltd) (1929 - 1942)

N46/21, 106, 450-455; N337/91; Photographs of ships serving under requisition - MV Manoora as an Armed Merchant Cruiser (1940, 1949)

N46/23, 404, 439-443, 531, 643): MV Manunda as a Hospital Ship (1940, 1942, 1944)

N46/36-39, 495, 537, 539: MV Morialta as a Royal Navy Personnel Carrier (1940, 1944)

N46/1195: Photograph of commemorative plaque, MV Manoora (1945)

N46/643: Subject file - MV Manunda (1929 - 1981)

N46/659: Subject file - MV Morialta (1942 - 1967)

Burns Philp & Company Limited

N145/96: MV Neptuna requisition voyage accounts (1941 - 1950)

N115/500, 507, 585: Photographs of ships serving under requisition - MV Bulolo as a Royal Navy Armed Merchant Cruiser, later Royal Navy Landing Ship Headquarters (1940 - 1944)

N115/501-505: SS Burnside, MV Macdhui, SS Malaita, MV Mamutu, MV Merkur, SS Morinda, MV Neptuna as supply ships to Australian and United States forces (1941 - 1945)

N115/585: Subject file - MV Bulolo (1939 - 1981)

N115/586: Subject file - MV Macdhui (1942 - 1961)

N115/586: Subject file - SS Malaita (1942 - 1977)

N115/587: Subject file - MV Merkur (1935)

N115/587: SS Morinda (1913 - 1967)

N115/588: MV Neptuna (1935 - 1937)

Z385/242: Post war suggestions etc (1943 - 1945)

Z385/285: Claims for war compensation - British Solomon Islands Protectorate (1949)

Z385/384: War risk and war damage - War risk insurance on hulls (1939 - 1946)

Burns Philp (South Sea) Company Ltd

N115/389: Report on Japanese raid, Tarawa Island (Dec 1941); includes correspondence and working papers concerning subsequent war damage claims (1942 - 1948)

N115/461: Staff War Savings Certificates Advance Account - Register of Payments (1940 - 1941)

CSR Ltd

Please note that Archives staff will need to request permission from CSR before giving access

N337/96: Minutes of General Meetings of Shareholders concerning CSR's contribution to the war effort (1940 - 1946)

Z109/189: Board Papers / General Managers' Memoranda concerning wartime projects (1939 - 1943)

142/1489-1860; 142/2663-2664; 142/2758-2763; 142/4145-4204: Correspondence concerning munitions manufacture; shipping (1940 - 1945)

N126/260: War Service Land Settlement, includes correspondence and lists of land allocations (1946 - 1953)

N306/672: Report of the Queensland royal commission on soldier settlement on sugar lands (1946)

Z109/308: Staff on active service (1940 - 1943)

N74/11-12: Hours, work and wages returns - Pyrmont Refinery NSW - records 1939 - 1956 indicate enlistment in the AIF

N305/A5/1/4: CSR munitions and war effort - World War I & II - includes photographs of Cowra grain distillery (1914 - 1945)

142/3642: Pyrmont album - including photographs of shell and gun annexe extention

142/4202; 142/4213; 142/4229 Ministry of Post-War Reconstruction

N306/521-526: Grain distillery notes (J C Potts)

171/912: Photographs of air raid protection training exercise, Yarraville Refinery (Oct 1941)

Z364/237: Photograph of 'Food for Britain' fundraising event, Town Hall (circa 1945)

Z364/92-93: Photographs of Pyrmont Refinery munitions annexes under construction (1941)

Z364/17: Photograph of Research Department Pyrmont Refinery - pilot scale wheat plant for producing power alcohol (circa 1942)

Z364/25-32: Photographs of Pyrmont Refinery - power alcohol plant (1942)

Z364/46: Photograph of SS Tambua as a supply ship, Noumea (1941)

Z364/428-451; Z364/456: Photographs of grain distilleries for power alcohol - Collie, Cowra, Murtoa, Wallaroo, Warracknabeal (1942 - 1945)

142/3642: Photograph album Pyrmont - munitions annexes under construction (1941 - 1942), ordnance production (1942 - 1945)

142/3643: Lane Cove - acetone annexe (1942)

142/3646: SS Fiona IV (1940 - 1945)

142/3647-3648: SS Tambua (1938 - 1949)

Dalgety Australia Ltd

100/1/43; 100/3/139: British-Australian Wool Realisation Scheme - Dividend distributions to Australian woolgrowers (1952 - 1955)

100/2/156: Soldier Settlement Commission, Victoria - Property plans for applicants (circa 1950s)

Davies & Baird Pty Ltd

112/2: Correspondence relating to:

  • Department of Labour and National Service (1942 - 1943)
  • Rationing (1942 - 1944)
  • War risk insurance for shipping (1942 - 1943)
  • Department of War Organisation of Industry (1938 - 1943)
  • Department of Defence (1944 - 1946)
  • Mari and Bendigo ordnance factories (1945)
  • Repatriation Commission (1946 - 1949)

Elder Smith and Company Ltd

N102/313: Register of staff in military service (1939 - 1945)

N102/315: Memo to staff regarding the leaking of information as to the movements of vessels and troops (1940)

