There have been a range of security and intelligence agencies in Australia since Federation. The records they created, usually organised based on individuals or groups of interest, offer a wealth of information on ordinary Australians, Australian society, and the administrative history of the Australian Government.
Knowing where to start when researching the records of Australia’s security and intelligence agencies can be a difficult and daunting task. But once you understand what agencies existed at a particular time, and what their functions were, your task becomes much easier. You can then browse the records created by a particular agency, or during a particular period.
The interactive timeline is a useful starting point for research into Australia’s security and intelligence records. It shows, for instance, the expansion of agencies during World War II, as well as what became of the agencies and whether their functions were adopted by later agencies. Furthermore, it highlights those agencies that are still in existence today and which form part of the Australian Intelligence Community.
Further information on each of the agencies depicted on the timeline, including details of their roles, responsibilities, and the location of their records is available in the Guide to security and intelligence records in the National Archives.
In the Interest of National Security: Civilian Internment in Australia during World War II, by Klaus Neumann, National Archives of Australia, 2006.
Finding Families: The Guide to the National Archives of Australia for Genealogists
Australia in Focus: Photographs in the National Archives
Safe Haven: Records of the Jewish Experience in Australia
Chinese-Australian Journeys: Records on Travel, Migration and Settlement, 1860–1975
Allies, Enemies and Trading Partners: Records on Australia and the Japanese
Near Neighbours: Records on Australia’s relations with Indonesia
Collections in Perth: A Guide to Commonwealth Government records
Collections in Melbourne: A Guide to Commonwealth Government records
Jessie Street – human rights campaigner with a substantial ASIO file
Muslim Journeys – surprising stories of adventure and adversity of Australia's Muslim pioneers
Wolf Klaphake – German scientist and inventor who was interned in Australia during World War II