A 50 Year History @ State Records NSW

1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s


  • On 1 June 1961 The Archives Act, No.46 of 1960, commenced and on that day the first Archives Authority (Chairman, Deputy chairman, and seven members) as well as the Principal Archivist were appointed.
  • In 1961 access to the State archives was by reader’s ticket issued to accredited students and researchers or issued by the Trustees of the Public Library for the use of the special collections of the Library. With some exceptions, no restriction was placed on the use of State archives that were more than fifty years old, the fifty year period conforming to fairly common standards in overseas archival institutions.
  • The Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was given permission in 1961 to microfilm archives of genealogical interest, an arrangement that was re-entered into several times after this, always with great benefit to both the Authority and to its readers.
  • The 1960s saw the first of the several agreements between the Authority and other regional institutions for the long-term loan of State archives created in the region. The first of these was the University of New England in 1961 and this was followed by Newcastle Region Public Library, Riverina College of Advanced Education (now part of Charles Sturt University), the University of Newcastle, University of Wollongong and the Broken Hill City Council. (These are now all places of deposit under current legislation.)
  • In 1962 a committee comprising representatives of the Archives Authority, the Trustees of the Public Library and the Public Service Board began investigations into the possibility of securing a suitable site for a permanent repository for State archives and semi-current public records (the current repository at Shea’s Creek being an unlined wooden structure with an asphalt floor offering very inadequate and even unsafe accommodation for records). After a careful examination of available site, the committee recommended the acquisition of a site of about fifty acres at Kingswood in 1963. This acquisition took place the following year.
  • 1963 marked the beginning of the publication of small inventory-based guides by the Authority, following on from two guides produced by the Archives Section of the Public Library of NSW in 1959 and 1960.
  • From late 1963 a member of the Archives Office staff was on duty in the Mitchell Library to guide and assist readers with the use of State archives, this being in essence the beginning of separate reader services (although issues and these services were still provided in the Mitchell Library reading room).
  • 1964 bringing a considerable increase in the quantity of records transferred to the Repository by departments in anticipation of the move to the new State Office Block, the Repository building was completely filled with records and it was necessary to make arrangements for part of an adjoining shed to be converted for use as an additional repository.
  • The List of Series Titles in the Archives Office of New South Wales published in 1965 was the first attempt to provide information about the totality of the records held as State archives while more detailed information about particular record groups continued to be provided in small inventory-based guides.
  • With the beginning of 1966 possession of a separate reader’s ticket, issued by the Archives Authority, became a prerequisite for admission to use the archives; the reader’s ticket issued by the Trustees of the Public Library for the use of the Special Collections was no longer accepted in lieu of a ticket issued by the Authority. Some time later the Authority also instituted a system of granting temporary authorities to use the archives to readers who came once only,
  • From 1967, again with some exceptions, State archives more than thirty-five years old became available for public use by approved users. (The exceptions were particular series of records on which departments placed a special restriction in terms of Section 14 (6) of the Archives Act, together with some records, mostly relating to individuals, where it appeared to the Authority that the public interest would not be served by making the information contained in them generally available.)
  • By 1967 the Government Records Repository at Shea’s Creek comprised two sheds, with further semi-active records stored in the basement of an old building in Margaret Lane, Sydney, in storage conditions almost as unsatisfactory as those in the Repository at Alexandria.
  • In 1967 the Authority continued its policy of making photographic copies of some of the more important and frequently used State archives in order to preserve the original documents, experimenting in copying onto 35mm positive film a small group of the very large collection of glass negatives from the Government Printing Office. Lack of money continued to be the impediment to large-scale copying projects.
  • During 1967 a series of eighteen radio broadcasts under the general title “From the State Archives” were broadcast by the ABC; these were widely heard and well received.
  • 1968 saw the increasing use of some important series of records by persons engaged in research into their own family histories. As it became apparent that the frequency of use of records such as immigrant lists, convict indents, records of land grants and other similar records was such that there would be serious deterioration of the originals the Authority reluctantly resolved that for the time being it would not make records of this nature available for genealogical research and decided that readers’ tickets would not be issued to persons investigating their own family history. But, at the same time, the Authority sought and gained funds for a large-scale project of copying, by microfilm and other suitable means, of the most-used records as well as accrediting a number of profession researchers who could use the records for genealogical searchers on behalf of others.
  • In 1968 the Authority also flagged potential problems in remaining in the accommodation which it had in the Public Library because of the continuing expansion of the collections under the control of the Trustees of the Public Library whose building it was.
  • The Authority made use of the library style card indexes to provide researchers with the means to find various pieces of information within different records series. These were either commenced or expanded in the 1960s and continued well into the 1990s. Many of these formed the basis of published guides, initially, and later on-line indexes.

