Learning about Australia in World War II
Start with our extensive section on the experiences of Australians in World War II. We’ve also covered Australians and the Vietnam War.
Then enrich your lesson plans with historically accurate information and excellent primary sources in our free teaching resources.
Our education specialists and historians have prepared these materials to present the stories and images of people who have served Australia in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
You can download free books and classroom activities from our website. Hard copies of many of our books and resources might be available in your school library. If not, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post you a free hard copy if we have it stock.
Information for secondary school teachers and activities for students.
- Shifting Tides: Australia and the Pacific in the Second World War
- Kokoda: Exploring the Second World War Campaign in Papua New Guinea
- Indigenous Service: A Resource for Secondary Schools
- Stories of Indigenous Service
- Generations of Service: The Lovett Family Digibook
- Australian Prisoners of War
- Australian Women in War: Service, Courage and Care
Great Debates classroom activity
- Great Debates: Anzac Legend
- Great Debates: Australian Women in the Second World War
- Great Debates: Australian media and the Vietnam War
Stories of Service short videos
Narrated biographies of people who served in World War I, in under 8 minutes.
- Damien Parer: Stories of Service
- Ellen Savage: Stories of Service
- Gordon Wallace: Stories of Service
- Nancy Wake: Stories of Service
- Reginald Saunders: Stories of Service
- Weary Dunlop: Stories of Service
Narrated stories of people who served in the Vietnam War.
- Alastair Bridges: Stories of Service
- Bill Coolburra: Stories of Service
- Dorothy Drain: Stories of Service
- The Fab Four Nurses: Stories of Service
- Thomas Henry 'Buddy' Lea: Stories of Service
- Tony Ey: Stories of Service
Short documentaries and oral histories
- Fall of Singapore (film)
- Rats of Tobruk (film)
- Veterans' Stories (interviews)
- Recording oral histories with veterans
- Reflections: Capturing Veterans' Stories
- Researching Australians at war
- Australians at War Film Archive
Australians in World War II book series
- Bomber Command
- Bomber Command: Educational Activities
- Greece and Crete
- Greece and Crete: Educational Activities
- North ;Africa & Syria
- North Africa and Syria: Educational Activities
- Royal Australian Navy in the Atlantic and Mediterranean
- United Kingdom
Australians in the Pacific book series
- Australia’s Home Defence 1939-1945
- Royal Australian Navy 1939-1945
- Japanese Advance 1941-1942
- Australian Prisoners of War 1941-1945
- Burma and India 1941-1945
- Royal Australian Air Force 1941-1945
- New Britain 1941-1945
- Battle of the Beachheads 1942-1943
- Borneo 1942-1945
- Bougainville 1942-1945
- Kokoda 1942
- Milne Bay 1942
- Wau-Salamaua 1942
- Huon Peninsula 1943-1944
- The Markham and Ramu Valleys 1943-1944
- Aitape-Wewak 1944-1945
- Victory in the Pacific 1945
Paths to Victory podcast
Join our social historian to explore some of the many paths our veterans took through the Second World War on the road to Victory in the Pacific.
- Europe First: Episode 1 of Paths to Victory podcast series
- War in the Pacific: Episode 2 of Paths to Victory podcast series
- Women’s Services: Episode 3 of Paths to Victory podcast series
- Victory: Episode 4 of Paths to Victory podcast series
Learn more about artists capturing the wartime experiences of Australians.
Incident In Which Flight Sergeant Rawdon Middleton [VC] Lost His Life
Painted during World War II by British artist David Smith, depicting an Australian pilot, Rawdon Hume 'Ron' Hume.
Wounded Gunner from Lae
Painted during World War II by Australian artist Roy Hodgkinson, depicting Australian aircrew helping a wounded gunner from his aircraft.
Two working men, Konyu River Camp
Sketched during World War II by British artist, soldier and prisoner of war Jack Bridger Chalker, depicting allied prisoners of war.
The Japanese guard takes a ride
Painted during World War II by Australian artist and prisoner of war Vaughan Murray Griffin, depicting Australians pulling a heavy cart.
Long Tan action, Vietnam
Painted during the Vietnam War by Australian artist Bruce Fletcher, depicting a battle in a rubber plantation.
Century of Service series
In the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, there are 15 stained-glass windows. Each shows a figure dressed in military uniform, and under each figure is a word that describes a quality displayed by Australians during wartime. This series of books was inspired by those qualities. Most of the books include information about World War II.
- Ancestry—Stories of multicultural Anzacs
- Audacity—Stories of heroic Australians in wartime
- Candour—Stories in the words of those who served 1914—18
- Comradeship—Stories of friendship and recreation in wartime
- Control—Stories of Australian peacekeeping and humanitarian operations
- Curiosity—Stories of those who report during wartime
- Devotion—Stories of Australia's Wartime Nurses
- Decision—Stories of Leadership in the Services
- Endurance—Stories of Australians in wartime captivity
- Patriotism—Stories from the Australian home front during the Second World War
- Resource—Stories of innovation in wartime
- Independence—Stories of the Australian Navy
Indigenous Service workbooks
Five ready-to-use workbooks introduce students to the military service of First Nations people. You could ask students to complete parts of each workbook in class or as home learning.
- Indigenous Service Commemoration through Poetry workbook
- Indigenous Service Artwork Analysis workbook
- Indigenous Service First World War workbook
- Indigenous Service Second World War workbook
- Indigenous Women Second World War workbook
Other great resources for Year 10 History classes
- Australian Women in War
- Australian Women and War
- Bitter Fate: Australians in Malaya & Singapore
- Coming Home: An investigation of the Armistice and Repatriation
- Forever Yours
- We'll Meet Again
- Australia and the Vietnam War
- Keeping the Peace: Investigating Australia's contribution to peacekeeping
- Out in the Cold: Australia's Involvement in the Korean War 1950-53
Commemoration in schools
Planning a activity in your school or local community? Follow our guidance on planning a commemorative event.
- Anzac Day Kitbag printable resources
- Remembrance Day Kitbag printable resources
- We Remember Anzac: A Resource for Secondary Schools teaching resource