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
A10756 LC220 PART 2 Australian contribution to United Nations Peacekeeping Forces [Submission Nos. 2941 and 3487 refer] 21 Aug 1978 - 27 Sep 1979
PP864/1 M7556 WATERHOUSE, Alex [aka Alec] - Service Number - 4249 1915 - 1961
PP902/1 MX58337 Alan James Arland Stubbs 1940 - 1979
B73 H109929 Davidson, James Duncan 1943 - 1989
A7342 M42 History of, and services provided by the Repatriation Commission and the Repatriation Department - Unidentified negatives and photographs Repatriation Department, Central Office - Raymond Clarke - Right below knee - lower hip 1960 - 1960
A1838 766/1 PART 12 Communist China - Economic Relations with Australia 1971 - 1972
A14039 5353 Cabinet Memorandum 5353 - SCIS Report to MInisters on the activities of the Intelligence and Security Agencies in 1986-87 - Decision 10780/SEC 26 Oct 1987 - 15 Mar 1988
A1533 1957/3213 HUTCHINS, Reginald Raymond 1957 - 1957
B741 V/4735 Frances D. Nhilson 1928 - 1937
A12691 R119897 Siddons, Stephen R119897 1977 - 1998
A12805 4 Miscellaneous Papers 1926 - 1931
A1838 189/10/2 PART 2 Pakistan: Relations with Australia - Economic 1948 - 1963
A6135 K5/8/83/78 Aboriginal people and torres strait islander peoples - Tribal - Aboriginal dancer ready for corroboree 1983 - 1983
A1838 694/2/4/1 PART 2 [portion of title exempt] Intelligence Estimates [0.5cm] 1971 - 1984
A1838 100/6 Relations with foreign services [imposed title, original title wholly exempt] 1952 - 1989
A6122 698 C P of A [Communist Party of Australia] Queensland General Branch formerly known as Brisbane Hospital Branch 1949 - 1949
A1209 1972/6429 Prime Minister's visit to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia - June 1972 - Briefing notes 1972 - 1972
A13147 NSR 421 National Security Act Regulations & Ordinances - National Security (General) Regulations. Control of Woollens Materials Order and Control of Woven Woollen Materials (Civil Needs) Order (No 2). Regulation 59 07 Mar 1942 - 28 Jun 1943
MP298/1 NN Programme report 1945 01 Jan 1800 - 01 Jan 1800
A13883 213/1/2/1C Singapore Five Power defence post AMDA (Anglo Malayan/Malaysian defence agreement) arrangements - postal services 29 Apr 1971 - 10 Jul 1974