N102/317: Typewritten copy of the war diary of Keith Morris Oliphant as a captain, later major, 2/3 Field Regiment, Greece (1941)

N102/318: Staff booklets and other items relating to employment, including a copy of a letter sent by Elders Welfare Fund to men enlisted in the armed forces; gives company and general news (1944)

N273: Photographs of staff members in military service - many identified, includes casualties (1942 - 1943)

Godfrey Hirst & Company Pty Ltd

90/67-69: Correspondence and paper concerning National Security Regulations for food control, chemicals, supply of goods and other matters; Central Wool Committee National Security Regulations; the Woollen and Worsted Manufacturers' Association and Harford Co Pty Ltd (1939 - 1946)

Golden Cob Products Pty Ltd

N45/7: War savings and victory loan certificates, effects of war-time rationing on business, sale and distribution of products to Australian and American armed forces (1940s)

Goldsbrough Mort & Company Pty Ltd

2/859/516: Plan of proposed air raid shelters for Sydney (1942)

Humes Ltd

32/84: Correspondence concerning contracts with Department of Defence (1939 - 1943); Ministry of Munitions (1943 - 1945)

136/21: Correspondence and reports concerning the affairs of Hume Pip (Far East) Ltd, the withdrawal of staff for military service, business losses due to the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, Malaya and Hong Kong (1940 - 1946)

116/11/6: Correspondence (Truscott) concerning the employment of an enemy alien at the United States military base (1945)

Lake George Mines Pty Ltd

67/155: Correspondence from Lake George Mining Corporation Ltd, London to Lake George Mines, Captain's Flat, concerning the Company's operations, the war itself, the labour situation in Australia, government regulations, war risk insurance and other matters (1939 - 1945)

McEwans Ltd

N218/113: Correspondence relating to applications for positions by ex-service personnel (1944 - 1946)

New Zealand and Australian Land Company

146/1023-1141: Station files concerning resumptions under the Western Lands and closer Settlement Acts (1935 - 1960)

146/1142-1158: General files concerning Government resumptions of Company leaseholds in the Western Division of NSW for soldier settlement (1943 - 1957)

New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Ltd

110/3/5/22: Letters from the Australian Inspection Depot, Melbourne, concerning war damage insurance, scorched-earth policy, ec (1942 - 1943)

Peel River Land and Mineral Company Ltd

121/12/2; 238/14/1: Correspondence concerning wartime profits and income tax (1949 - 1955)

128/35/2: War Service Land Settlement, Goonoo Goonoo Station, NSW - plan (circa 1952)

A B Pursell & Sons Pty Ltd

18/22/14: Correspondence concerning company contriubtions to the Australian League of Nations Union and the Polish Relief Fund (1939)

18/22/2: 'Action' Sydney. Official journal of National Emergency Services, NSW, vol 1 no 1 (1942)

18/22/3A: 'Australian League of Nations Union' (periodical) (1939)

H B Selby & Company Pty Ltd

N381/87: Letters from German suppliers, protesting about foreign press stories of atrocities against Jews (1933)

N381/94: Instructions to staff from N F Simonsen re controlled lines (items restricted by order of Ministry of Munitions) (1942)

N381/96: Employment and internment of Sydney's first service technician, Lother Salmon (1938 - 1946)

N381/100: Memos to staff, including one in support of staff enlistment (1939)

N381/103: Prices Branch of Department of Trade and Customs correspondence. War and post-war regulations

N381/173: Notes of E J Selby on his visit to Nazi Germany in 1937 for talk given to the Downtown Club in Sydney

Tooth & Company Ltd

N60/46: Correspondence concerning defered pay for staff engaged in military service (1941 - 1942); re-employment of discharged soldiers (1945)

N417: Register of employees engaged in military service (1939 - 1944); staff war service scrapbook and folders (1940s), with contents lists of comfort packs; KB Chronicle Christmas edition (1945 - 1946)

Subject files

N20/1483: Wartime economies (1939 - 1942)

N20/2868; N20/2954: Wartime organisation of the liquor industry, spirits and wines, cordial factory, breweries and malt houses (1942 - 1943)

N20/1379-1382: Rationing of beer, wine and spirits (1941 - 1944)

N20/2955: War-time precautions (1930 - 1950)

N20/2002: Air raid precautions for hotels (1941 - 1942)

N20/3008: Defence Services' beer supplies (1945)

N20/2083: Canteens at Naval and Air Force installations (1946 - 1968)

N20/1383: Red Cross appeal (1941 - 1942)

N417: 'Where our boys are serving'; 'Excerpts from letters home' - KB Chronicle (Dec 1941)

N20/2953: Wartime leaflets, press cuttings and journal extracts (1939 - 1941)

Unilever (Australia) Pty Ltd

N163/12/31: War Bonds Certificates (1943 - 1947)

N163/19/9: Australever Diggers Digest (photocopies) - published 1942 - 1946 by Lever Brothers Pty Ltd on behalf of the Lever Ex-Servicemen's Club. Includes Honour Roll

Paterson, Reid and Bruce Limited deposit

N29/130: Composite photograph 'So this is London', panoramic view of a part of London destroyed by bombs during WWII with the site of the Paterson, Laing and Bruce Limited premises marked (c. 1945 - 1946)