Australian colonial forces and family history

A guide to researching Australian military personnel serving in Australia and overseas between 1788 and 1902

Sudan 1885

Australia's involvement in the Sudan in 1885 was short, extending for only five months overall. Around 900 members of the New South Wales Contingent made up the first Australian colonial force to travel overseas on active service.

You can search for names in the Pre First World War conflicts nominal rolls through the Australian War Memorial's website and consult their accompanying introduction to the databases and their online guide for important contextual information.

The books But little glory: the New South Wales contingent to the Sudan 1885, Soldiers of the Queen, The Australian contingent: a history of the patriotic movement and New South Wales Sudan contingent, 1885 contain lists of all contingent personnel.

There are a number of books written about the Contingent's historical context which include illustrations, photographs and names of individuals. You can begin your search for them by accessing the State Library of Victoria's online catalogue and searching for the term: New South Wales. Army. Sudan Contingent Examples of useful books are: The rehearsal: Australians at war in the Sudan 1885, Britain, the Australian colonies and the Sudan campaigns of 1884-85 and Sudan 1885.

Names of service men and women who died during or as a result of service in Australian military forces can searched for in the Australian War Memorial's Roll of Honour and the Commemorative Roll and the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Australian Army War dead, 1885-1972 database.

Newspapers contain valuable historical and contextual information. Many international, city and regional newspapers have been digitised. Digitised issues of numerous Australian newspapers including The Argus (Melbourne) and The Age (Melbourne) can be viewed through the National Library of Australia's Trove database.