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  • 1970 saw the publication of two significant guides by the Archives Authority: the Concise Guide to the State Archives of New South Wales (to be kept up to date with quarterly supplements) and the Guide to Convict Records. The former superseded the List of Series Titles and provided researchers with more extensive, as well as up to date, information about records held in the State’s archives while the latter marked a move away from inventory-based guides to subject-based ones. Later guides in the 1970s which continued this movement included guides to Colonial Secretary correspondence, to shipping and free passenger records, and to records relating to the occupation of crown lands as well as the first of many immigrant indexes, the Index to Assisted Immigrants Arriving Port Phillip, 1839-51.
  • In order to reduce the risk of loss of essential records by fire, in July 1970 the Authority leased a building at Yagoona for the storage of both semi-active and archival records stored in the Shea’s Creek sheds. This was the first of many leasing arrangements entered into to increase or improve Repository storage facilities.
  • At the end of 1970, nearly 10 years after the Archives Authority and Archives Office were established, the State Archives, exclusive of maps and plans and of other records such as the very large collection of glass negatives from the Government Printing Office which do not readily lend themselves to statistical measurement, occupied around 9,958 metres of shelving.
  • Access conditions were again liberalised in 1973 when five years were dropped from the general access period, lowering it to allow most State archives more than 30 years old to be available by use by holders of readers’ tickets.
  • In February 1973, following a request from the State Planning Authority, the repository site at Kingswood was exchanged for another of more-or-less the same size fronting O’Connell Street. Building work on the new repository also commenced in that year, with the first portion of the building being occupied in August 1974.
  • Considerable progress having been made on copying of heavily used archives in 1974, both through the Authority copying project and through copying undertaken by the Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Authority eased the restrictions it had placed on genealogical research in 1975 by allowing the issue of copies to readers undertaking this kind of research. 1975 saw a marked increase in the number of readers granted temporary authority to use the State archives, an increase that was mainly attributed to increased genealogical research.
  • A new position approved by the Public Service Board in 1973, of Records Manager, was filled in 1974. This allowed a more modern and integrated approach to repository management to be put in place.
  • The Authority’s suggestions in late 1974 to the Public Service Board on ways in which the management and disposal of records might be improved saw the Board establishing a Task Force to investigate records management within the NSW Public Service in March 1975. This Task Force’s report recommended a number of significant changes including separation of the Archives Office from the State Library, a substantial increase in the staff establishment of the Archives Office, and the creation of a Records Management Office. (The latter did not initially come under the direction of the Archives Authority.)
  • The final three cells of the Government Records Repository at Kingswood having been completed in 1975, the fifteen cell complex was officially opened by the Hon L J F Barraclough, MLA, in November 1975.
  • In August 1975 approval was given for the construction by the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority for the construction of a new building in the Rocks Area to accommodate the Archives Office. Construction of The State Archives building was completed in 1978; in addition to staff accommodation, working areas and storage accommodation, the three and a half floors of this building included a separate spacious reading room and exhibition space as well as photographic and conservation facilities.
  • Following the relocation of the records and all operations in November-December 1978, the new separate State archives search room (“the Globe Street Search Room”) in the Rocks buildings was opened to the public on 15 January 1979. Public demand for services increased enormously during this first year of operation and staff from other areas, such as disposal of public records and processing, had to be diverted to reference services.
  • Space at the Kingswood Repository being fully committed by the end of 1976, the Authority put in place two major accommodation initiatives, one of which was a program for the destruction of time-expired, low value, records stored in the repositories (known as the Records Reduction Campaign) and the re-packing of permanent or long-term records (undertaken by staff of the Archives Office), and the other a six month stocktake or survey of records held in Government offices (undertaken by the Records Management Office). Both of these initiatives which took place in 1977-78 were very successful, resulting in estimated savings in storage costs in excess of $600,000.
  • 1977 saw the beginning of work on extensions to the Government Records Repository at Kingswood with a warehouse-type building designed expressly for records having a limited retention period, the first stage being completed the next year.
  • In July 1977 the Public Service Board transferred the administration of the Kingswood Repository and the other repositories at Shea’s Creek and Yagoona from the Archives Office to the recently established Records Management Office.
  • November 1977 saw the Government announcing its decision that all non-current and permanently valuable records, including the records of State Cabinet, more than 30 years old would be transferred as State archives and made available for public access and use. The only exceptions would be a comparatively small quantity of specially confidential records or one containing information the disclosure of which might harm individuals or infringe upon their rights. This decision was warmly welcomed not only by the Authority but also the users of the State archives.
