New home for John Howard collection at UNSW

Media release: Thursday, 20 March 2014

UNSW Australia will house the papers of former Prime Minister John Howard, who today announced the transfer of his collection to the University through a unique partnership with the National Archives of Australia.

The collection, currently held at the National Archives, comprises more than 10,000 items of personal papers and Commonwealth records from the early years of John Howard's political career through to his time as Treasurer, Leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister, covering the period from 1974 to 2007.

"This is a great arrangement and I am enthusiastic about its potential. I especially welcome the initiative of the University of New South Wales," Mr Howard said.

"Given that defence and related matters bulk large during my time as Prime Minister, it is appropriate that UNSW Canberra, at the Australian Defence Force Academy, should be the place for my papers."

UNSW Vice-Chancellor Professor Fred Hilmer said: “UNSW is delighted to be the custodian of such an important archive.

"With its expertise in Australian political and military history, the UNSW Canberra campus is a natural home for the John Howard Collection. We hope to build on this important resource, which will provide a unique perspective on a critical period in Australia's history," Professor Hilmer said.

The collection will be publicly available online and in the newly created John Howard Reading Room, to be opened later in the year in the UNSW Canberra Library.

The transfer was made possible through a new partnership – the first of its kind – between the National Archives of Australia and UNSW.

"The National Archives is pleased to be partnering with UNSW to implement this new and exciting model that will ensure former Prime Minister Howard's records remain part of the national archival collection," said the Director-General of the National Archives of Australia, David Fricker.

UNSW will receive the first tranche of material by May 2014, which will include records from the period 1974 to 1996. The remainder of the collection will be transferred to UNSW progressively as the records become available for public access.

UNSW Canberra Rector Professor Michael Frater said: “It is a significant acquisition for UNSW Canberra at ADFA because of John Howard's involvement in military deployments. Prime Minister Howard oversaw the biggest deployment of troops since the Vietnam War.

"We feel very honoured to be the new home for these records, which will inform and enrich our work," Professor Frater said.

The National Archives' Mr Fricker said: "This partnership will deliver enhanced access and opportunities for use of the records by researchers and the Australian community. They will be available to everyone."

More information: Details of the collection can be found in the ADFA John Howard Collection Fact Sheet.

Contact information

  • Natalia Lomarova (UNSW Canberra)
    t (02) 6268 8760 m 0468 989 181 e publicrelations@adfa.edu.au
  • Denise Knight (UNSW Media Office)
    m 0405 207 685 e d.knight@unsw.edu.au
  • Shaun Rohrlach (Director, Strategic Communications and Access Programs)
    t (02) 6212 3990 m 0434 664 621 e shaun.rohrlach@naa.gov.au
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2014