The National Archives of Australia is continually expanding the range of records available to the public. Manhy Immigration records, for instance, are easily accessed through the NAA website at www.naa.gov.au. The user friendly search mechanism gives quick access to many Immigration, Alien Registration, Shipping and etc. that deal with the immigration process, The NAA site is an essential for any family historian.
World War One Records
The service records of 420,000 Australians who served in World War 1, for instance, are very interesting. They relate mainly to members of the First Australian Imperial Force (AIF) but also include depot or records for personnel who served in Australia. Below are three interesting cases.
Richard Lahood of Redfern
One interesting record relates to a Richard Lahood of Redfern. There is a full digital copy of his World War One service record on the site. He was a rope worker who gives his next of kin as being his mother (Nicholas Lahood, or did he mean his father?), and he lived at 189 Elizabeth Street Redfern. He was 21 years and 9 month old, 5 feet 5 inches tall of dark complexion.
He enlisted at Cleveland Street Redfern and was duly passed as being medically fit. He was vaccinated and received the service number N51754 and the rank of Private.
In the Attestation Paper to Enlist Abroad, (dated 29th December 1916) Lahood says he was born in the Parish of Mount Lebanon in the town of Syria. As to whether he was a naturalized or natural born British subject, he notes Natural Born. He signs himself “Dick Lahood” which might indicate a certain familiarity with Australian Society, however his understanding of written English may not have been perfect which may account for his confused answer to questions on his enlistment forms.
It was a short military career! He was discharged on direction of “D.H.Q”. on account of enemy origins. Written in red across the front page of his records are the words: Enemy Subject R.P.M. 5/1/17.
On the other hand John Mansour who lived with his brother at 12 Philip Street Redfern and described himself as a Dealer enlisted on 10th January 1916. He was 33 years old, dark complexion, 5 feet 3 ½ inches tall and he was described as a Catholic.
Mansour used much the same formula as Richard Lahood in his attestation papers by saying he was born in the town of Mount Lebanon Syria and he was a natural born British Subject. However authorities do not seem to have noticed this anomaly since he went on to serve in the battlefields of France as a Private in the 55th Infantry Battalion. He spent time in hospital in England with Influenza and was repatriated back to Australia in May 1917 suffering from Rheumatism.
The records disclose that in 1952 there was an enquiry about his citizenship in relation to payment of an aged pension. Apparently he claimed that he produced his naturalization certificate on enlistment in 1916. The internal memo indicates that he served with the First AIF, and was born in Mount Lebanon. However the vital lines about whether he produced naturalization certificate has been made indecipherable. The records do not seem to mention a naturalization certificate, or if an aged pension was awarded!
The military records of Sapper Aneese Jabour of the Second Australian Signal Company are also displayed online. He enlisted in Melbourne December 1915 and clearly states that though he was born in Mount Lebanon Syria he was a naturalized British Subject. He served in France and among other things was wounded by being gassed in a battle in 1918. He did not return to Australia until 1920; partly because he applied for and was granted leave to visit Lebanon on his way home.