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
A295 55 Contract for supply and delivery of lift cars at Commonwealth Bank in Perth 1932 - 1932
C139 MX234697 RIMMER, John Henry [Repatriation medical case file] [1.5cm; box 7108] 1939 - 1959
A432 1985/17017 Visit to Australia of Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, 1986 1986 - 1986
K26 MX1414 VOL 2 ALEXANDER Joshua Emmanuel WX12873 1963 - 1987
ST5416/1 200/31/AJASS ASW Committee (Australia) [Box 4] 1952 - 1970
M4797 18 Correspondence 01 Aug 1980 - 30 Oct 1980
P107 HB7377 PART 1 CAVANAGH, Doris 1990 - 1991
AWM54 179/1/14 PART 1 [Chemical Warfare - General:] Chemical Warfare and Smoke Intelligence Bulletins, prepared by General Headquarters India, General Staff Branch, MI Directorate, Meerut [Part 1 of 7] 1944 - 1945
K26 MX43200 Newton Edward Gerlach [RAAF NO. 85772, DOE 2/3/1945] 1947 - 1985
PP681/1 HKM39140 HOMER, John - Service Number - 1/3147 1971 - 1979
C5018 [38 HORNSBY] TITLE: Hornsby, Mt Wilga Rehabilitation Centre CATEGORY: photograph FORMAT: 27 colour negatives, 5 colour prints, 1 file STATUS: preservation material 1979 - 1979
A1838 201/10/1 PART 47 South Africa - Relations with Australia 1978 - 1978
R52 O 7 B British Phosphate Commissioners engineering files - Nauru, Ocean Island, Christmas Island - sundry buildings and equipment - equipment [1 folder of 6 pages] 1969 - 1977
C153 WHOLE SERIES [Veteran's Affairs] Personal case files, single number series with 'NX' prefix (New Zealand Pensioners, 1939-1945 War) 1939 - 1995
A10842 VOLUME 2 Registers of citizenship by descent - Register of births - No 76 Kuala Lumpur (Malaya) 1967 - 1975
A2487 1921/4409 [Application for living allowance - M Pethybridge - Passage to Australia for L S R Wood] 1920 - 1921
A1928 1023/58 Staff Permanent N.S.W. Dr. H.M. Abey 1934 - 1934
AWM54 244/2/26 PART 2 [Demolitions - Schemes:] Correspondence, instructions, plans and reports in connection with the preparation of demolition charges by the Volunteer Defence Corps in the Maryborough Area [Part 2 of 15] 1942 - 1943
A4624 CERBERUS 31/3/1944 PART 1 Ships Ledger HMAS CERBERUS Quarter Ending: 31/3/1944 part 1 1944 - 1944
A3963 S8/2/1 Natural Gas. Enquiries by Royal Commission 1976 - 1976