  • In 1978 after consultation between the Public Service Board and the Archives Authority, the Authority accepted responsibility for the management of the Government’s semi-current records repositories and the supervision of the Records Management Office.
  • The Guides to the State Archives series of publications was supplemented by a new series of brief subject guides under the title Information Leaflets which commenced publication in the late 1970s.
  • The perennial problem of insufficient storage space for archival and semi-active records once again reared up as the first stage of the Stage 2 building at Kingswood was nearly full by the end of 1979 and new building work was delayed.
  • The publication program of the Authority expanded in 1979 to include two kits of facsimile documents “The Changing Face of the Rocks” and “From Cato Street to Botany Bay: Convict Case Studies” as well as a set of postcards. This area of publication, facsimiles of records held in the archives, was to continue in the future with more postcards, posters, reproduction of maps and plans, tea towels and other souvenir-type items being produced.
  • April 1979 saw the Authority with its first exhibition in the Rocks building. Composed of a selection of manuscripts, photographs and maps outlining the history of the Rocks area, it was entitled The Changing Face of the Rocks: Glimpses of a part of an Earlier Sydney and its People.
  • Major advances were made in the repair and preservation of records with the appointment of an overseas expert consultant conservator to advise on the selection of appropriate equipment and to establish procedures in the new laboratory. For the first time the Authority did not have to rely on external sources of supply.
  • On 31 March 1979 the Yagoona Repository was closed with the records and staff being transferred to the Kingswood Repository. This left the Repository housed in two locations: at Kingswood and at Shea’s Creek Alexandria.
  • The lighting system in the Stage II, Phase I building at Kingswood, completed in December 1978, was awarded a Certificate of Commendation in the 1979 Meritorious Lighting Award Competition, which was conducted by the Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia.

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  • In December 1980 an additional position was created on the Authority’s establishment to permit the appointment of an archivist to care for the records of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. In January 1985 the archivist also became responsible for the records of the Legislative Council. He was therefore responsible to both the Clerk of the Parliaments and the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, but operated under the professional guidance of the Archives Office This changed in July 1991 when the position of Senior Archivist, Parliament House was transferred from the Authority’s establishment to that of the Legislature.
  • During 1981 the Authority initiated a general Survey of Records aimed at identifying the classes of records to be retained as State archives and establishing guidelines, priorities and likely quantities. A preliminary feasibility study was undertaken under a research grant from the University of New South Wales, and an interim report submitted to the Authority in December 1981. The final report on a Review of Land Board Office Files in the Government Records Repositories at Kingswood and Shea’s Creek was submitted to the October 1982 meeting of the Authority.
  • 1981 saw the publication of a second index to immigrant arriving, for those arriving at Sydney 1880-96. This was followed later in this decade by three other indexes to immigrants arriving: at Sydney and Newcastle, 1844-59; at Sydney, 1860-79, and at Moreton Bay, 1848-59. (All of the immigrant indexes were later incorporated into the Authority’s Genealogical Research Kit and its later rendition the Archives Resources Kit. The entries in these various immigrant indexes are now on-line.)
  • The release in 1982 by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages of microfiche copies of the Indexes to Births, Deaths and Marriages, 1788-1899, and its supply to the Archives Office and elsewhere  produced an enthusiastic response from the public with more than 10,000 fiche being issued in that year alone.
  • The Premier’s Department was approached about the Authority’s concerns about the level of documentation of the activities of some Government bodies including the value of adequate and co-ordinated photographic and descriptive records of their functioning, and on 2 December 1982 the Secretary to the Department issued a Circular to other Department Heads on Documentation of the Functions and Facilities of Government Departments and Authorities.
  • Capacity for semi-active records doubled at the GRR at Kingswood with the completion of the second Stage II extension (Phase 2) in August 1983
  • All records were removed from the notoriously unsafe Shea’s Creek sheds which were then vacated by the end of 1983
  • June 1983 saw the acquisition of a sophisticated word processing system in the Archives Office which proved of great value in preparing a variety of guides, reports and essential documents
  • The Authority’s concern over continuing increased public demand for services by genealogists, including the detrimental effect that this was having on its fundamental role in records retention, storage and disposal was finally addressed, at least in part, by the publication of the Genealogical Research Kit, the first stage of which appeared in August 1984. In five years there had been a 430 per cent increase in readers in the Globe Street Search Room since the Rocks building opened in 1979, leading to problems of physical overcrowding, higher noise levels, and longer waiting times for service and access. The Authority therefore endeavoured to meet the challenges posed by these difficulties by spreading the genealogical and other resources of the State archives more widely throughout the community, thereby reducing dependence on Archives Office facilities. Hence the Genealogical Research Kit, a publication in microform containing copies of the most sought after records and well as relevant guides to them. In all, four stages of the Kit were produced, the last stage thanks to Bicentennial funding.
