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
A703 554/2/107 Release of classified information to West Germany 1970 - 1973
A6122 945 Communist Part of Australia. Electric Press 1949 - 1958
C139 MX15634 Frederick WHALAN [Repatriation medical case file] [box 28682] 1941 - 1978
PP927/1 MX11775 VOLUME 2 Albert George Welshman 1945 - 1971
A12812 6 Inquiry into central hospital services complex, Canberra - Statement of evidence, originating papers, correspondence, unnumbered submissions, briefing papers, final report, tabling details, approval of work, Govt responses, Transcripts - Canberra Sep 1971 - 11 Aug 1972
P694 HX116634 (4 PARTS) BARKER. A.M. 1914 - 1990
PP946/1 MKM39178 O'HALLORAN, James Lancelot - Service Number - R37308 1949 - 2010
A2487 1921/6666 [Request for particulars of service of Horace V Bird] 1921 - 1921
A432 1931/537 Customs Act 1901/30, Sec. 168. Customs Reg. 129. Claim by O.E. Burbank & Co. for drawback on embroideries. Question of original packages. 1931 - 1931
A2487 1922/15562 [Raymond K Browne - Service Number 4908 - Request by wife for information regarding whereabouts] 1922 - 1922
D2952 PL52/1980 Pearlah - Retain Train Control Phone 1980 - 1980
D618 AC309 Collinswood SA TV studios - extension to production facilities and technical service area 1969 - 1973
AWM54 244/2/8 [Demolitions - Schemes:] Demolition Plans: Victoria Bridge, Brisbane Fortress Area, Belt "G", 17 Dec 1942 1942 - 1942
A1838 369/7 PART 1 New Zealand section - Freedom of Information Act - Matters including NZ Official Information Bill 1980 - 1985
A518 852/1/727 New Guinea Staff - C A Jones - Assistant Engineer [0.25cm] 1937 - 1940
A3092 221/12/2/1 PART 2AB China - general 13 Feb 1967 - 28 Apr 1967
A6122 1127 Communist Party of Australia. Eureka Youth League. Victoria 1949 - 1956
A13147 NSR 164 National Security Act Regulations & Ordinances - National Security (Chinese Seamen) Regulations. Order under Regulation 4 18 Dec 1943 - 18 Dec 1943
A1838 73/1/1 PART 3 Yugoslavia - Foreign Policy - General 1964 - 1967
A9737 1991/14 PART 1 USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) - Political Developments 13 Oct 1970 - 30 Oct 1984