Transferring records to the Archives

When records of archival value are no longer being actively used, Australian Government agencies can arrange to transfer them into the custody of the National Archives of Australia. To ensure the preservation of archival value records and to allow the Archives to prepare records for public access, section 27 of the Archives Act 1983 requires Australian government agencies to transfer records to the Archives within 15 years of their creation.

Overview of the process

  1. Identify the records for transfer
  2. Contact us
  3. Submit a Transfer Proposal Pack
  4. List, barcode and box the records
  5. Send the records to us

Identify the records for transfer

The National Archives accepts records that have been sentenced under an authorised records authority as 'retain as national archives' (RNA) and which are no longer used on a regular basis. If you need advice about sentencing or are ready to transfer RNA records to the Archives please contact us for advice or so we can visit to assist you with the transfer.

The National Archives will visit you to assess the transfer

During the visit, we will confirm the archival value of the records and determine how best to manage the records once they are in the Archives' custody. We will consider:

  • storage needs
  • ongoing preservation and public accessibility requirements, and
  • how often your agency will need to refer to the records to fulfill business requirements once they are in the Archives' custody.

We will also discuss the documentation that is required to transfer records to the Archives.

Complete and submit the Transfer Proposal Pack

To assist the Archives manage and provide access to the records in accordance with the Archives Act 1983, we ask agencies to provide information about the records being transferred. The Transfer Proposal Pack which agencies complete captures the required information. Guidelines are available to help you complete the pack and the Archives will discuss requirements with you during the agency visit.

The Transfer Proposal Pack contains the following forms:

Prepare the records

To prepare the records for transfer, please ensure that the records:

  • belong to the same series
  • have the same protective marking (Security Classification; Dissemination Limiting Markers; and/or caveats)
  • are in control symbol (file number) order.

Records transferred to the Archives are to be packed in archival quality boxes. Each record and each box should be barcoded with box and item barcodes supplied by the Archives.

The Archives accepts the transfer of digital records on portable media, such as optical disk (CD or DVD), flash drives or portable hard drives. We will discuss requirements with you during our visit to your agency.

The ideal format to send digital records to the Archives is a tab delimited .txt file; however any excel friendly format such as .xls or .csv is acceptable.

Send the records to the National Archives

Once your agency's transfer proposal is approved by the Archives and the records have been prepared, you can transport them to the Archives' custody according to an agreed timetable. If the records are classified, they will need to be handled and transported in accordance with the Australian Government Protective Security Framework.

The location in which the Archives will store the records will depend on the nature of the records. The Archives will confirm the storage location with your agency.

Keeping in contact

Transferring records to the National Archives is a joint project. Please contact us at any time regarding the prospective or current transfer of records.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2014