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The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is a sub-unit of the Australian Army History Unit (AAHU) which has a network of regional museums throughout Australia. The AAHU, located in Canberra, is responsible to the Chief of Army for all aspects of Australian Army’s history and heritage.
The museum is managed by AAHU with advice from the Museum Advisory Committee (MAC) and supported by the Army Museum of Western Australia Foundation. The Foundation was incorporated under the Corporations Law of Australia to specifically manage the monetary side of museum activity, fund raising, human resources and marketing.
AAHU is responsible for preserving, providing additions and making improvements to the collections and displays and the Foundation for opening and operating the galleries and displays, funding and marketing of events and activities.
The Museum Advisory Committee (MAC) is chaired by the Museum Manager and comprises representatives from the Foundation Board, the Curator and other key staff.
The primary role of the MAC is to operate the museum in accordance with its Strategic Plan and to ensure the safe and efficient operations of the museum are planned and carried out in a professional manner in accord with good practice and OH&S principles.
The Advisory body is responsible for the effective communication and consultation between the Museum Manager and the museum’s stakeholders and ensuring the dissemination of information to all staff including liaison and exchange of information between Museum departments.
The Army Museum of Western Australia Foundation supports the museum by providing staffing, funding and marketing for museum activities in accordance with its Constitution and the Museum Operating Agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia.
The Foundation is incorporated under the Corporations Law of Australia and is a public company limited by guarantee managed by an independent board of seven directors elected by its members. Each year, one third of the directors retire and are available for re-election.
Further information on the museum structure is provided on the Museum Organisation Chart.
The Army Museum of Western Australia has the following facilities available for use by historical associations, ex-service associations and other groups to hold meetings, seminars and small functions. These will be available during normal opening days and hours:
There will be a fee of $50 for use. Please contact the museum to arrange a booking.
The Army Museum of Western Australia was established in 1977 and was originally located in the nineteenth Century building “Dilhorn” situated in Bulwer Street, Perth, which had been in use by the Army since 1952. This heritage listed building was subsequently sold privately by Department of Defence in 2001.
“Dilhorn”, original location of the Army Museum
Inside original Museum entrance at “Dilhorn”
Capt Syd Jenkins, ED, inaugural museum Curator
The museum was relocated to the Artillery Barracks site in Burt Street, Fremantle, in 1995. This entire precinct has been heritage listed with several of the buildings having historical significance. The initial aim was to open a new gallery every year leading up to 2001, the year of the centenary of federation and the forming of the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces. Each gallery reflects the Army in Western Australia and Western Australians’ service within the army from the colonial period through to the present day.
Official opening of the World War One Trench Gallery at the new museum l ocation in Artillery Barracks
on 2 March 1996 by Major General Michael Jeffery, Governor of WA
In 2000 the Army Museum of WA was faced with the prospect of having to be relocated once again due to plans for the Artillery Barracks site at Burt Street being sold off by the Federal Government. A successful “Save the Barracks” campaign was initiated to gain support for the retention of the barracks site as a heritage precinct remaining in Public ownership and for the museum to remain at this site. After lengthy negotiations the Commonwealth Government agreed that the Museum could remain at the Barracks under special licensing arrangements.
Lt. Col. John Deykin, AMWAF Board Chairman, addressing supporters during
the “Save the Barracks” campaign in 2000.
Up until the end of 2008 the Army Museum shared the occupation of Artillery Barracks with the Western Australian University Regiment (WAUR) which was an Army Reserve Officer training unit. During this period a comprehensive site interpretation plan was developed for the expansion of the museum following vacation by WAUR.
Delivery of the Centurion tank to the Army Museum at Artillery Barracks in 2004
Following the departure of the WAUR, an extensive program of work (including the Gallery Redevelopment Project) was undertaken over 2009-2016 for locating museum facilities and galleries in all other buildings previously used by the WAUR in accordance with the site plan. The Gallery Redevelopment project was completed with the support of grant funding from LotteryWest.
To raise the profile of the Army Museum in the wider community several public events have been held both on site in the grounds of the Artillery Barracks and at the Perth Concert Hall.