  • While very limited onsite search room services had been available in Kingswood for many years it was not until 30 June 1987 that services to researchers were dramatically improved with the opening of a spacious search room in the newly built Services Building at Kingswood.
  • The first real effort of the Archives Authority to deal with digital records occurred with the establishment of a Task Force on Guidelines for Machine Readable Records, approved by the Premier on 28 December 1989. Agency representatives included persons from the Attorney General’s Department, the Auditor General’s Department, First State Computing, the Premier’s Department and the Treasury.
  • Late in 1989 the Archives Office of New South Wales was the proud recipient of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations’ Niel T Hansen Award for 1989 for meritorious service to family history. The award was made in recognition of the successful release of the Genealogical Research Kit and the follow-up educational programs for readers. The award. In the form of a bronze plaque, was presented to the Office at a function to launch the Index to the NSW Colonial Secretary’s Papers 1788-1825 held on Tuesday 30 January 1990.

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  • Although its final production was delayed beyond the Bicentenary, the publication of the New South Wales Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 1788-1825, was the most significant of the Authority’s Bicentennial programs. These Papers constitute the largest and most comprehensive collection of public records relating to the early years of European settlement In Australia. Their significance to researchers is much wider than the area of the present State of New South Wales because they date from a period when New South Wales comprised the whole of the eastern half of the Australian continent and Tasmania. The Papers were published as a package consisting of 72 reels of microfilm. 312 microfiche, Information Leaflet No.40 (a printed guide to the microforms) and a microfiche index with an introductory printed volume. The Index was launched by the Hon G B West MP, Minister for Tourism and Chief Secretary, on 30 January 1990. The Index was subsequently converted to html, in 2001-2002, and is now on State Records’ website.
  • Statutory reform (the development of new public records legislation for New South Wales) became one of priority objectives of the Archives Authority in the 1991-92 financial years and the first of many discussion papers were produced and distributed to senior agency staff for comment. It was not until 1998 that the new legislation was enacted.
  • March 1992 saw the publication of the 2100 page second edition of the Concise Guide to the State Archives – the main control guide, and a major research tool for historians and other researchers – on 22 microfiche together with a handbook.
  • In July 1993 a new service, known as Findit!, was introduced in the Search Rooms to allow the public direct access to the Concise Guide database (known as the Electronic Concise Guide) using ISYS software. The Electronic Concise Guide proved to be a most valuable tool and was embraced enthusiastically by Archives Office reference and technical staff, and researchers. In March 1994, the Electronic Concise Guide was significantly enhanced by the incorporation of various listings of Special bundles and Special files. The listings related to nine Information Leaflets and two Special bundle Appendices of an unpublished guide to the Correspondence records of the Colonial Secretary. (The Special bundle listings are now all online on State Records’ website.)
  • The Authority’s first foray into the Internet occurred in October 1995 when 17 documents relating to the Archives Authority, the Archives Office, the Records Management Office, and the Government Records Repository were transmitted to the Australian Archives for inclusion on the Archives of Australia Internet server. Some months later the decision was taken to establish the Authority’s own World Wide Web site to promote community awareness and to publicise the Authority’s activities, products and services. This went live in July 1996.
    The contents of the website continued to significantly expand throughout the remainder of the 1990s. The first significant inclusion, in February 1997, was the second edition of the Concise Guide to the State Archives of New South Wales, the main finding aid and control guide to the records held as State archives. A variety of publications and the first of many online indexes quickly followed as well as a revamp of the website in late 1998 in preparation for our new identity of State Records from January 1999.
  • The Authority released Keyword AAA, a thesaurus of general administrative terms, in November 1995. A major new records management thesaurus product, Keyword AAA replaced the Authority’s General Administrative (GADM) Thesaurus which, since 1979, had been Australia’s most successful general thesaurus.
  • In May 1997 work was completed on a major project to improve the organisation’s networking infrastructure, resulting in a networking environment which supported expansion and fostered data and information dissemination. The establishment of a link between the Authority’s City and Kingswood premises followed in the next financial year, furthering the introduction of electronic modes of business in the organisation and facilitate enterprise-wide data flow. By December 1998, work was completed on integrating the Government Records Repository’s (GRR) computer network to State Records’ enterprise network, so that all computer users would have access to critical resources including enterprise e-mail, the corporate intranet and the Internet.
