Other sources
Commonwealth agencies related to archives

Created: 17 April 2016


These are just agency notes copied verbatim from RecordSearch and listed in chronological order.

  • CA 323 – Commonwealth Archives Committee, 1946-1964
  • CA 780 – Archives Division, Commonwealth National Library, 1952-1961
  • CA 602 – Commonwealth Archives Office, 1961-1974
  • CA 1720 – Australian Archives, Central Office, 1974-1994
  • CA 7970 – Australian Archives, National Office, 1994-1998
  • CA 8550 – National Archives of Australia, Canberra Office, 1998-

CA 323

###Commonwealth Archives Committee

25 Jun 1946 - 31 Dec 1964 (ceased in 1958)

On 25 June 1946, the Prime Minister, Mr Chifley approved the
Scope of the War Archives Committee (CA 414) being expanded to
include the preservation of all Commonwealth records and not only
records relating to war. This followed the recognition that war
archives could not be separated from peace-time activities.

The name of the War Archives Committee (CA 414) was changed to the
Commonwealth Archives Committee and had the following functions and
membership:

Function
To study archival principles and practices and to submit
recommendations for the creation, when circumstances permit, of a
permanent archival system for the Commonwealth.
Pending the establishment of such system -
To advise the Government on general questions of collection and
preservation of records, for the collection or preservation of which
adequate steps are not being taken by a Commonwealth Authority. To
formulate proposals for the preservation of records and documents of
Commonwealth Departments, and to lay down broad principles to be
observed in respect thereto by Commonwealth Departments and
provisional archival authorities.

Membership
Chairman .. .. Dr. C. E. W. Bean
Members .. .. Lieutenant-Colonel J.L. Treloar, O.B.E., Director,
Australian War Memorial;
A. W. Bazley, Department of Immigration;
Gavin Long, General Editor, Official War History;
H. L. White, Librarian, National Library;
Kenneth Binns;
Paul Hasluck, War Historian;
H. S. Temby, Prime Minister’s Department;
J. F. V. Knight, Department of the Interior
Secretary …. A. J. Kennedy, Co-opted member.

In 1952 the Commonwealth Archives Committee was expanded and the
Secretariat was transferred to the National Library, the Chief
Officer to act as Executive Officer of the Committee.

The Commonwealth Archives Committee ceased to function after 1958,
however as it is listed in Commonwealth Government Directories until
1964, this has been taken as its cessation date.

Sources

  1. Federal Guide, 1947; p. 12
  2. Commonwealth Government Directory, 1964; p. 77
  3. Who’s Who in Australia, 1950; p. 75; 1965, p. 79
  4. Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1964
  5. Digest of Decisions and Announcements No. 116 / pp. 22, 23

Historical agency address
The National Library Annexe,
Parkes, ACT

CA 780

###Archives Division, Commonwealth National Library

01 Jan 1952 - 23 Mar 1961

Early in 1952, as a result of the expansion of staff to deal
largely with the transfer of Government departmental records and the
need to avoid duplicating the repositories, a conference between the
Public Service Board (CA 197), the Archival Committee (CA 323), and
Archival Authorities, decided to recommend to the Government that
there should be one Archival Authority and that the National Library
should assume archival responsiblity for all Commonwealth
departments.

The recommendations were approved but the Australian War Memorial
continued to be the custodian for the relics, diaries and other
written and pictorial records considered by the Archival Committee
and the Australian War Memorial to be directly concerned with the
operations of the fighting services.

Therefore, in 1952, the Commonwealth National Library (Department of
the Parliamentary Library CA 694) became the sole Archival Authority
for the Commonwealth, replacing the Australian War Memorial (CA 616)
and the Department of the Parliamentary Library (CA 694) as joint
Provisional Archival Authorities.

The Archives Division, Commonwealth National Library (CA 780), was
also known as the Archival Authority and was under control of the
Prime Minister’s Department (CA 12) although the Division was
situated within the Commonwealth National Library which was under the
control of Department of the Senate (CA 691) and Department of the
House of Representatives (CA 692). The Provisional Archival
Authorities were grouped together in the 1950 Federal Guide as one
administration under the Prime Minister’s Department (CA 12).

