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ANZAC History Made Easy

Friday, 22nd April 2016

eLearning Resources for Lifelong Learning in Australian Social History

ANZAC Day at Manly

With ANZAC Day on Monday it’s a good opportunity to explore the many, many online and elearning resources available to Australians who are either studying Australian History in its many forms or simply have a lifelong learning interest in Social or Family History and Genealogy.

Gone are the days of having to physically go to the records repository and spend hours and hours searching through microfilms of thousands of records to find the one person you are looking for.  Thanks to the dedicated work of an army of volunteers the records are now indexed, digitised and made available through fast reliable databases by largely government libraries and archives world wide.

However, learning how to search them effectively is a little more complex.  Here people need help and not a lot is yet available.  There are lots of lists, but  little training in how to use them.

“The University of Tasmania has a fully online course leading to a Diploma in Family History.”

The University of Tasmania has a fully online course leading to a Diploma in Family History.  Mounted in Blackboard it is a well developed, highly engaging course that is suitable for all age groups, including seniors, with limited computer experience.

The first four units can be undertaken without charge of HECS liability and lead the learner from the known to the unknown in easy steps.  Even those who have been long time researchers into their Family History learn new tricks and correct practice from Day One.

Family Search https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/home.html  has a series of video clips that are designed to teach Family History Research step by step.  They are a good resources, but for learners who need more than to watch a video they don’t hit the mark.

There are also a number of sites that require membership and payment to use their services, but each of these has a support site that gives elearning resources to help you to search more effectively.

These are three well known sites, among others, that are easy and quick to use.


Ancestry.com has a very good elearning section to help the beginner to use the site and  to search effectively.

“The resources now available online are rich and abundant”

For those who feel confident to research and learn without help,  the resources now available online are rich and abundant.  They range from newspaper archives, photographs, diaries and journals of Australians in the past to the military, court and government documents of our Commonwealth and the states.

Some valuable web based resources that are free to use are:

  • Trove – the Australian National Library Archives, newspapers, journals, photographs, books and listing of artefacts from about 1830.    http://trove.nla.gov.au
  • The Australian War Memorial – Search your family history or the Roll of Honour https://www.awm.gov.au
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission – British site that lists all of the graves of soldiers in Commonwealth countries. Search for any Commonwealth war dead world wide and learn about the operations of the CWGC in maintaining memorials and cemeteries and finding and identifying the fallen from newly discovered remains. http://www.cwgc.org
  • NSW Births Deaths and Marriages – the Indices are freely searchable, but you pay for the Registration Certificates. Births from 1835, pre- registration burial records available.
  • National Archives of Australia – Your Family, Our History Search your own family or the family history of famous Australians through Case Studies. http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/family-history/
  • The Australian government Family History  site has a comprehensive list of sites that may be used in Australia.   http://www.australia.gov.au/information-and-services/culture-and-arts/family-history

With the 70th Anniversary of World War II coming in 2017 we can expect the records of Australian Military and Social History to be more and more used.  Our Schools already have a set of high quality web based teaching resources for ANZAC.  There are, no doubt, similar resources in preparation for 2019.

Similar resources for adult and young adult use are less available.  Hopefully the War Memorial and National Archives have something planned.