Closed access

Overview

Under the Australian Archives Act 1983 most Commonwealth records are opened to public scrutiny after twenty years (this was reduced from thirty years in 2010). But the Act also defines ‘exempt’ records that can be withheld from the public for a variety of reasons, including the defence of national security, and the protection of individual privacy. Access under the Act is not an inevitable destination, but a process that may result in records with the access status of ‘closed’.

Here you can explore these closed files. Why can't we look at them? How old are they? What are we really being protected against?

14370

closed files

on 1 January 2016
28

reasons

why these files have been closed
58

years

is the average age of these files
based on their date of their earliest content
1128

series

contain closed files

BE WARNED! This is a work in progress. It's part of an ongoing research project by Tim Sherratt (@wragge). As a result, this interface is likely to change. That said, pretty much everything should work, so feel free to poke around and see what you can find. Have fun!

Here's some examples…

Series Control Symbol Title Contents dates
A1209 1976/171 PART 10 Exchange of messages between Prime Minister Mr Malcolm Fraser and Heads of State and other Heads of Government 1980 - 1980
A1838 3103/10/20/1 PART 16 Japan - Relations with Australia - Basic Treaty of friendship and cooperation 1976 - 1976
A13147 NSR 135 National Security Act Regulations & Ordinances - National Security (Prisoners of War) Regulations. Reg 4 (JA 1); Reg 27 (JA 2) 31 Oct 1945 - 14 Nov 1945
A1533 1954/56 SCRIMGEOUR, Colin Graham [0.5cm] 1945 - 1955
A461 AS337/1/5 Defence - Navy Transport of Naval Aircraft by Road 1950 - 1950
A1838 43/1/3 PART 14 Malta - Relations with Australia 1979 - 1979
A1838 3107/40/147 PART 21 China - Relations with India 1963 - 1964
A6135 K29/11/72/28 Aboriginal people and torres strait islander peoples - Oenberna burial ground, Arnhemland 1972 - 1972
A1838 697/8/5 PART 54 Defence policy - Indian Ocean - Zone of peace proposal 1980 - 1980
A7322 35 General administrative files - Defence Sub-Committee - Correspondence - Counter disaster operations Oct 1983 - 14 Nov 1983
A13985 4 31st Parliament - Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence - Official Minutes 21 Feb 1978 - 19 Sep 1980
A1838 3004/10/5/1 PART 2 South East Asia - Indo Chinese refugees - ASEAN policy - Thailand 1979 - 1980
B73 M115679 Meyer,(Miller) Carl 1916 - 1965
D362 HX22158 Ernest Robert LAWSON - parts 1 & 2 1959 - 1975
A705 55/1/844 Recommendations from NW Area for immediate and periodical operational awards quarter ending 30/9/45 1945 - 1946
A1838 3004/12/16 PART 1 South East Asia - Joint Intelligence Committee - [portion exempt] - review of Current Intelligence 1956 - 1957
A13883 204 PART 2 Singapore political affairs 29 Feb 1956 - 20 Jul 1957
CP548/1 D306 Murdoch's Manufactories Pty. Ltd. Wages Subsidy 1949 - 1949
B44 V1969/49232 SOFRA Etnna 1969 - 1970
A13373 A1 Administration - Meetings/Hearings/Witnesses 04 May 1982 - 02 Oct 1984