The Commonwealth Archives Committee was expanded in 1952 and the
Secretariat of the Committee was transferred to the National Library,
with the Chief Officer to act as Executive Officer of the Committee.
After 1958 the Commonwealth Archival Committee ceased to function.

In 1957 the Paton Committee of Inquiry into the National Library
recommended that the Archives Division of the National Library be
separated from the National Library. This was not endorsed until
Cabinet Decision 660 (HOC) of 1 March 1960 which approved that the
Archives office should become a separate agency of government. It
was put into effect when the National Library was established by the
National Library Act 1960 on 23 March 1961.

The Commonwealth Archives Office (CA 602) was transferred to the
Prime Minister’s Department and retained the same functions and
archival arrangements in respect of official records as formerly
administered by the Archival Division of the National Library.

Sources

  1. Federal Guide, 1944, 1947, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1957, 1958.
  2. Commonwealth Government Directory, 1961.
  3. Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1964, p 752.
  4. Digest of Decisions and Announcements, No 116, pp 22,
    23.
    Historical agency address
    Commonwealth National Library
    Annexe, Parkes ACT

CA 602

Commonwealth Archives Office

23 Mar 1961 - 07 Mar 1974

Prior to the 1940’s no formal arrangements existed for the
preservation of the vast majority of records other than patents
records, records relating to World War I which were held in the
Australian War Memorial and some important collections of papers held
by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library.

When World War II broke out the urgency of preserving historical and
other records from destruction by enemy attack, led the Australian
Institute of Librarians to choose Archives as the main topic for its
annual conference in 1940. The proceedings of this conference,
together with strong resolutions pressing the Commonwealth and State
Governments to take urgent steps, were sent to the Government and
widely published.
In 1942, following a further recommendation from the then National
Librarian, the Government decided that steps should be taken to
preserve the records of the war. The Prime Minister, John Curtin,
accordingly directed that an interdepartmental committee be formed
under the chairmanship of Dr. C.E.W. Bean, (Official War Historian
for World War I), to recommend and supervise steps for the
preservation of records.

The Committee started meeting in July 1942 and in December of that
year reported that “all records and documents bearing on the
political, economic and social life of Australia” were material to
the history of the war, and “all important documents and records”
should be preserved. It recommended that two institutions which
already carried out limited archival functions, the Australian War
Memorial and the National Library, should act as provisional archival
authorities for the Service and Civil departments respectively.
The Prime Minister approved the report and recommendations, and on 26
February 1943, circulated them to all federal departments together
with notes and short rules of procedure. The two provisional archival
authorities were to act as provisional repositories for their
respective departments, which could destroy records only on
permission of the proper Archival Authority. However Archives
Officers were to arrange with Departments, “schedules” of those which
could be disposed of without further authorisation.

Steps to appoint archives officers were initiated early in 1943,
candidates being sought in the fighting services. Eventually K.A.
Lodewyckx was appointed to the Australian War Memorial in July 1944
and Ian Maclean to the National Library in October of the same year.

At the end of the war the Committee recommended to the Prime
Minister, J.B. Chifley, that new authority be given to the Committee
and new instructions to the departments to preserve future peace-time
records as well as those of the war. This was authorized on 17 June
1946, the Committee’s name being changed to “Commonwealth Archives
Committee”. The membership of the Committee was also strengthened.
Up until 1949 the main emphasis had been on the preservation of
permanently valuable records. However, by the end of the Second World
War with the enormous increase in the volume of records government
departments were facing tremendous problems in housing their records.
In 1949 following the recommendations of the Hoover Commission in the
United States, the Commonwealth Public Service in association with
the Archival Authorities and departments systematically surveyed the
departmental records, reducing them and transferring a considerable
part to archival custody. To assist this programme, provisional
repositories were established in capital cities.

