What the Office of Australian War Graves does

Last updated: 
30 January 2020

Purpose

The Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG):

  • Provides and maintains official commemorations of veterans of the Australian armed forces who have died in war or conflict, and of eligible veterans who have died after war or conflict of causes related to their service in that war or conflict 
  • Provides permission, on behalf of the Department of Defence, to use the Service emblem on the graves of all veterans
  • Provides historical information in respect of those who have died in war or conflict; and
  • Provides and maintains official Australian memorials overseas.

Eligibility for Official Commemoration

Official commemoration is the provision of an official memorial for eligible deceased veterans either at the site of their interment or by placement of a plaque in an OAWG Garden of Remembrance.

For further details, refer to Official Commemoration.

How can I obtain Permission to use the Service emblem?

All personnel who have served in Australia’s Defence Forces are entitled to incorporate the relevant Service emblem on their privately arranged memorial.

For veterans who served in the Second World War, Korean War and Vietnam War, a letter of Permission can be downloaded from the relevant Nominal Roll website – www.ww2roll.gov.auwww.koreanroll.gov.auwww.vietnamroll.gov.au.  The permission letter should then be given to whoever is arranging the memorial on your behalf.  In some instances the website may direct you to OAWG for the permission letter.

For veterans who served in the First World War and other conflicts, or anyone who has served in Australia’s military forces, families can make application to OAWG for use of the relevant Service emblem on the burial plaque or memorial.

If you wish to apply, write to The Office of Australian War Graves, GPO Box 9998, Brisbane QLD 4001or e-mail wargraves [at] dva.gov.au (mailto:).  Proof of service must be included with your application.  The Office will then provide a letter of permission to be given to whoever is arranging the memorial on your behalf.

Permission to use the Service emblem or insignia is provided free of charge.  However, all costs and arrangements for erecting a private plaque or memorial are the responsibility of the person making the arrangements.

What Historical information is available?

The Office can provide information about the burial places of the Commonwealth dead of the two world wars and of those Australians killed during other conflicts.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), based in the United Kingdom, is responsible for the official commemoration of Commonwealth casualties of the two world wars and the maintenance of those commemorations in perpetuity.  Information pertaining to the CWGC and individual commemoration of the war dead of the First and Second World Wars can also be accessed through the CWGC website: www.cwgc.org

For those proposing to travel overseas, the Office can provide grave and memorial details, location of cemeteries and, in most cases, names of contacts for further information. 

For those unable to travel, the Office can, on request, provide a photograph of the commemoration.  This service is free of charge to next of kin.  See the ‘more information’ for section contact details.

What publications are available?

The Office has a number of publications available.  These include:

  • War Cemeteries within Australia
  • Office of Australian War Graves Information Brochure
  • Australian Remembrance Trail
  • Adelaide River War Cemetery
  • Guide to Australian Memorials on the Western Front in France and Belgium (on-line only)
  • Australian Memorial Park, Fromelles (on-line only)
  • Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France (on-line only)
  • Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, Thailand (on-line only)
  • Sandakan Memorial Park, Malaysia (on-line only)
  • Australian War Memorial, London (on-line only)
  • OAWG Gardens of Remembrance 

If you would like any of these publications, contact the Office of Australian War Graves or download from the Department’s website. Some publications are also available from your nearest DVA office.

National Memorials Overseas   

On behalf of the Australian Government, the OAWG is responsible for the construction and maintenance of National Memorials at overseas sites significant to Australia’s military history.

A list of the memorials for which the OAWG is responsible can be found on the Department’s website

Follow us on:

Twitter: Commemorations and War Graves Aus, @cwg_aus

Facebook: Commemorations and War Graves Australia