Records Authority 2014/00265577

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Islington Plan Room records - transfer of ownership of South Australian railway records


This is an accurate reproduction of the authorised records authority content, created for accessibility purposes.


This authority gives the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department) permission under the Archives Act 1983 to transfer the ownership of specified railways related records to the Government of South Australia. The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) is the South Australian State Government Department responsible for railways in South Australia.

The National Archives has agreed to this transfer because:

  • the records predominantly document, over an extended period, railway infrastructure that exists (or did exist) within South Australia;
  • the records are significant to South Australia;
  • it will keep original records in South Australia, accessible to the key industry and government stakeholders and the main users of the records;
  • DPTI's records are subject to the South Australian State Records Act 1997;
  • State Records of South Australia (SRSA) already holds many related records; and
  • SRSA welcomes the transfer of ownership as the records will complement and supplement previous transfers of railway records from the Commonwealth to the South Australian State Government.


The records known as ‘the Islington Plan Room’ records comprise approximately 200,000 plans and drawings and associated records formerly owned by the Australian National Railways Commission. The records were housed within the Genesee & Wyoming (G&W) Islington Workshop complex at Kilburn, South Australia. In 2011, the National Archives issued Records Authority 2011/00553971 allowing the transfer of custody of the records to the Government of South Australia and in 2012 the records were relocated to the premises of State Records of South Australia for sorting and listing in anticipation of a transfer of ownership of records of significance to South Australia.

Records of significance to the history of South Australian railways have been identified in a draft South Australian records disposal schedule (RDS2014/06) which covers approximately 75% of the plan room records. The remaining records are excluded from the transfer.

The records date from the 1850s to 1997 and include material created by former South Australian railway authorities, Commonwealth Railways and the Australian National Railways Commission (later Australian National). The Australian National Railways Commission was established by the Australian Government in 1975, incorporating the Commonwealth Railways, the Tasmanian Government Railways and the non-urban railways of South Australia.

The plans and drawings were moved to Islington from the Adelaide Railway Station in the late 1970s. Prior to the sale of Australian National in 1997, plans from the former Commonwealth railway workshops at Port Augusta, South Australia, various Mechanical Division plan rooms and the ANR Head Office at Keswick, Adelaide, were relocated to Islington, together with any relevant control records. Since that time, other collections that came to light were deposited at the Plan Room.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development inherited the records when Australian National was privatised in 1997.


1. The records to be transferred are identified in the appended State Records of South Australian Records Disposal Schedule 2014/06. This schedule was agreed in principle by the South Australian State Records Council in April 2014, and will be finalised on the issue of this Records Authority; and

2. The Department should ensure that the conditions specified below are carried out in agreement with DPTI and or SRSA. 

Records transferred under this Authority:

  • are not to be destroyed, altered (except for their ultimate preservation), or otherwise disposed of without the written approval of the Department and the National Archives of Australia;
  • are to be stored and handled in a manner that will promote their preservation;
  • are to be stored and handled in a manner that will promote continuing fair and equitable access to them by all;
  • are to be made available for public access no later than when they reach the ‘open access period’, as defined in the Archives Act 1983 of the Commonwealth, unless there is a specific need for specific exemption for a longer period; and
  • may be viewed by representatives of the Department, or be copied by or for the Department, by arrangement with the SRSA and or DPTI, subject to any fees or charges determined the Department in consultation with SRSA and/or the DPTI.

Contact Information

For assistance with this authority or for advice on other records management matters, please contact National Archives' Agency Service Centre.

Queen Victoria Terrace
Parkes ACT 2600

PO Box 7425
Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610



Person to whom notice of authorisation is given:

Mr Mike Mrdak
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
111 Alinga Street
Canberra City ACT 2601


Authorises arrangements for the transfer of ownership of records in accordance with section 24(2)(b) of the Archives Act 1983.


Islington Plan Room records.

This authority gives permission for the transfer of ownership of the records described. This authority will apply only with the consent of the agency currently responsible for the business documented in the records described.

Authorised by:

David Fricker
National Archives of Australia

4 July 2014


Islington Plan Room Records

Class no Description of records Disposal action

Those Commonwealth records that:

(i) are part of the collection known as the Islington Plan Room records;

(ii) were used in connection with the development, administration or operation of railways in South Australia or otherwise relate to the history of railways in South Australia; and

(iii) are identified in the appended State Records of South Australia Records Disposal Schedule 2014/06.

For the purposes of this class, 'South Australia' includes the former Colony of South Australia.

Transfer ownership to the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure of the Government of South Australia, subject to the Conditions.
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2018