Director appointed for Northern Territory Archives Centre

Media release: Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The National Archives of Australia and the Northern Territory Department of Arts and Museums have announced the first appointment of an ongoing Director for the joint Northern Territory Archives Centre in Darwin.

The two organisations joined forces in 2013 to provide a one-stop archival shop, co-locating the collections of the National Archives of Australia and the Northern Territory Archives Service on one site. As part of their co-location, the organisations agreed to jointly appoint a Director to oversee the centre.

As the successful candidate, Phyllis Williams will take up the ongoing role on 25 January 2016. Ms Williams has been working with the National Archives since 1996 and in the contract role of Director of the co-located Northern Territory Archives Centre since January 2013.

'I congratulate Phyllis and welcome her as an ongoing senior manager who has made a considerable and dynamic contribution to the life and work of the Northern Territory Archives Centre over the past three years,' said National Archives Acting Director-General Anne Lyons.

The National Archives recognises the significant benefits of its co-location agreement with the Northern Territory Archives Service.

'We continue to receive positive feedback on having the collections of both Commonwealth and Territory governments in one location,' said Ms Lyons. 'The benefits for researchers include a shared reference service where staff have knowledge of both collections and access to both collections in a single reading room. Phyllis Williams has played a key role in ensuring the smooth and successful co-location of the two organisations over the past three years.

Department of Arts and Museums, Chief Executive Hugo Leschen said he was extremely pleased that Phyllis would take on this vital role permanently.

'Phyllis' knowledge and broad expertise will continue to be of benefit to both the Northern Territory Archives Service and the National Archives of Australia,' Mr Leschen said.

'Phyllis is the only joint director of a co-located archive service in Australia and the fact the Centre runs so smoothly is a testament to her efforts and hard work.'

Since 2002 when she was first appointed as Director of the National Archives' Darwin office, Phyllis Williams has won wide respect in her various roles, which have included heading up the National Archives' Adelaide and Sydney state offices. In 2013, she successfully relocated the Northern Territory Archives Service, with its 5.5 shelf kilometres of archival collections, from central Darwin to the Northern Territory Archives Centre at Millner.

Ms Williams' strong liaison roles between archival services and Aboriginal organisations have also been widely recognised and respected. These roles have resulted in, among other achievements, a memorandum of understanding for access to Commonwealth records by Northern Territory Aboriginal people who have been affected by past removal policies. She was also involved in developing the National Archives' Uncommon Lives website on Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda in consultation with the Wirrpanda family.

As an Indigenous issues specialist and policy adviser, Ms Williams chairs the Aboriginal advisory groups for both the National Archives and the Northern Territory Archives Service. She continues her involvement with Northern Territory link-up organisations and stolen generations reference groups.

Ms Williams was awarded a Public Service Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2011 for 'outstanding public service in driving significant reforms to communications and service delivery in the National Archives of Australia, particularly in relation to Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory'.

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0417 247 157 e
  • Lucy Buhr (Northern Territory Department of Arts and Museums)
    t (08) 8999 4730 m 0437 915 366

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