Hi, I am a writer researching for a biography. I am trying to find records of an accident that occured at Puckapunyal in March, 1952. I have been using a name search (person most badly injured), which has got me nowhere. Also a key word search using dates, names and combinations of these. Nothing. Can someone suggest what I should do?
Because of the immense size of the National Archives of Australia's collection, only a small proportion of the collection is listed at item level on our database, RecordSearch (approximately 8 million items are listed, and the collection comprises more than 50 million items). As a result, sometimes it is not possible to find records you are searching for simply by searching online. As a first step, I recommend that you submit a reference inquiry with as many details about the accident as you can provide. A reference officer will then conduct an initial search of the records and will let you know what they have been able to find. You can use the online form http://naa.gov.au/collection/forms/ref-inquiry.aspx to submit your inquiry to our National Reference Service.
If the accident resulted in court martial, the National Archives may also have information relating to the court martial/s. When you submit your reference inquiry using the form above, you will need to indicate that you are also interested in the court martial records and provide any information you may have that may assist us with finding the records.
Also, the National Archives can help you with getting access to the service records of the soldiers who were involved in the accident as the records will be in the open access period (for more information on access to records under the Archives Act see fact sheet 10 http://naa.gov.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs10.aspx). For access to the service records, I recommend you use the online form at http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/forms/pww-inquiry.aspx
In addition to the records of the National Archives of Australia, information about the accident might be found in the unit war diaries for the unit in which the soldiers served. These records are held in the collection of the Australian War Memorial, and I recommend that you contact their research centre for assistance with this aspect of your research. They may be able to advise you whether they may hold other records, in addition to the the unit diaries, which may be pertinent to your research. Please see http://www.awm.gov.au/research/research.asp for information about the AWM research centre and their contact information.
Best of luck in your search
Thank you so much for this Tonia. It is a wonderful help to me and I really appreciate the time you spent in replying.
The newspapers show that his lawyer issued a writ in December 1955, sueing the Commonwealth and Imperial Chemical Industries for damages - "The writ asked for trial of the action by a judge and jury of six". The Public Record Office in Victoria hold court records which I would think will give extensive details of the accident. Perhaps if you contact them they may be able to advise you.
Debra, that's wonderful. I'm so grateful - Lawrie will be too. I'm assuming that the newspapers are Victorian. I've named searched him in the Age, the Herald, The Sun and, I think, the Argus in the year of his accident, but now I will go to Dec 1955.
I'm a bit of a novice in this area and am so glad threw myself on the mercy of this forum. What a fabulous resource!
all the best, Di