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
A1209 1964/6310 The outlook for North Vietnam [part of title exempt] 1964 - 1964
C150 WHOLE SERIES [Veteran's Affairs] Personal case files, single number series with 'CN' prefix (Canadian pensioners, 1914-1918 War) 1939 - 1995
M3351 3 [Papers of the Hon Kim Christian BEAZLEY AC relating to foreign affairs and defence] The David COMBE/Valeriy IVANOV Royal Commission on Australian Security and Intelligence Agencies: Hope Commission 1983 - 1983
A1838 1558/1/44 PART 10 International Court of Justice - Advisory opinions French Nuclear tests Australia vs France 1973 - 1973
A1838 3006/3/3 PART 9 Cambodia relations with Thailand 1963 - 1965
A7991 11 Visit to New Caledonia 02 Nov 1988 - 27 Jun 1989
A13147 NSR 512 National Security Act Regulations & Ordinances - National Security (General) Regulations. Reg 4 (S.8-26); Reg 35 (S.27); Reg 53(2) (S.28); Reg 54 (S.29-70) and Reg 55 (S.71-77) 13 Apr 1941 - 18 May 1941
A10468 WC1/1 Far Eastern Advisory Commission. Working Committee No 1. United States Initial Post Surrender Policy for Japan. Note by the Secretary General 1945 - 1945
A518 K815/1/6 Post War Reconstruction - Town reconstruction - Town allotments for Asiatics - Policy - Kokopo 1947 - 1947
D3185 140 Torrens Island Quarantine Station photograph 140 - [portion of title exempt] taken on arrival at infectious diseases hospital 11 April 1926 1926 - 1926
PP870/1 HKM34922 BRASHAW Harry Arthur - Service Number PM8314, R33364 1958 - 1958
M3357 RJC/45/6 Recommendations 1985 - 1986
A2487 1921/10206 [M E Smith and J W Steward (alias Stirling) - Question of State or Commonwealth responsibility] 1919 - 1921
A1838 250/11/18 PART 19 USA - Defence - ANZUS 1985 - 1985
A5803 3 Inquiry into Policies & Programs for Advancement of Aboriginal & Island People - Transcripts - Moree, Sydney, Canberra 27 Jul 1973 - 09 Aug 1973
A12812 3 Inquiry into Bathurst Post Office and exchange - Background information, Statement of evidence, originating papers, correspondence, unnumbered submissions, briefing papers, final report, tabling details, approval of work 07 Dec 1950 - 29 Aug 1972
D363 H18086 PART 3 SPRINGBETT, Ernest Harold - Service Number - 25957 1989 - 1989
CP548/1 253 Mite Infested Chaff 1946 - 1946
D3185 148 Torrens Island Quarantine Station photograph 148 - [portion of title exempt] confluent patches on forearms pustules developing on hands 26 April 1926 1926 - 1926
PP913/1 HX6851 Vernon Pollock Leach 1951 - 1956