Early in 1952, as result of the expansion of staff to deal with this
and other work, and the need to avoid duplicating the repositories, a
conference between the Public Service Board, the Archives Committee
and Archival Authorities decided to recommend to the Government that
there should be one Archival Authority only and that therefore the
National Library should assume archival responsibility for all
Commonwealth departments. The recommendations were approved but the
Australian War Memorial under the provisions of the Australian War
Memorial Act, 1925-1952, continued to be the custodian for the
relics, diaries and other written and pictorial records considered by
the Archives Committee and the Australian War Memorial Board to be
directly concerned with the operations of the fighting services. The
Commonwealth Archives Committee was expanded and the Secretariat of
the Committee was transferred to the National Library, the Chief
Archives Officer to act as Executive Officer of the Committee.
However after 1958 the Commonwealth Archives Committee ceased to
function.

As early as 1957 the Paton Committee of Inquiry into the National
Library had recommended that the Archives Division of the National
Library be separated from the National Library. Nothing came of this
until a Cabinet Decision 660 (HOC) of 1 March 1960 approved that the
archives office become a separate agency of government. This came
into affect when the National Library was established by the National
Library Act, 1960 on the 23 March 1961. The Commonwealth Archives
Office, as it was then called (although referred to as the National
Archives in the Administrative Arrangements), was transferred to the
Prime Minister’s Department and retained the same functions and
archival arrangements in respect of official records as formerly
administered by the Archives Division of the Commonwealth National
Library. The position of Chief Archivist was created (E.C.11) and
appeared in the Commonwealth Gazette on 23 March 1961.

An inquiry was held into the Archives Office by the Interdepartmental
Committee on Commonwealth Archives from 1962 to 1964. They
investigated the problems arising from the administration of rules as
set out in the 1955 “Arrangements for the Management of Public
Records of the Commonwealth Government” but the report of the
Committee was never presented to the Minister.

On 12 March 1971 the Prime Minister’s Department was abolished and
the Department of the Vice-President of the Executive Council was
established (P.M. 12, Gazette No.28, 15 March 1971, p.1873) among
whose functions was included the control of the National Archives
(E.C. 10, P.M. 14, Gazette No. 28, 15 March 1971 p.1874). When the
name of the Department of Vice-President of the Executive Council
changed to that of the Department of the Environment, Aborigines and
the Arts (P.M. & C. 19, Gazette No. 56A, 31 May 1971, p. 3303A) the
matter of National Archives was transferred to this new department
(E.C. 23, P.M. 21, Gazette No. 56A, 31 May 1971 p.3303B). On 19
December 1972 the Department of the Environment, Aborigines and the
Arts was abolished and that of the Special Minister of State created
(PS.B. 47, Gazette No. 129A, 19 December 1972 p.1). The
Administrative Arrangements of the same day allocated the matter of
National Archives to this new department (E.C. 55, P.S.B. 48, Gazette
No. 131, 20 December 1972 p.1).

In a speech to the House of Representatives on 7 March 1974 the
Special Minister of State, the Hon. Lionel Bowen said, “ . . . it is
hoped during the session of parliament to introduce legislation to
establish within the Department of the Special Minister of State an
organisation to be known as the Australian Archives …“(National
Archives Commisssion - Ministerial Statement, 7 March 1974).

In an internal office circular (Administrative Instruction 1974/4 of
11 March 1974) it was stated: “Following the announcement in the
House of Representatives by the Minister on Thursday, 7 March, the
Office is now known as Australian Archives”. [see CA1720, Australian
Archives, Central Office, for further details]

Historical agency address
1961-1965: National Library Annexe,
Parkes ACT
1965-1974: King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT
1971-1974: 69 Leichhardt Street, Kingston ACT
Repositories:
1967-1974: Fyshwick ACT
1969-1974: Sub-Basement, Administrative Building, Parkes ACT
1971-1974: 71 Leichhardt Street, Kingston ACT
Legislation
administered
Cabinet Decision

CA 1720

Australian Archives, Central Office

07 Mar 1974 - 01 Jul 1994

On 7 March 1974 the Commonwealth Archives Office was renamed the
Australian Archives. The Australian Archives is a central service
agency responsible for the broad management of the total stock of
records of the Commonwealth Government.

