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
A3269 Q7/E Industrial Demolitions Handbook Volume 2, April 1944 1944 - 1944
D3185 160 Torrens Island Quarantine Station photograph 160 - [portion of title exempt] onset 6 March 1926 - unrecognised till inspection at anchorage 10 April 1926 1926 - 1926
A7322 21 General administrative files - Defence Sub-Committee - Unnumbered submissions - Defence infrastructure Aug 1978 - Aug 1978
A8742 1978/493 Information supplied to the Minister on entitlement submissions to determining authorities 1976 - 1976
K60 HKM33670 THOMPSON, Allan Drysdale - Service Number - 5/40015 1954 - 1987
PP946/1 HSR39698 CORNELL, Francis William Charles - Service Number - W244363, 5871 1980 - 1980
PP878/1 MKM33413 WATKINS, William Evan - Service Number - 5/278, W54178, WX41846 1943 - 1972
A6122 973 Communist Party of Australia. Western Australia, Bunbury 1949 - 1958
A6122 1987 Spoiling Operations Australia - Media O [2pp] 1967 - 1967
A816 25/301/555 United States Intelligence - Reports by JIB [Joint Intelligence Board] (Melbourne) Representative - Washington 1953 - 1954
A4531 201/2/1NVN PART 2 Saigon - North Vietnam - political general 13 Dec 1968 - 30 Aug 1969
PP889/1 MKM33610 PYKE, Donald - Service Number - WX32092, A5549 1941 - 1984
P107 MB17332 POLISOU, Paraskevoula beneficiary of POLISOU, John - Service Number - 5144 1990 - 1990
A12812 141 Inquiry into Commonwealth Offices, Townsville Qld - Statement of evidence, originating papers, correspondence, submissions, briefing papers, draft report, tabling details 22 Jan 1980 - 28 Apr 1981
A3963 S1/3 Australian Oil Refining P/L ?Pty. Ltd.? 1973 - 1974
A4080 NN Australian Post Office Commission of Inquiry Commission of Inquiry Secretariat Overseas Visit - United Kingdom Part 2 1973 - 1973
AWM54 179/1/4 PART 2 [Chemical Warfare - General:] Deputy Director of Military Operations: Correspondence on the subject of chemical warfare [Part 2 of 2] 1943 - 1943
A13373 21 Professor D G Pearce, Australian National University 23 Jun 1982 - 14 Oct 1982
K431 802/75(3) PART 2 Oombulgurri education 1981 - 1983
A432 1929/852 Superannuation Act 1922/4 Sect. 60(1). Late Squadron Leader F.E. Sandford, RAAF 1929 - 1929