COVID-19 safety updates
Our New South Wales research centre is open to the public.
As a COVID-19 health and safety measure, the number of researchers allowed in the research centre at once is capped.
No time limits apply, but researchers will be asked to leave the research centre from 1:00 to 1:30 pm while we perform additional cleaning.
You need to request records in advance and book a time to visit. Please complete an advance request for records online and we will contact you to confirm your booking. You can also call us on 02 9782 4900 to make a booking and find out more about the health and safety measures we have in place.
If you are feeling unwell, please postpone your visit. We would love to see you when you are feeling better.
We appreciate your patience and support as we work through this together.
The collection in Sydney
The oldest document in the National Archives’ collection held in Sydney is a Deed of Title signed on 1 May 1804 by Governor Philip Gidley King. The deed allows the allotment of land in Pitts Row (now Pitt Street) to be transferred to Matthew Kearns for 14 years. This site later became the ‘Pitt Street Extension’ of the Sydney General Post Office.
Other highlights of the collection include:
- New South Wales post office records dating from the 1830s
- plans and drawings of post offices, customs houses, army and navy establishments
- plans and drawings of Government House, Sydney, dating from the 1860s, including original coloured drawings by the Colonial Architect James Barnet
- NSW colonial trademark records from the 1860s
- copyright records from the 1870s
- meteorological journals of the Government Observatory, Parramatta, from 1822 to 1836
- records of the Cockatoo Island dockyard from the 1860s
- records of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine from the 1930s
The NSW office also holds a wealth of audio-visual material, including:
- the ABC archive of radio and television. Dating back to 1905, the archive has such gems as Prime Minister Ben Chifley’s declaration of peace on 15 August 1945 and the opening night of ABC TV in 1956
- master materials from the Film Australia Library and Commonwealth Film Unit
- the Department of Defence collection from the Army, Royal Australian Air Force, Navy and Defence Science and Technology Organisation
- collections from the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority, the Antarctic Division and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
- collections of significant Commonwealth Persons including Harold Holt and Paul Keating
Research centre opening hours
10:00 am to 4:00 pm Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, closed public holidays.
To ensure records are available when you arrive, we recommend submitting an advance request to view records at least 5 working days before your visit. There may be delays for records with special preservation needs or during times of high demand.
We deliver records to the research centre twice a day on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Record requests made at the research centre must be submitted by 10:30 am (for delivery at 11:30 am) or 2 pm (for delivery at 3 pm). Requests made in the research centre are limited to 5 items per researcher per day.
Delays in retrieving records to the NSW Research Centre
Upgrade work on the service lift in our NSW office will begin 8 February and continue through to April 2021.
As a result, access to records in our NSW repository will be limited while this essential work is undertaken. During this time there may be delays with the retrieval of some records.
Please complete our advance request to view records form online and contact our NSW office on 02 9782 4900 for advice, and to check if records requested will be available when you visit our research centre, before you plan to visit.
Orders for digitisation of records located in the NSW office will also be affected by this maintenance work, resulting in some delays in completing orders during this time.
Entry to the National Archives is free.
Parking is available for visitors to the National Archives.
All public areas of the National Archives are wheelchair accessible.
A toilet with disabled facilities is on the ground floor near the research centre.
Visitors with recognised assistance animals, including guide and hearing dogs, are welcome.
The nearest railway station is Chester Hill, 15–20 minutes walk away. Trains travel to and from Chester Hill every 30 minutes via the Inner West and Bankstown lines.
Transport NSW operates bus routes from Chester Hill railway station, stopping at the corner of Campbell Hill and Curtis Roads, 5–10 minutes walk to the National Archives office.
There is a taxi rank at the Chester Hill railway station. Premier Cabs 131 017 can be used to book taxis from the National Archives for return journeys.
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