Discovering Tasmania in the Archives

Media release: Thursday, 13 February 2014

Permission to export Tasmanian tigers, false passports for former SS officers, early weather records and a destitute digger's wife are just some of the stories that have come to light in the National Archives' new research guide to Tasmanian records, launched today in Hobart.

Commonwealth Government Records about Tasmania by Michael Piggott was launched by David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives at the LINC Tasmania building in Murray Street.

'We are delighted that this guide provides another way of ensuring that our archives on Tasmania are accessible and easy to find,' said Mr Fricker. 'We enjoy a productive relationship with the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office, having shared premises with them since 2011. This is another step to providing the people of Tasmania with access to their own records.

'The National Archives' collection in Hobart dates back to the 19th century and includes detailed records of many colonial functions that were assumed by the Commonwealth following Federation. The author Michael Piggott has come up with a fresh perspective by delving into previously unexamined records. We certainly hope this guide will stimulate the use of new information to ensure future histories provide a comprehensive view of Tasmania's past.'

The guide explores the broad themes of Commonwealth-Tasmanian financial relations, disasters, the environment and lighthouses – including messages sent by carrier pigeon from early lighthouse keepers.

It also covers the people of Tasmania, with items on a selection of Tasmanian Aboriginal people, a range of series of interest to family historians and records on many well-known Tasmanians from Joseph and Enid Lyons to Peter Cundall and Bob Brown.

Commonwealth Government Records about Tasmania is available in hard copy from the National Archives shop or its online e-shop. It can also be downloaded free of charge at

NOTE: Author Michael Piggott is available for interview


Contact information

  • Ross Gibbs (Director, Tasmania State Office)
    m 0408 645 842 e
  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0417 247 157 e
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2018