About us

The National Archives of Australia holds the memory of our nation and keeps vital Australian Government records safe. We do this so everyone can access evidence of government decisions and actions, making them transparent and accountable.

Our records connect you with the stories and people that define our past, shape our future and help safeguard our democracy.

What we do

For all Australians

We collect Australian Government records, preserve them, manage them and make them public. You can access these records for professional research or personal interest, and you can do this online or through our research centres and exhibitions.

For government

We provide leadership and support to Australian Government employees working in information management. To do this, we set standards for digital transformation, information and data management and records security. We also actively contribute to developing global practice in this field.

What is an archive?

An archive is a place that holds facts, data and evidence from a variety of sources.

These sources include:

  • papers, reports, letters, notes and memos
  • photographs
  • films
  • audio recordings
  • digital files
  • other mediums

The National Archives safeguards the nation's memory. We collect, preserve and manage documents and other evidence that record important events in Australian history and make them available to the public, in accordance with the Archives Act, 1983.

Managing the collection

We save important Australian Government records as evidence.

As part of this we:

  • accept, choose, preserve, look after and provide access to valuable Australian Government archival records
  • seek, obtain and manage records that are related to Australia, that should be or need to be in our collection
  • care for, manage and make available for research exempt material with the Minister's and Department's approval

We pioneer best practice in our industry, so many records are now digital.

Learn more about managing the collection.

Preserving the collection

We preserve items in our collection so future Australians can access and learn from them.

To do this we:

  • provide quality long-term records storage
  • target and care for at-risk records

We also educate the community about how to preserve archival records that relate to Australia.

Learn more about preserving the collection.

Providing access to the collection

We give Australians access to original records we hold.

You may access these records for personal, professional or government research.

To encourage you to use the National Archives, we:

  • make Australian Government records available to researchers and the public
  • create and run events that promote and educate our stakeholders on how to use archival resources

Under the Act, you can access any of our records that are in the open access period unless they are exempt.

We examine all records before we release them to identify sensitive information that needs to be withheld.

You can either access the records online or visit one of our research centres in each capital city.

Learn more about accessing the collection.

Supplying digital copies of records

You can order digital copies of paper records in our collection database.

This service applies to records that are listed on RecordSearch and are paper files sized A3 or smaller available to the public.

Learn more about accessing digital copies.

Helping information managers in government agencies

We research and set best practice benchmarks for how to manage and preserve government information, data and records.

We then educate and enable information managers in Australian Government agencies to follow these best practices. They learn how to handle, manage and transfer important records to the National Archives and they also learn why doing so matters.

Learn more about information management.

Innovation and research

We innovate and respond to the ever-changing challenges of digital archiving. Through research we explore emerging practices and technologies to enable us to be a leading archive in the digital age.

Learn more about our innovation and research.