  • One of the Authority’s first co-operative ventures was the hosting of the exhibition My Heart is Breaking between 6-20 June 1997. This exhibition was a joint initiative of the Public Record Office of Victoria and the Koorie Heritage Trust, in association with Australian Archives and the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Taist. It told the story of the Aboriginal people of Victoria, as recorded in that State’s official records.
  • In 1998 the Authority instituted a no transportation policy for the movement of State archives between its City and Kingswood premises for the use of researchers. Henceforth researchers would have to view archives at the location at which they were stored.
  • As part of a program to rationalise our accommodation and reduce the high rental cost of our accommodation in the Rocks building during the period February to April 1999, approximately 5 linear kilometres of State archives were relocated from the ‘The State Archives’ building in the Rocks to the Western Sydney Records Centre at Kingswood. The records be moved largely consisted of those that had been copied and were already available in both of State Records’ Search Rooms in microform, along with records that are subject to low levels of use. Two kilometres of records remained in the State Archives Building, consisting chiefly of heavily used, uncopied records from the colonial era, such as early education records and some Colonial Secretary’s correspondence. The remaining records held in City premises were also relocated to Kingswood in November 2003 to February 2004.
  • In March 1999 State Records recruited an Aboriginal Cadet, Ms Kirsten Thorpe, as part of the Indigenous Cadetship Project – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Recruitment and Career Development Strategy. Having completed the Graduate Diploma of Science (Archives and Records) from Edith Cowan University, Ms Thorpe was appointed to the position of Archivist, Aboriginal Liaison in March 2000. The Archivist, Aboriginal Liaison, would be the first point of contact for Aboriginal people visiting State Records’ reading rooms or who wished to find out more about State Records’ holdings.
  • 1999 was a year of enormous change and great achievement for State Records — a new director, new legislation, new roles and responsibilities and a new name and identity. The State Records Act 1998 which commenced on 1 January 1999, created important new recordkeeping obligations for Government agencies, State owned corporations, local government, public hospitals and universities. The new Act created the State Records Authority of New South Wales (‘State Records’ for short), replacing the Archives Authority of New South Wales. Implementation of the new Act included conducting an extensive series of briefing sessions for public sector bodies around NSW, publishing a comprehensive Government Recordkeeping Manual and launching a new World Wide Web site.
    A few months earlier, in October 1998, a new organisational structure was adopted in preparation for the commencement of the Act. Designed to place State Records in the best possible position for meeting the challenges of the next few years, the new structure was aligned with the corporate programs adopted in August 1996 and used as the basis for corporate planning and management since that time.

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  • To enable people living in rural and regional NSW to have access to the core of the State’s official archival heritage, State Records established an initiative called Access for All, that was launched by the then Premier and Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Bob Carr MP, in Orange on 29 March 2000. This involved establishing a network of thirty-nine community access points across rural and regional NSW, mostly based in public libraries, to hold a new Archives Resources Kit containing copies of early records and supporting materials. During the roll-out of the kit between March and June 2000, State Records staff conducted 36 workshops for library staff and members of the public on how to get the most out of the kit. There are now forty community access points across the State, in addition to State Records’ own two reading rooms and its website, through which the people of NSW can gain information about the State’s archival collection.
  • State Records made a substantial contribution to the Documenting a Democracy Web site (at www.foundingdocs.gov.au). This was a collaborative project with the National Archives of Australia and the other State archives to collect, digitise and display Australia’s key ‘founding documents’ online. The site was launched around Australia on 19 June 2000, with the Hon. Barrie Unsworth, Chairman of the NSW Centenary of Federation Committee, launching the site in Sydney.
  • Archives Investigator, an innovative on-line archives information and access system, developed in collaboration with the City of Sydney Archives, went live in July 2000 and was launched by the Hon. Kim Yeadon, MP, Minister for Information Technology, and Cr. Frank Sartor, Lord Mayor of Sydney, the following month. The Web browser-based system which provides Internet users with sophisticated tools for searching and navigating information about the archives and their content was developed, with the assistance of connect.nsw grant funding, by State Records, in collaboration with the City of Sydney Archives, to provide on-line access to data in its archival control and management system.
  • In September 2000 the policy requiring all researchers using State archives, irrespective of format, to obtain a reader’s ticket was changed. From that time only those readers wishing to use original archives were required to obtain a reader’s ticket. As a result readers using microform and facsimile material only, which were placed on open access in the reading rooms just before this, were no longer recorded separately in statistics.
  • Since 1995 a key focus of State Records’ accommodation strategy has been the rationalisation of accommodation between its City and Kingswood sites with a view to reduce significantly the recurrent costs associated with leased City accommodation. Capital funding over the two financial years 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 was allocated to reconfigure, modify and make the most effective use of the reduced space occupied by State Records within its City location. With the finalisation of the completion of the refurbishment in November 2000 State Records contracted to approximately 2,300 square metres on levels 2 and 3 of the Rocks building (renamed at that time Foreshore House). Consequently its monthly rental has been substantially reduced.
