High Court archives on Memory of the World register

Media release: Thursday, 20 March 2008

This week, the archives of the High Court of Australia will be added to the Australian register for UNESCO's Memory of the World program.  Memory of the World is a register of significant heritage documents maintained by UNESCO.  It is the equivalent of the World Heritage List, which records sites of natural and built heritage significance.

The announcement will be made on Friday 22 February at the National Archives of Australia during the final session of UNESCO's third international Memory of the World conference, 'Communities and memories – a global perspective' in Canberra.

Ross Gibbs, Director-General of the National Archives, will be available for interview at 11.30am Friday 22 February in the National Archives galleries, Queen Victoria Terrace, Parkes, ACT.

The High Court archives date from 1903 to 2003 and are jointly held by the National Archives and the High Court of Australia. The archives include documents on significant cases such as the Mabo case, which recognised native title, the Tasmanian Dam case, which stopped the Tasmanian government from proceeding with the Franklin Dam, and the Communist Party case, which declared that the Menzies government's Communist Party Dissolution Act was invalid.  These cases are on display in the Memory of a Nation exhibition at the National Archives in Canberra.

'These Archives are a rich and authoritative source of original documents and include judges' notebooks, correspondence, reports, audio tapes, images and much more', said Ross Gibbs. 'They show a distinctive contribution to the development of a democracy which is uniquely Australian.'

'These records have a high degree of integrity', said Ross Gibbs, 'and are particularly significant to the deliberations and outcomes of the High Court and the continued development of the body of Common Law in Australia.'

Find out more about the landmark High Court cases online or by visiting the National Archives in Canberra. National Archives now has four sets of records listed on the Australian Memory of the World register.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017