In her speech at the opening of the second session of the Twenty
Eighth Parliament on 28 February 1974, Her Majesty the Queen made the
following announcement:

‘My Government will propose the establishment of statutory bodies
for the Australian Archives’.

On 7 March 1974 the Special Minister of State, the Honourable Lionel
Bowen MP made the following statement in the House of
Representatives:

‘For the information of honourable members, I presented the report
relating to the development of the National Archives commissioned
from Dr W Kaye Lamb, former Dominion Archivist of the Public Archives
of Canada. Having considered the recommendations made by Dr Lamb, the
Government has decided to upgrade and expand the operations of the
Archives Office so as to develop a greater public interest in the
wealth of historical material which forms part of our national
heritage. To this end it is hoped during the session of parliament to
introduce legislation to establish within the Department of the
Special Minister of State an organisation to be known as the
Australian Archives and to be headed by a Director-General.

The legislation will provide that the Australian Archives have as its
broad aim the development of a national archives system which, in co-
operation with the States and other organisations, will ensure the
preservation of archival resources which document the history of the
Australian nation and which are of national significance, research
value or of general public interest. It will also provide for
Australian Government agencies, advice and assistance for the
efficient administration of archives, provide and maintain the public
right of access in accordance with Government access policy, and
promote the utilisation of archival resources for informational,
research, education, cultural and other purposes.

The position of Director-General of the Australian Archives is soon
to be advertised and will be open to persons both within and outside
the Australian Public Service. The position will call for a person
with demonstrated capability in the establishment and administration
of a new organisation, including the promotional activity necessary
to present the Australian Archives as an organisation of interest and
benefit to all sections of the community. When the Director-General
has been appointed, a small task force will be set up under his
leadership to examine in detail a number of aspects of this new
initiative. Other members of the force will be a senior academic, a
State Archivist, and representatives of the Public Service Board, the
Department of the Special Minister of State and the Treasury. The
task force will consult with appropriate authorities and within 3
months of its appointment bring forward for Government consideration
specific proposals which will include the further development of the
building program for the national and regional repository/retrieval
centres, the assessment of the organisation and staff requirements
for these centres, a survey of the needs and interests of users,
review of salary levels for archivists and senior departmental
registry personnel in the light of the changing archival activities,
and a program for the recruitment and training of archivists. The aim
of all these measures is to create an Australian Archives of a level
comparable to that now provided by the National Library of Australia
in its own field. I present the following paper.’

National Archives Commission - Ministerial Statement, 7 March 1974.

In an internal office circular (Administrative Instruction 1974/4 of
11 March 1974) the Director, Mr J P Dunner, said ‘Following the
announcement in the House of Representatives by the Minister on
Thursday, 7 March, the Office is now to be known as Australian
Archives’.

The position of Director-General, Australian Archives, was first
advertised in the Australian Government Gazette on 28 March 1974, the
position remained unfilled and was re-advertised in the Australian
Government Gazette on 10 April 1975.

The first Director-General, Australian Archives, was appointed on 8
September 1975. He was Emeritus Professor R G Neale who served for
seven years until his retirement. He was replaced by Mr Brian Cox,
OBE, MVO, who took up the position of Director-General, Australian
Archives, on 6 March 1984 and remained there until 19 December 1989.
He was succeeded on 2 August 1990 by Mr George Nichols from the
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The need for a Commonwealth Archives Office was first recognised by
F M Bladen in 1903 when he urged the Government to establish the
office without delay.[1] It was not until 1942 when the Curtin
Government recognised the need to preserve war documents that an
archival authority was postulated with the establishment of the War
Archives Committee (CA 414). By 1944 the Commonwealth National
Library (Department of the Parliamentary Library, CA 694) and the
Australian War Memorial (CA 616) were appointed as War Archival
Authorities. In 1946 the War Archives Committee recognised that war
records could not be separated from the general records relating to
government function; the Committee expanded its terms of reference
and was called the Commonwealth Archives Committee (CA 323). In 1947
the War Archival Authorities became the Provisional Archival
Authorities for the Commonwealth of Australia. In 1952 the National
Library became the sole archival authority. On 23 March 1961 the
responsibility for matters relating to Commonwealth records was
separated from the Library whose former Archives Division (CA 780)
was reconstituted as a separate agency called the Commonwealth
Archives Office, (from 1972) Central Office (CA 602). This Office was
renamed the Australian Archives, Central Office (CA 1720) on 7 March
1974 when the Commonwealth Archives Office became the Australian
Archives.