The museum currently has six established galleries and a static display of vehicles and other military hardware located on the parade ground and in adjacent buildings. In addition to the public displays of army memorabilia and artefacts a wide range of photographs, letters, general correspondence and other items of significance to Western Australian army history are also held by the museum.
The Army Museum of WA has come an enormously long way since it began in 1977 and has faced and successfully overcome many challenges. This is all due to the outstanding work, devotion and commitment of hundreds of volunteers and many Army staff over the years. Without this team there would not be an Army Museum of Western Australia.
Final stage of completing the new Post-1945 Gallery at the museum in 2010,
prior to displays being installed.
The mission of the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia is to collect, conserve, interpret and display Western Australia’s Army heritage and to commemorate with integrity the role of the Australian Army in Western Australia, and Western Australians in the Australian Army, on behalf of the people of Western Australia.
This policy gives guidance on the types of artefacts that will be collected by the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia. It should be read fully by potential donors prior to arrival at the museum. It should also be read by all volunteers at the Museum so that a complete understanding of donation procedure is understood.
British Garrison/Colonial Forces British regular army. Pensioner forces, volunteers. Permanent Military Forces and permanent cadre.
Australian Army – General history and development, including introduction of universal service, conscription. National Service.
– Permanent forces – includes all post-Federation permanent forces up to and including the ARA,
– Militia, Citizen Forces, Army Reserve.
Wartime and Overseas Service – WA Boer War units, First and Second Australian Imperial force (AIF), BCOF, Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam, current conflicts and all other operations. This may include civilian based support groups and philanthropic organizations who contributed to the war effort and the welfare of service personnel.
Items of community context including recruitment, training, conditions of service, family support and post service support, equity and diversity and related issues.
Museum Site History – comprehensive history of the site and its uses, and the units that have occupied the site.
The Museum will collect Army related material from the time of the first European contact in Western Australia (1826) until the present.
Priorities of Acquisition
The priority of the collection will be:
– objects relating to Western Australians who served in the Australian Army.
– objects relating to the Australian Army in general and;
– consideration may be given to objects from Western Australians who have served in other armies.
– consideration may be given to other military objects relating to armies opposed to, or allied with the Australian Army.
Items to be Collected.
Collected items consist of the following groupings:
Archives – personal records and paper-based ephemera pertaining to an individual’s service and similar items relating to army units.
Images – photographs, paintings, prints, posters, electronically recorded images, slides, videos, postcards (unless utilised as a letter and attributable to a personal record) that illustrate the role of the Army in peace and conflict.
Edged Weapons – swords, bayonets, fighting and pocket-knives used by Western Australian troops and captured or souvenired from enemy or allied forces.
Personal Equipment – load carrying equipment and personal issue or purchased items carried by troops in service including boots, respirators, mess items and helmets.
Textiles – examples of uniforms of all types issued including under garments, cloth hats, berets and caps, CBN (chemical, nuclear and biological) and weather protection clothing, flags, banners, colours & guidons, pennants and puggarees.
Firearms – small arms used by Western Australian troops and captured or souvenired from enemy or allied forces. Potential donors are to be advised that firearms are not to be brought onto Artillery Barracks without prior consultation with the Museum Manager. Ideally, photographs of potential firearm donations are to be emailed to the Curatorial Department prior to the donor arriving at Artillery Barracks. (Donations of firearms will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances and with authorisation from the Museum Manager, see note 2 below).
Library – books, bound documents and records, army training pamphlets and magazines that serve as references or research resources.
Unit equipment – examples of equipment retained by units but not on personal issue. e.g., stretchers, tents, medical panniers, communications items, trunks, training aids or any other equipment used.
Trench Art – trophies or trench art that is not derived from explosive ordnance.
Ethnographical objects – indigenous peoples objects (presentation/souvenirs from/by Australian Army Personal).
Ordnance (EO) – shell cases, grenades, bombs and related trench art. Potential donors are to be advised that explosive ordnance is not to be brought onto Artillery Barracks without prior consultation with the Museum Manager. Ideally, photographs of potential EO donations are to be emailed to the Curatorial Department prior to the donor arriving at Artillery Barracks (EO donations will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances and with authorisation from the Museum Manager, see note 2 below).
