Scope of the Collection
The collection encompasses material from the pre-Federation period through to the present day, covering both peace-time Army units as well as the involvement of West Australians in all major conflicts and operations that Australia was engaged in throughout this period. These include the South African War, World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, South Vietnam and the more recent operations such as East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. The role of women’s services in many of these major conflicts and operations is also integrated with the museum’s displays covering these.
The pre-Federation (Colonial) period highlights the role of British Army garrison units stationed in Western Australia during the early years of the Colony and the formation of local Volunteer forces in the latter part of this period. A number of these Volunteer units became the forerunners of later Militia units that were formed as part of the Commonwealth Military Forces.
The most significant part of the collection is from the World War 1 period when units were generally formed and recruited on a regional basis. The military actions of units recruited in Western Australia have become a part of Western Australia’s history, as well as Army history. World War 1 was the conflict which has had the most marked impact on Australian society and the development of the national character.
It is expected that as time passes the collection of items from Post World War 2 conflicts and the various peacekeeping operations will grow and become more significant.
Click here to view details of some of the museum’s Significant Items.
The items from the collection that are on display are grouped into a series of galleries corresponding to the various periods and themes as described above. These are located within the main museum building. There is also a substantial collection of vehicles, artillery field guns and other military hardware located around the perimeter of the parade ground outside the main museum building. Some of the sheds adjacent to the main building also house vehicles on display.
In addition to these items the collection also includes a substantial amount of archival material in the way of documents, letters and diaries, as well as photographs and art work. The museum also includes a reference library. These can be accessed only by special arrangement with the Curator and the Keeper of these respective collection areas. See further details under Archives.
Links to separate pages containing brief descriptions of the various museum galleries and images of some of the displays and items within these are listed below. A link to images of many of the museum’s vehicles and field guns is also included. To view these click on the link below or the specific gallery shown under “The Collection” in the left hand menu.
- Pre-1914 Gallery
- World War One and Trench Galleries
- World War Two Gallery
- Prisoner of War Gallery
- Post-1945 Gallery
- Guns and Vehicles