Time capsule of Aussie life from the 2011 Census

Media release: Monday, 17 December 2012

With more Australians now choosing to have their Census responses saved for future generations, the National Archives has taken custody of the 2011 Census data which individuals have elected to preserve. The information will be held securely for 99 years, and will then be released for public access. 

'We have now received this information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on microfilm and feel privileged to be able to hold it in trust for the nation,' said David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives. 

The 2011 Census was only the third opportunity for Australians to elect preservation of their responses for posterity. 

'The information contained in the Census records will provide a rich social history for our descendants in 99 years,' said Mr Fricker. 

'The National Archives is proud of its key role in securely preserving our nation's history and also ensuring the Australians of the future will have access to a collection that enables them to understand their heritage and democracy.

'In the 2011 Census, 60.6 per cent of respondents elected to have their name identified Census information archived for the future. This was up from 56.1 per cent in 2006 and 52.7 per cent in 2001, the year in which it was first offered. 

With the National Archives having received the final microfilm of elected records from the 2011 Census, the ABS has now destroyed all name-identified information, including computer records and paper forms. 

The information preserved in the National Archives will be available to the public and to researchers in the year 2110.

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0427 853 664 e elizabeth.masters@naa.gov.au
  • Shaun Rohrlach (Director, Communications and Programs)
    t (02) 6212 3990 m 0434 664 621 e shaun.rohrlach@naa.gov.au
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