    Essential to this reduction was the relocation of records, staff and specialist services from the City to the Western Sydney Records Centre. Work commenced on 13 March 2000 on phase 1 of the project to upgrade and refurbish Kingswood Stage 1 cells to provide conservation facilities, accommodation for relocated City staff and services, and better accommodation for staff already located at the Western Sydney Records Centre. The official handover took place on 19 January 2001. The final stage, Phase 2, which was completed in April 2002, was an expanded Reading Room, required to meet growth in the use of original State archives, and a refurbished entrance area and conference facilities..
  • The year 2000 saw electronic services for the public further enhanced with additional on-line convict and immigration indexes and an on-line gallery of images from the State archives being added to State Records’ Web site. Later enhancements included facilities for applying for a Reader’s Ticket, and for agencies to transfer bulky transfer documentation and to make retrieval requests, on-line ordering of archives and photographic orders, and similar interactive features as well as a consolidated name search facility and more galleries of images and indexes – the latter to convict records, gaol photographs, surveyors’ letters, court records from the early colonial period – to name only a few.
  • Following a review of arrangements for preservation and access to regional archives in New South Wales, a report of which was forwarded to the Ministry for the Arts and the Premier’s Office, funding was received initially in 2001 for Archives in the Bush, a program to preserve and provide better access to State archives in rural and regional New South Wales. Grants are provided to regional repositories from available funds and are used for infrastructure projects, preservation and copying of priority collections, initiatives to expand the coverage of the regional archives network, and documentation projects to enhance the useability of the collections.
  • State Records’ first travelling exhibition, Unity and Nationhood, was developed to celebrate the Centenary of Federation featuring documents, photographs and plans from the State archives. The exhibition was endorsed by the New South Wales Centenary of Federation Committee and was fully funded by State Records. It was launched at Tenterfield in February 2001 and was subsequently hosted by local cultural institutions in Goulburn, Armidale, Eden and Lismore, Broken Hill, Bathurst, Wagga Wagga (two venues: Charles Sturt University Library and the Museum of the Riverina), Dubbo, Lithgow and Penrith.
  • State Records established a volunteers program for the first time in December 2001. The focus of the program is on selected projects, which could not otherwise be undertaken, to help make parts of the State archives collection more accessible. From an initial intake of 10 persons working in the Western Sydney Records Centre there are now 46. Their assistance is invaluable and much, but not all, of their labour is reflected in the increased item level coverage of particular record series on State Records’ website.
  • Archives Investigator was augmented to allow public access to images – including photographs – and their metadata via a sophisticated search facility branded Photo Investigator which was implemented on State Records’ website in November 2003. As at 30 June 2010 the number of images available on Photo Investigator was 7,289, a significant achievement concerning the limited availability of staff resources for the background preparation and scanning work.
  • State Records provided significant advice to the panel established in May 2004 to advise government on Aboriginal Stolen Wages. Kirsten Thorpe, Archivist, Aboriginal Liaison, took up a short-term secondment with the NSW Department of Community Services (DOCS) and the Aboriginal Trust Fund Repayment Scheme (ATFRS) in August 2004 to provide advice on record sources relating to Aboriginal trust funds in the records of the former Aborigines Welfare Board. A sample of test cases for verifying claims were undertaken as well as providing further documentation and mapping of record sources relating to Stolen Wages to assist the scheme in providing advice to Cabinet. Advice continued to be provided with the announcement of the ATFRS in December 2004.
    Since then State Records has undertaken indexing initiatives to facilitate access to records that could assist with processing claims and has worked closely with the Aboriginal Trust Fund Repayment Scheme, based in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, and with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs providing both professional advice and archival services to the Scheme. But State Record’s role within the ATFRS claims process is now drawing to a close, its contribution in indexing and digitising the records of the former Aborigines Welfare Board will be of ongoing significance to academic research and the Aboriginal people of NSW.
  • State Records commissioned the writing of two histories relating to government administration in New South Wales, the first volume Politics, Patronage and Public Works: The Administration of New South Wales, 1842-1900, by Dr Hilary Golder, being published during 2005, and the second Humble and Obedient Servants: The Administration of New South Wales, 1901-60 by Peter Tyler in 2006. Funding for the latter was provided by The Sesquicentenary of Responsible Government 1856-2006 Committee.