The role of the Central Office of the Australian Archives was to
develop policy and guidelines and to set parameters within which all
operational activities required for the undertaking of the
organisation’s functions are carried out. The role of the regional
offices was to undertake all operational work within policy
guidelines and work plans approved by the Central Office.

The Central Office was located in Canberra and Regional Offices were
located in Canberra, Darwin and all state capitals. In addition, the
Queensland Regional Office had a North Queensland Operations Section
located in Townsville. Regional Offices comprised one or more Records
Services Sections, a Repository Services Section, an Administration
Section and in some cases a Conservation Section.

A central Management Board provided the major formal means of
planning, objective setting and monitoring, co-ordination and
communication throughout the organisation. This Board comprises the
Executive and all Central Office Section Heads.[2]

The Australian Archives was a central service agency responsible for
the broad management of the total stock of records of the
Commonwealth Government. In carrying out this basic function the
organisation:

(a) developed and provided policy advice to the Commonwealth
Government;

(b) undertook surveys of Commonwealth records, evaluated the value of
such records and authorised the destruction of records of temporary
value;

(c) provided storage services for records no longer required by
Commonwealth agencies for current administrative use;

(d) identified and physically preserved records of historical,
cultural or community value;

(e) regulated access to Commonwealth records in accordance with
current Government policy;

(f) provided retrieval and reference services to Commonwealth
agencies and to members of the public in respect of records in
custody;

(g) provided management and descriptive information on the existence,
nature and whereabouts of Commonwealth records and on the agencies,
past and present, responsible for them;

(h) provides advice to agencies and the public on records - related
issues; and

(i) provided personal archives services for persons or organisations
closely associated with the Commonwealth Government.

Sources

  1. Report on European Archives by Mr F M Bladen, Barrister-at-Law,
    Parliamentary Papers 1903, Volume II Session 1903 pp 993-997
  2. Commonwealth Government Directory, Volume 2 HO, October 1983

Historical agency address
1974-1976: 71 Leichhardt Street,
Kingston ACT
1976-1994: Mining Industry House, 216 Northbourne Avenue, Braddon
ACT

CA 7970

###Australian Archives, National Office

01 Jul 1994 - 27 Feb 1998

Australian Archives, National Office was created on 1 July 1994
following the amalgamation of the Central Office, located at Braddon,
and the ACT Regional Office, which was located at Mitchell. Both
locations continued to operate as the National Office, with a number
of Programs undergoing relocation as a result of the amalgamation.

The Australian Archives is a central service agency responsible for
the broad management of the total stock of records of the
Commonwealth Government. In carrying out this basic function the
organisation:

(a) develops and provides policy advice to the Commonwealth
Government;

(b) undertakes surveys of Commonwealth records, evaluates the value
of such records and authorises the destruction of records of
temporary value;

(c) provides storage services for records no longer required by
Commonwealth agencies for current administrative use;

(d) indentifies and physically preserves records of historical,
cultural or community value;

(e) regulates access to Commonwealth records in accordance with
current government policy;

(f) provides retrieval and reference services to Commonwealth
agencies and to members of the public in respect of records in
custody;

(g) provides management and descriptive information on the
existence, nature and whereabouts of Commonwealth records and
on the agencies, past and present, responsible for them;

(h) provides advice to agencies and the public on records related
issues; and

(i) provides personal and corporate archives services for persons
or organisations closely associated with the Commonwealth
Government.

The role of the National Office is to develop policy and guidelines
and to set parameters within which all operational activities
required for the undertaking of the organisation’s functions are
carried out. The National Office is also responsible for the
activities formerly carried out by the ACT Regional Office. This
includes operational work for:

. agencies located in Canberra;
. overseas posts of Departments such as Foreign Affairs and Trade,
and Immigration and Ethnic Affairs;
. people associated with the Commonwealth who choose to deposit
their personal records;
. records of Royal Commissions; and
. records of the Governor-General.

