Vital role of National Archives during global health crisis

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

This is an extraordinary time, during which the role of the National Archives of Australia as a source of trusted information for all is coming to the fore.

As we negotiate our way through this historic global crisis, our documentary and cultural heritage held by archives and other memory institutions here in Australia and globally, is proving to be invaluable. We are turning to this documentary record as we look for information on how governments and the public overcame past crises – drawing on the decisions of the past, to inform the actions of today.

David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives, said, ‘As custodian of robust and authentic records relating to, for example, previous public health programs or government initiatives to keep the economy moving forward, archives are crucial. This is especially so given the misinformation and fake news permeating the narrative surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.’

The National Archives continues to fulfil this role despite closing its public spaces across the country, and cancelling all events and programs until further notice. ‘Our vast online catalogue, RecordSearch, contains millions of pages of digitised content from the national archival collection – this is available free of charge to all. Members of the public can request analogue records be digitised and added to RecordSearch.

‘We are also available online to support the public with their research queries. Crucially, the National Archives is ready to help any Australian who needs certified copies of documents from the collection related to them, to support a claim for government payments or other assistance.’

To keep Australians remaining at home connected to each other, and to their documentary heritage, the National Archives has developed the #ArchivesAtHome Toolkit. This online toolkit comprises collection highlights shared daily on the National Archives’ social media channels, virtual exhibitions, kids activities, tips for amateur genealogists and information on how to safely preserve precious family documents, photos and videos.

‘We will continue to add new initiatives to the toolkit, including virtual exhibition tours, live online presentations, creative projects and competitions, and insightful essays,’ said Mr Fricker. ‘We deeply value the generosity and support of our community during this crisis, and while we are to remain physically distant, the National Archives is firmly dedicated to playing its part in keeping all Australians socially connected now and into the future.’

Available for interview

David Fricker, Director-General National Archives of Australia

Contact information

Assistant Director Communications and Marketing 
Phone: 0414 707 373

FacebookTwitterInstagram @naagovau