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
A2008 WHOLE SERIES Whole series - Name Index Cards for Personal Benefit Case Files and correspondence files, single number series with alphabetical prefixes ("A" - "G") 1947-1974 1947 - 1974
A3269 Q4 [The Official History of the Operations and Administration of Special Operations Australia (SOA), also known as the Inter-Allied Services Department (ISD) and Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD) - Volume 4 - Training Syllabi - Part 4 - Handbook on Telecommunications and Railway Sabotage] 1942 - 1943
A6122 803 CPA [Communist Party of Australia] (NSW) Southern Miners' Branch 1952 - 1957
A1838 3107/38/5/13 PART 1 China - Relations with Australia - Economic and trade - Joint economic research project 1980 - 1985
A1533 1955/4798 Francis Jack PYKE 1955 - 1955
A13373 B2(e) Information from Overseas Parliaments - New Zealand 25 Jun 1982 - 12 Aug 1982
K1215 W259/57/25 Disposals - Rottnest 1958 - 1963
A1838 181/1/4 PART 1 Middle East - Joint Intelligence Committee weekly review of Middle East 1956 - 1957
A1209 1976/232 PART 4 Seas and Submerged Lands Act (Including High Court Challenge) 1976 - 1976
A13147 NSR 280 National Security Act Regulations & Ordinances - Stevedoring Industry Commission. Order No 4, 5, 10-20 31 Jan 1947 - 11 Apr 1947
A13256 221/4/1 PART 1 Vientiane - Laos relations with Australia - political general 20 Sep 1960 - 05 Dec 1967
A7322 5 General administrative files - Defence Sub-Committee - Correspondence - Mr D E Bertholsen - confidential 17 Sep 1978 - 03 Mar 1981
A13147 NSR 11 National Security Act Regulations & Ordinances - National Security (General) Regulations and National Security (Emergency Control) Regulations. Reg 4 (CB.2-3); Reg 53 (CB.4); Reg 54 (CB.5-69); Reg 55 (CB.70-83); Reg 5 (CB.84) 06 Sep 1942 - 07 Oct 1942
A1838 3034/7/4 PART 9 Indonesia - ASEAN 1979 - 1986
E72 DL2706 [Portion of Title Expunged] Robert Frodsham - Long, Neil Trevor - Long, Betty Merle 1954 - 1954
E72 D10341/6 [Portion of Title Expunged] Christine Isobel - William James - Feeney Mr and Mrs 1961 - 1962
A1838 250/11/18 PART 11 USA - Defence - ANZUS 1983 - 1984
A1838 3000/2/9 PART 13 Australian policy towards Indo China 1980 - 1980
B73 R16525 RICH, William Frederick [2 cm] 1919 - 1982
A13883 204/7 PART 9 Singapore internal security 22 Oct 1968 - 02 Sep 1969