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
A1838 3000/2/9/1 PART 6 Australian policy towards Indo China refugees 1977 - 1978
A13147 NSR 353 National Security Act Regulations & Ordinances - National Security (Agricultural Aids) Regulations. Rotenone Materials Orders 17 Feb 1944 - 17 Feb 1944
A3092 221/11/7/2/1A PART 4 Sino-Indian border dispute - aid to India 26 Sep 1963 - 27 May 1964
D3184 VOLUME 1 Nurse's report book - Quarantine Station Hospital - Torrens Island 10 Apr 1942 - 05 May 1965
PP930/1 MX53724 William Henry Richardson 1952 - 1969
A452 1972/3512 [portion of title exempt] / National Intelligence Committee talks - 1972 [0.25cm] 1972 - 1972
A8307 REGISTER 142 Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1948 - Register of Births, London - No 142 1982 - 1983
A9737 1991/14 PART 1 USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) - Political Developments 13 Oct 1970 - 30 Oct 1984
A13147 NSR 37 National Security Act Regulations & Ordinances - National Security (General) Regulations. Revocation of Order: Regulation 4 (JB 1-2) 19 Jan 1946 - 19 Jan 1946
A518 852/1/727 New Guinea Staff - C A Jones - Assistant Engineer [0.25cm] 1937 - 1940
A1838 369/7 PART 1 New Zealand section - Freedom of Information Act - Matters including NZ Official Information Bill 1980 - 1985
AWM54 244/2/49 [Demolitions - Schemes:] Demolition of aerodromes, Northern Command - Notes on commercial explosives (Mar-Apr 1942) 1942 - 1942
D618 AC309 Collinswood SA TV studios - extension to production facilities and technical service area 1969 - 1973
C165 WHOLE SERIES [Veteran's Affairs] Personal case files, single number series with 'PCR' prefix (British Service Department - Commonwealth Relations Office) 1945 - 1991
D2952 PL52/1980 Pearlah - Retain Train Control Phone 1980 - 1980
A2487 1921/6666 [Request for particulars of service of Horace V Bird] 1921 - 1921
PP946/1 MKM39178 O'HALLORAN, James Lancelot - Service Number - R37308 1949 - 2010
A12396 6 Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security - Inventory of Records - Part 11 (Details of series HF6 and associated series HA1 Submissions, HB Transcripts and HC Exhibits) 1977 - 1977
A7324 65 Submissions - Television Equalisation - Australian Association of National Advertisers Jan 1987 - Feb 1987
C139 HX115993 PART 1 John Joseph DEMPSEY [Repatriation hospital file] [Box 52238] 1957 - 1975