Discovering South Australia in the Archives

Media release: Wednesday, 30 October 2013

An iceberg in the Great Australian Bight, camel teams building the Trans-Australian Railway; Boer War attestation forms for the South Australian contingent; the Torrens Island quarantine ship Cheopis; and Hans Heysen's 1899 naturalisation certificate are just some of the items mentioned in the National Archives' new research guide to South Australian records launched today in Adelaide.

Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia by National Archives historian Dr Sara King was launched by the Honourable John Bannon AO at the South Australian Archives Centre today.

'We are delighted that this guide provides another way of ensuring that our archives on South Australia are accessible and easy to find,' said National Archives Director-General David Fricker. 'We enjoy a productive relationship with the State Records of South Australia, sharing premises with them since 2011. This is another step to providing the people of South Australia with access to their own records.'

Terry Ryan, Director of the State Records of South Australia, welcomed the publication.

'This guide emphasises that the National Archives also holds many fascinating records that are relevant to South Australia,' he said. 'We're very happy to be working so closely with them, ensuring Commonwealth, State and local records are available in the one location.'

The guide points researchers to a wide range of items including security investigations, photographs of World War I enemy aliens, immigration records, building plans, information on the wine industry, railway records, the establishment of Woomera long-range weapons range, weather records, Maralinga identity cards, and copyright and patent records.

South Australian inventions mentioned in the guide include Smith's stump jump plough, created to avoid mallee roots on the Yorke Peninsula in 1876 and the Hills Hoist invented in 1945. Among the records of prominent South Australians are those of Daisy Bates, Kym Bonython, his father and grandfather, Don Bradman, Don Dunstan, Sir John Downer, Sir Howard Florey, Julia Gillard, Bob Hawke, David Unaipon and Sir Robert Helpmann.

Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia is available in hard copy from the South Australian Archives Centre and can also be downloaded free of charge at

NOTE: Author Sara King is available for interview.

Contact information

  • Nick Gleghorn (Manager, State Office South Australia)
    t (08) 8204 8814 m 0408 620 872
  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0427 853 664 e
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