  • One of the important additions to State Records’ website occurred in 2005 when a guide to the Colonial Secretary’s correspondence, 1788-1982, was uploaded. The guide comprises a number of useful pages providing background information about the Colonial Secretary’s office and functions and descriptive information about the various series of letters received, copies of letters sent, and associated records. The guide also provides updated information on the records that have been copied and are now available on microfilm and/or microfiche in the reading rooms. Of particular importance to researchers are the item lists of the Special bundles, 1794-1825 and 1826-1982, and the Main series of letters received, 1826-1982, the latter set up as a searchable database.
  • In the Rocks, State Records reduced its lease in December 2005 from 2,331 square metres to 1,152 square metres (decreasing from two floor to only one floor of Foreshore House). This lease is for offices, training facilities, exhibition area and a public reading room.
  • The Convict records held by State Records (along with those held by the Archives Office of Tasmania and the State Records Office of Western Australia) were inscribed on the Australian UNESCO Memory of the World Project Register at a ceremony at the Sydney Records Centre on 20 February 2006. These records, covering the period 1788–1842, constitute a unique resource that over the years has been used extensively by researchers to produce a wide range of books, publications and web resources on convicts and convict life in New South Wales. It is one of the most important and extensive penology archives in the world.
  • In Living Memory — Surviving Photographs from the Records of the NSW Aborigines Welfare Board, from 1919 to 1966 was launched at State Records Gallery in September 2006. The exhibition features surviving photographs from the records of the Aborigines Welfare Board, from 1919 to 1966, as well as contemporary images of NSW communities by Indigenous photographer Mervyn Bishop. The exhibition has been State Records’ most successful in every way, including opening events, visitor numbers, community support, media interest and visitor feedback. The exhibition and associated catalogue were together Highly Commended at two Award ceremonies in 2007: the Energy Australia National Trust Heritage Awards (Interpretation & Presentation category), and the Department of Commerce Indigenous Achievement Award.
  • Since its completion in June 2005 the Stage 6 Repository building at the Kingswood has received a number of major environmental awards. In October 2006 it was a finalist in the Engineers Australia Awards for Engineering Excellence in the category of Environment and Heritage. In November 2006, as a result of the nomination of the Stage 6 building, State Records was named Government Energy Champion by the Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability in their annual Green Globe awards. In June 2007 Stage 6 won the Green Buildings category in Penrith Council’s Excellence in Design Awards. While all such awards are welcome the DEUS Green Globe award is a significant recognition of the efforts that State Records made to carry out the Government’s policies relating to building sustainability and energy efficiencies in the design of Stage 6.
  • In October 2006 State Records commenced a project to identify, digitise and index records relating to Aboriginal Affairs, 1938–49, from a previously unknown sequence of records in the correspondence of the former Chief Secretary. The project, funded by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, supports the work of the Aboriginal Trust Fund Repayment Scheme (ATFRS) by helping to provide access to all available evidence when considering claims for unpaid monies. The project covered 138 boxes of archival material and the extraction of approximately 36,000 names of Aboriginal people from a total of 3,700 files taken from 168,688 digitised pages. Completed within the target timeframe of eight and half months, the project has provided an important lasting legacy to the people of New South Wales by ensuring these significant records, documenting both the implementation of government policies and the lives and communities of Aboriginal people, will be accessible and usable for the future.
    The project was Highly Commended at the Department of Commerce Service and Excellence Awards 2007 (Managing Projects/Programs — Team).
  • The Guide to NSW State Archives relating to Convicts and Convict Administration (the Convict Guide) received the Mander Jones Award in the category of ‘Best finding aid to an archival collection (1) held by an Australian institution, or (2) about Australia; produced by an organisation deemed eligible for Category 4 (5) (a) institutional membership’ at the 2007 Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) Conference. The Awards for outstanding publications in the field of archives honour Phyllis Mander Jones, who, amongst other contributions to the profession, authored Manuscripts in the British Isles relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, in 1972. The previous year the Guide to the New South Wales State Archives Relating to Responsible Government (November 2005), received a highly commended award in the same category.
  • State Records’ Future Proof strategy dedicated to the protection and management of digital records of the New South Wales Government has been in place since 2007. The strategy has two key goals: improving digital recordkeeping across the NSW Government, and implementing a digital State archive for the NSW Government.
    To raise the profile of digital recordkeeping in government and to provide the strategy and its products with a recognisable identity a brand and logo was developed in early 2008. The ‘Future Proof’ brand represents the need to create, capture and use digital information as records – evidence – today and also in the future. Later that year, in September 2008, the Future Proof website was launched to enhance understanding in the NSW public sector of digital recordkeeping and the long term preservation of digital records. This includes a blog that public offices are invited to use to share their experience and knowledge on digital records issues such as EDRMS implementation.
