The National Archives of Australia is a part of Australian Government Agencies that has dedicated itself to serving the country’s National Archives. Formerly known as the Commonwealth Archives office and Australian Archives, the National archives of Australia collects vital Commonwealth government records to preserve them.
The sole purpose of the National archives of Australia is to encourage the general public to gain access to valuable government records. Accordingly, the National archives of Australia promote the use of its forms by organizing exhibitions, publishing books, and educational programs.
The National Archives of Australia is a part of Australian Government Agencies that has dedicated itself to serving the country’s National Archives. Formerly known as the Commonwealth Archives office and Australian Archives, the National Archives of Australia collects vital Commonwealth government records to preserve them.
The sole purpose of the National archives of Australia is to encourage the general public to gain access to valuable government records. Accordingly, the National archives of Australia promote the use of its forms by the following methods:
The National Archives of Australia
The Main Role
Described as a “Memory of the Nation,” the National Archives plays the role of a preserver of essential records. By involving a comprehensive collection process of data and documents that specifically reflect the identity of Australia, the National archives seek to preserve the Nation’s history.
Visitors to the National archives of Australia are encouraged either online or in-person to explore the vast collection that traces events and decisions that have built the Nation and lives of the Australian people.
Another vital role that the National Archives of Australia play are to help the Australian Government and its departments be effective and accountable to its people.
The Archives Act of 1983
Under the Archives Act of 1983, the Australian government records can be available to the public. The Act governs all access to government records about the commonwealth.
To fulfill an essential aspect of preserving Australia’s valuable government records and encourage their use, the National Archives of Australia ensures that all Australians have easy access to the archives.
The Archives Act of 1983 regulates that all government agencies in Australia have an excellent record management system.
Citizens of Australia are encouraged to interact with government departments to fulfill the need to preserve their history for future generations. Through this process, the National archives of Australia help family historians, academics, and other researchers gain a wealth of information.
By encouraging government agencies to have authentic record management, the National archives of Australia render invaluable support to Australia’s cultural heritage of the country, the rights of the citizens, and informed decision-making.
The National Office of Archives in Canberra
The National Archives of Australia is not the same as it is today. It was created as a part of the National Library of Australia or the Commonwealth National library, resulting in an independent agency in 1963.
The East Block building was constructed in 1926 and is in the parliamentary triangle next to the Provisional Parliament House.
The East Block had many government offices, such as the Post Office of Canberra and the Telephone department. The National archives of Australia formally inaugurated its National Archives Preservation Facility in Canberra on 9th June 2017. It was a separate office and was different from the galleries and the room designated for reading. The National Archives have an office in every capital city of Australia.
The National Archives Collection of Australia
The National archival collection has more than 35 million items that pertain to the records belonging to Australia’s Government.
The most popular records among the public are the ones that specifically relate to the department of defense and documents related to immigration. These are important to trace the family background and its history.
The public cannot access some Archives repositories. However, you can view them digitally after a special request. As these are twenty-five-year-old records, the documents can be seen on request.
Some of the noteworthy collections found at the National Archives of Australia are:
- The founding documents, such as the Royal Commission of Assent to the Commonwealth of Australia, The Constitution, and all the records of the colonies that created the Commonwealth of Australia
- The service records of the World Wars – Some are digitized too and can be viewed online at “Discovering Anzacs.”
- The Drawings of Griffin – The Prizing winning entry of the Design Competition to design Australia’s Federal Capital.
- Jack Mildenhall’s Canberra images taken in the early 20th century- Photographs taken using a special glass plate negative.
- Immigration Photographs
- All copyright registrations.
Topics To Explore at the Archives
The National Archives of Australia has access to some of the most significant and crucial Australian government records to understand the Nation’s past, present, and future.
The forty million collection traces events relating to military service, immigration, first Australians, and much more. You can start looking for any topic online by clicking “Go to RecordSearch.”
Some of the most popular topics that are generally researched at the National archives of Australia are as follows:
1.The immigration and citizenship
National Archives Collection has over a thousand records documenting Australia’s migrant history. To know more about a family’s migration details to Australia, one can research the topic “Immigration and Citizenship.” It covers the following:
- Passenger Arrival Records – This collection traces events relating to ship and aircraft arrival records. These help you understand how people migrated in and out of Australia.
- Immigration Restriction Act 1901 – This was famously known as the White Australia Policy. It restricted or limited non-white immigration from 1901 to the 1960s. The Act ceased to exist in the early 1970s.
- Wartime Internment Camps – The Australian Government set up internment camps during World I and II to shelter prisoners of war and enemy aliens.
- Citizenship Records – The National Archives has citizenship records from 1904 onwards.
- Migrant Accommodation Camps – The camps were known as training centers and helped migrants learn the English language and look for employment.
- Alien Registration Records – All documentation about non-British immigrants are recorded here.
2. Defense and War Service Records
Over 1.5 million WWI and WWII service records are in the National archives of Australia. To learn more about a family’s war history, to do academic research, or commemorate ex-service members, the collection of war service records would be the one to give helpful insight on the subject.
You can research the following:
- War Service – Learn about a person’s war service to the Nation.
- Conflicts – The Archival Collection records every conflict from the Boer War to Vietnam.
- Discovering Anzacs -Government records relating to Australians and New Zealanders in World War 1 and II
- The entire collection of WWI and II Australian servicemen and women. Some of the most intriguing stories can be found on these pages.
- Royal Australian Navy Ship and Crew.
- Royal Australian Airforce records since its establishment in the year 1921.
3. First Australians
National Archives of Australia has an immense collection of records about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
All records about individual indigenous people and the Australian government policies on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be available under this heading.
4. Australia’s Prime Ministers
The official records of each Prime Minister’s period in office are available for public access at the National Archives of Australia. The records will also have records of their personal lives.
5. Intelligence and Security
All official information relating to Australia’s security services. One can analyze the shadowy world of intelligence and espionage. You can research on:
- Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO).
- History of Australian Intelligence and Security.
The National Archives will provide insight into the issues and decisions taken by the Government over the past several years. The Prime Minister and senior government ministers make up the Australian Cabinet. It includes:
- Latest Cabinet Release – All decisions taken by Prime Minister John Howard’s second and third terms will have their place here.
- Cabinet notebooks – Notebooks of senior public servants can be found in the National Archives.
Australia is a great place to complete higher education. Many students would be glad to know that there are great higher education loan programs. The critical role of the National archives is to promote archival research in Australia. The Archives has awarded the following research grants:
Ian Maclean Award- For professionals and archivists interested in archival issues.
Frederick Watson Fellowship – Given to established scholars.
Margaret George Award – Given to Talented and emerging scholars.
The National Archives of Australia has an active program that includes touring exhibitions, learning, and outreach programs. The agency continues to be of great help to the Australian Government. It helps to improve data creation, collection, management, and use. The Australian Government, in turn, can protect and serve the people of Australia with the outstanding support of the National Archives of Australia.