Vehicles – examples of the main transport and armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) used, and associated CES (complete equipment schedule).
Artillery – field guns, mortars (large calibre), and associated command and control equipment.
Heraldry – badges, buttons, plaques and insignia pertaining to the Army service of Western Australians and where provenanced examples form part of an individual Soldier’s civilian life. For example, RSL & ex-service association badges, civilian awards, etc.
Medals and decorations – military medals and decorations, with an emphasis on Army items belonging to people with a connection to Western Australia, in accordance with the Mission statement above.
Honour Boards – commemorative boards listing names of members of an organisation who enlisted or were killed in military service.
Maps – examples of maps, plans and architectural drawings that are of a military nature.
(1) All items to be within the capacity of the museum to store and conserve.
(2) All firearms and ordnance are to be rendered innocuous as per DI(A) ADMIN 34-2-Amdt No 1 and current EME-I specifications.
(3) Honour boards should be encouraged to be retained in localities appropriate to their origin.
Method of Acquisition
Acquisitions to the collection are by donations or bequests. It important that donors are aware that items will become the property of the Commonwealth upon donation. The museum will only accept items that the donor can legally offer, and after any relevant ethical considerations have been taken into account.
The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia will not accept conditional donations.
All donations are subject to assessment by the Curatorial Department. A donations committee is to meet on a regular basis to determine the significance of donated items, their relevance to this policy and to which of the museum categories the items will be allocated as defined in the policy statement on the rear of the museum’s donor form.
Relevance – The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia only collects objects that relate to the Museum’s mission and key themes.
Historical Significance – The museum will only collect provenanced items or those items which contribute to an understanding or appreciation of the customs, activities, historic episodes or personalities associated with the mission of the museum.
Provenance and Documentation – The museum will take into account the information (provenance) known about an item, such as original owner, history of the item, identity of people pictured or named, etc. Such information is to be included with the donor form and recorded when cataloguing the item.
Condition, intactness, integrity – The condition of the item will be taken into consideration when deciding whether to accept it as a donation. Badly damaged material will not normally be accepted into the collection.
Interpretive Potential – Objects that tell a story that adds to the interpretation of museum themes will be prioritised.
Rarity – Objects may be prioritised if they are rare examples of a particular kind of object.
Representativeness – Objects may be prioritised if they are an excellent representative example of a particular kind of object.
Duplications -The museum will not normally collect items which duplicate the existing collection. If an item of superior condition or historic value is accepted, the duplicate item must be considered for de-accessioning. This also applies where a number of similar items are retained to allow rotation and resting of displayed items. Reproduction or copy items may be collected for information, display, loan, education or other purposes. The exception to this policy is Army medals and decorations with a connection to Western Australia, and Honour Boards. These will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Legal Requirements – The museum will only accept items where it is reasonably demonstrated that the donor has legal title to the object.
The museum will accept indigenous items subject to the principles and guidelines for Australian museums working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage as outlined in the Museums Australia publication Continuous Cultures, Ongoing Responsibilities.
Severely damaged items, material likely to deteriorate (e. g. newspapers, rubber, some plastics, and biological material) will not normally be collected, particularly if digital copies are available. Conservation and storage requirements of an item will be taken into account when collecting.
Documentation and Record Keeping
The Australian Army Museum of Western Australia maintains an effective documentation system.
Donation and Assessment Receipt Form – The potential donor will be issued a receipt for items presented to the Museum for consideration by the Curatorial Department. In circumstances where an item is accepted into the collection immediately, the donor will not be issued a receipt, but will be asked to complete and sign a Donor Form.
Refused items are returned to the owner with an explanatory letter. If an item is not claimed within 90 days it will become the property of the Commonwealth and may be disposed of.
Donor Form – Once the Curatorial Department has assessed an item and agreed to accept it into the collection, a Donor Form will be completed and sent to the donor for signature. This Donor Form will transfer ownership of the article to the Commonwealth. The white copy of the Donor Form is given to the donor and the other two copies are kept for Museum records. The pink copy of the Donor Form is to remain in the Donor Book, and the Yellow Copy is to remain with the item or attached to the Object Data Record.
