Archives celebrates shared services in Adelaide on feast day of St Lawrence, patron saint of archivists

Media release: Friday, 10 August 2012

Adelaide's family historians and other researchers have embraced the idea of a one-stop-shop where they can delve into national and state records of interest.

The National Archives of Australia's Adelaide office is celebrating the first year of shared facilities with the State Records of South Australia at the South Australian Archives Centre in Leigh Street, Adelaide. They have chosen the feast day of St Lawrence, the patron saint of archivists, for the occasion.

Former premier of South Australia, the Hon Dr John Bannon AO, is now Chairman of the Advisory Council of the National Archives of Australia.  In marking the occasion, Dr Bannon praised the new centre as providing a much valued service for local researchers.

'It is a matter of pride to me that my advocacy contributed to the decision to keep the Adelaide office of the National Archives open,' he said. 'Now, I am delighted to see a collaborative shared service in place for the benefit of researchers, societies, historians and the general public.

'I can confirm from my personal experience that the integration of the National Archives and State Records of South Australia has worked very well.  Researchers can now examine State and Commonwealth records in the one location, improving services for the public but also in the management of the collections.'

Director-General David Fricker said the National Archives of Australia continued its commitment to providing face-to-face services in all capital cities. Adelaide was the second city where Commonwealth and State archives had agreed to share facilities.

'It is a fundamental principle of any democratic society that citizens can gain access to information,' said Mr Fricker. 'This contributes to government accountability, provides evidence of citizens' entitlements and enables family and local historians to discover their heritage.'

Mr Fricker also announced that the National Archives of Australia would extend its reading room hours in Adelaide from 2 October 2012.

'This will synchronise operating hours with State Records of South Australia, a further significant step towards a seamless coordinated service.'

The National Archives' collection in Adelaide ranges from nineteenth century colonial records to substantial holdings on immigration and defence in the twentieth century.

'Of particular interest are the Defence Science and Technology Organisation records which include files, slides and plans of the Woomera testing site,' said Mr Fricker. 'This collection also includes the human side of the missile testing in South Australia with the Gibber Gabber newsletter, and Bulldust news sheet produced by staff involved in atomic bomb testing.

'This joint research room has enabled researchers to request and view the rich collections of both the National Archives of Australia and the State Records of South Australia.'

Many items from the National Archives' collection can also be viewed online at naa.gov.au.

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