The National Office is located in Canberra and State/Territory
Offices are located in Darwin, and all state capitals. In addition,
the Queensland Office has a North Queensland Operations Section
located in Townsville. The role of State Offices is to undertake all
operational work within policy guidelines and work plans approved by
the National Office. State Offices comprise one or more Records
Services Sections, Repository Service Section, and Administrative
Section and in some cases a Conservation Section.

The current Director-General of the Australian Archives is Mr George
Nichols, who has been in the position since 2 August 1990.

The North Queensland operation at Townsville was closed on
31 December 1996 and functions transferred to the Queensland Office.

On 27 February 1998 the Australian Archives was renamed the National
Archives of Australia (CA 8550).

SOURCE

Media Release by Senator the Hon Richard Alston, Minister for
Communications, the Information Economy and the Arts dated 27
February 1998
Historical agency address
July 1994-Feb 1998 :
Mining Industry House, 216 Northbourne
Avenue, Braddon, ACT
: Cnr Flemington Road and Sandford Street,
Mitchell, ACT
Feb 1998-Mar 1998 : National Archives Building, Queen Victoria
Terrace, Parkes, ACT

CA 8550

National Archives of Australia, Canberra Office

27 Feb 1998 -

On 27 February 1998 the Minister for Communications, the
Information Economy and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, announced a
change of name for the Australian Archives to the National Archives
of Australia.

Senator Alston said that the new name better reflected the true
national role of the Archives, which has offices and repositories in
each State and Territory capital.

The National Archives is a central service agency responsible for the
broad management of the total stock of records of the Commonwealth
Government. In carrying out this basic function the organisation:

a) develops and provides policy advice to the Commonwealth
Government;

b) undertakes surveys of Commonwealth records, evaluates the value
of such records and authorises the destruction of records of
temporary value;

c) provides storage services for records no longer required by
Commonwealth agencies for current administrative use;

d) identifies and physically preserves records of historical,
cultural or community value;

e) regulates access to Commonwealth records in accordance with
current government policy;

f) provides retrieval and reference services to Commonwealth
agencies and to members of the public in respect of records in
custody;

g) provides management and descriptive information on the
existence, nature and whereabouts of Commonwealth records and
on the agencies, past and present, responsible for them;

h) provides advice to agencies and the public on records related
issues; and

i) provides personal and corporate archives services for persons
or organisations closely associated with the Commonwealth
Government.

The role of the National Archives is to develop policy and guidelines
and to set parameters within which all operational activities
required for the undertaking of the organisation’s functions are
carried out.

In the Administrative Arrangements Order of 3 December 2007, released
in the Commonwealth of Australia Special Gazette No S254, issued on
the 4 December, the Governor-General in Council, acting on the Prime
Minister’s recommendation under Section 64 of the Constitution,
abolished the Department of Communications, Information Technology
and the Arts (CA 8611). In the same Administrative Arrangments
Order, the matter of management of government records was transferred
to the Department of Finance and Deregulation (CA 9194), which was
created from the Department of Finance and Administration, renamed in
the same Administrative Arrangements Order.

The matter of management of government records was transferred to the
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in the Administrative
Arrangements Order of 1 May 2008, announced in the Commonwealth of
Australia Gazette (Special) No S 93

Directors-General
As at 27 February 1998 the Director-General was Mr George Nichols,
who was appointed to the position on 2 August 1990.

Successive Directors-General have been:
2000 – 2003 Anne-Marie Schwirtlich
2003 - Ross Gibbs

Historical agency address
Feb to Mar 1998 : Mining Industry House, 216 Northbourne Avenue,
Braddon, ACT
from Mar 1998 : National Archives Building, Queen Victoria Terrace,
Parkes, ACT

SOURCES

  1. Media Release by Senator the Hon Richard Alston, Minister for
    Communications, the Information Economy and the Arts, dated
    27 February 1998
  2. National Archives of Australia website, www.naa.gov.au, accessed
    on 16 July 2009

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