The Curatorial Department, or member accepting the donation, is to record sufficient information on the item and the donor, including contact details and provenance of the item.
The Curator is responsible for ensuring that an Object Data Record (ODR) is completed for each item accepted into the collection. The object is to be registered, numbered and tagged.
The Curator is responsible for ensuring that each item is accessioned correctly, which includes updating the Donation Register and completing the Army History Management System (AHMS).
A letter of thanks is to be sent to the donor within 30 days of each donation and a copy is to be kept on file with the Object Data Record.
Acceptance of items is subject to the availability of space for storage, secure from the risk of theft and environmental damage.
Agreement to De-accession
Items which no longer meet the criteria of this Collection Policy may be deaccessioned in consultation with the Curatorial Department after due diligence by the Curator. All de-accessioned items are to be recorded in the Army History Management System (AHMS).
Disposal of De-accessioned Items
De-accessioned items can be disposed of as follows:
All de-accessioning to be recorded in the AHMS and the Object Data Records transferred to a De-accession Register.
Access to the stored collection
Subject to appropriate conservation requirements, the museum aims to provide public access to the collection. Public access will be by arrangement with the Curator and Manager.
The museum will not accept ‘permanent’ or ‘indefinite’ loans. The museum may accept loans from time to time for purposes such as exhibitions. All inwards loans will be for a fixed period and will be entered in a Loans Register and updated on AHMS.
The museum may make loans from its collection to other bodies. It is required that the borrowing organisation treat such items with a high standard of care, recognising their historical value and conservation requirements. Borrowers will be required to sign a loan agreement which included conditions of loan and specifies an agreed loan period. All outwards loans will be for a fixed period and will be entered in a Loans Register and updated on AHMS.
Review of Collection Policy
This Policy will be reviewed on a regular basis by the Manager of the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia. It is to be reviewed initially one year after its adoption, and every three years after that. The Manager may review the Policy more frequently if necessary.
Who runs the Australian Army Museum of Western Australia?
The AAMWA is a part of the Army History Unit, based in Canberra. We are a regional museum with a small staff of Army Reserve soldiers, but the day-to-day running of the Museum is done by volunteers. Our volunteers are unpaid but highly motivated.
I sent in a query about an item, but I haven’t heard back. Why is it taking so long?
Our Curatorial Department is staffed by highly trained and experienced volunteers who make every effort to meet the demands of a large museum, and they deal with a very high number of requests for information on a daily basis. Please understand that they work part time and are unpaid, so please be considerate when dealing with enquiries, and understand that your query may take some time to resolve.
Where does my donation go?
If you decide to donate an item to the AAMWA, it will become Commonwealth property. This means that, in accordance with our Collections Policy, it can be disposed of, sold, destroyed or sent to another museum or organisation. This is rare but it does happen from time to time, especially when duplicates of an item are held, or the item is considered to be of little or no historical significance.
Can I get my donation back?
Although all items become Commonwealth property once they are donated to the AAMWA, there are exceptional circumstances where we will return an item to the original donor upon request. If you would like to discuss the return of an item, please contact the Manager AAMWA or the Curatorial Department.
Who owns the item after I donate it?
Once an item is donated to the AAMWA, it becomes Commonwealth property.
I donated an item but can’t find it on display, where is it?
The AAMWA has limited display space. Although we endeavour to rotate items on display from time-to-time, the vast majority of our collection may stay in storage and never be displayed. If you or your family members would like to view an item that has been donated, please contact the Curatorial Department to arrange this.
I contacted the Curatorial Department about my item and they said they no longer have it. Where is it?
From time-to-time the Curatorial Department will review the collection, and some items may be disposed of in accordance with our Collections Policy. This is normal museum practice but it means that some items are sold, destroyed or passed on to another organisation such as another museum. Where possible, we will attempt to contact the original donor before this happens, but in the event that we are unable to contact the original donor, we will proceed with disposal. This is normally done where an item is a duplicate of another item in the collection, badly damaged or in poor condition, or of little historical significance.
I wanted to donate something, but it was rejected. Why?
The Mission of the AAMWA is to collect, preserve and display items of significance to Western Australians in the Australian Army, or Army units in Western Australia. If the item you want to donate belonged to a person who was not in the Army (RAAF, RAN, Police etc.), or not from Western Australia, we recommend that you send it to a museum relevant to that state, country or branch of service.
I want to donate a firearm, edged weapon or piece of explosive ordnance.
Although the AAMWA does collect these types of items from time-to-time, it is by exception and only under rigorous Army guidelines. Please do NOT bring firearms, edged weapons or explosive ordnance to the AAMWA without prior consultation with the Curatorial Department or Manager AAMWA. In most cases, you will be redirected to the nearest Police Station to hand in these types of items. Please refer to our Collections policy for more details.
Please note: It is important to understand that because a firearm or explosive item has been on a mantelpiece or in storage since a relative or friend brought it back from his or her Army service, does not mean that it is safe. Many of these items are dangerous and are quite literally, ticking time bombs. The staff at the AAMWA are not explosives ordnance specialists, and are not qualified to assess, or render these items safe. It is HIGHLY recommended that you contact the WA Police in regard to these items in the first instance, and ensure that they are rendered safe by a competent, qualified expert.
What paperwork is involved.
The AAMWA will only accept donations where it can be reasonably demonstrated that the donor has legal ownership of the item and is therefore entitled to donate it to us. Please bring photographic identification, and any other documentation you have which demonstrates the provenance of the item/s, and ownership.
When you leave your item with us we will provide you with a receipt for the item/s while we assess its suitability to be accepted into our collection. If found suitable, we will ask you to complete and sign a Donation Form, which will transfer ownership of the item/s to the Commonwealth. You will also receive a letter of thanks within 30 days of your donation. Please keep the Donation Form and/or letter of thanks for future reference.
If our Curatorial Department find that the item/s you have offered is not suitable to become part of our collection, we will contact you in order to arrange return of the item/s. If we cannot contact you, or you choose not to accept the return of the item, it will be kept for 90 days and then disposed of in accordance with our Collections Policy.
The Army Museum of Western Australia is privileged to currently have a team of more than 100 active volunteers that manage and conserve our collection as well as deliver the essential services ensuring our visitors enjoy a memorable experience during their visit to our heritage listed home at Artillery Barracks, Fremantle.
All volunteers are members of the Army Museum of Western Australia Foundation, a company of limited liability formed specifically to support the museum through supplying volunteers to run the museum on behalf of the Army and to provide funding.
The museum has several volunteer opportunities. You do not require to have been in any military service to qualify and employment is offered to those aged 18 or over regardless of gender. However you must be an Australian Citizen.
The museum is now seeking additional volunteers who will be given training in the various functions that are required. The museum has vacancies in the following areas:
For further information call us on 9430 2535. If unattended, please leave a message with your name and contact details. Alternatively email us or click here to submit a Volunteer Enquiry. Once your completed form has been received there will be follow up contact with you.
Volunteers working on catalogue data entry in Museum Research Centre
Volunteer doing digital scanning and editing of documents and photos
Volunteers from the museum’s maintenance workshop team checking out one of the outdoor artillery exhibits
A volunteer tour guide explaining details of an exhibit to museum visitors
I visited from the UK in December 17 and had a wonderful time. A special thank you to the guides who were marvellous.
It's our first time coming to visit the army museum it very awesome and interesting. The staff are extremely kind and wonderful nice thank you for showing us around. I recommend to everyone to come here and find out and enjoy the history. You never know what you find. And it's worth it. $20 for a group of family it's awesome.
Absolutely fascinating! I took my grandfather here not too long ago and had a great time, the guide was very helpful and informative. My favorite display would have to be the first world war exhibit, some of my ancestors medals are on display there as well as a kit bag in the "dugout" with my surname written on it, If only it could tell it's stories..
Excellent! Wholeheartedly recommend a visit. Knowledgeable and entertaining guides, impressive exhibits, great artefacts.