  • A travelling version of the In Living Memory — Surviving Photographs from the Records of the NSW Aborigines Welfare Board, from 1919 to 1966 exhibition set off in May 2008 on its tour of NSW communities with three launch events at the Shoalhaven City Arts Centre in Nowra. The exhibition visited a total of 18 venues between then and 17 October 2010 when it ended. Following Nowra, the exhibition moved to Moree, Walgett, Brewarrina, Quirindi, Armidale, Ballina, Kempsey, Penrith, Hurstville, Newcastle, Moruya, Bega, Wagga Wagga, Cootamundra, Dubbo, Griffith and Broken Hill.
    The exhibition and tour were co-presented by State Records and the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs, with initial support from the Aboriginal Trust Fund Repayment Scheme and a grant from the Australia Council for the ongoing involvement of senior Indigenous photographer Mervyn Bishop, whose contemporary photographs of communities were an important element of the exhibition.
    The tour has had a significant impact in Aboriginal communities throughout the state and there is growing interest in building on that cultural development. The exhibition team has embarked on a consultation process to see what form the exhibition might take to live on in communities for future generations.
  • From the early 2000s researchers wanting information on the total collection had to search in two places online using very different search tools: the new series control system, of which Archives Investigator was the search tool chiefly providing information about incoming transfers and the Concise Guide, the latter the main catalogue for the pre-1992 collection. Therefore in May 2005, a major project was undertaken to fully integrate the Concise Guide information into the new system. After three years work (at a cost in staff time of more than $1M), the integration was completed in June 2008. Subsequently the Concise Guide was taken offline and Archives Investigator became the sole means of searching the collection.
  • The State Records Act was amended to clarify our authority to delegate the function of providing access to copies of State archives to third parties. The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008 No 62 commenced on the 1 July 2008. Schedule 1 of the Act, Minor amendments, includes the amendment to the State Records Act allowing State Records to enter agreements with third parties. Agreements with third parties will increase the diversity of channels by which the people of NSW can access the State archives collection, and ones relating to copying and publishing State archives will also enhance access to State archives, especially online publication, by providing alternative avenues of access.
    Several agreements have been entered into with individuals to allow State Records to upload their indexes onto its website. (The agreement with The Generations Network to provide access to digital copies of State archives on the Ancestry.com website is mentioned separately.)
  • On 20 October 2008 the NSW Department of Lands, in conjunction with State Records, launched a significant joint publishing initiative — a DVD containing an index, compiled by researcher Lois Sabine, and digital copies of some of the State’s earliest legal records. The nine volumes of Registers of assignments and other legal instruments, known as the ‘Old Registers’ (NRS 5604), record information on the earliest legal transactions in the colony and provide a valuable insight into this State’s colonial history from 1794 to 1824.
    The DVD can be accessed at State Records’ reading rooms, but it also available for purchase, all proceeds of sales going towards the preservation of the ‘Old Registers’ which are in a poor state of preservation.
  • During 2008 State Records started to experiment with ‘social networking’ web sites such as Flickr and You Tube. A number of images from Photo Investigator were placed on Flickr showcasing an interesting and broad selection of our photographic collection and six educational and informational videos were put on You Tube, to highlight the diversity of the work that is done at State Records.  Both sites have had many additions since then.
  • In late 2008 the Government Records Repository (GRR) launched a major new service – GRRWeb. GRRWeb is part of the GRR’s electronic inventory control system, RS-SQL, and allows clients real-time access to information about their records using a web-based interface. With the introduction of GRRWeb, approved users can quickly and easily query the GRR’s RS-SQL database via the Internet browser on their own PC. Clients can perform many basic account management tasks, such as data entry, adding files and boxes, and initiating requests for service direct to the GRR’s system. This allows clients to have control over their own records, even though they are stored off-site.
  • During the 2008/09 financial year an agreement was entered into with The Generations Network (Ancestry.com) to have the non-exclusive right to digitise and make available a large set of State archives already widely available on microfilm. The agreement also allows TGN to create indexes to the records. The digital copies and index are available on its Ancestry.com website. Free access to these digital records is available to users at the City and Kingswood reading rooms. As it is clear that funding for such projects is limited, State Records will be seeking to expand the range and quantity of archives available to the public through other agreements with commercial genealogical service providers.
  • Archives Outside is a blog established by State Records to provide interaction, promotion, outreach and guidance with, to and for keepers of archives in NSW. Launched in May 2009 it initially focused on the State Records Regional Repository Network, promoted the content of archival collections in New South Wales and provided information on topics and resources relating to the care and management of archives. The blog has expanded to include useful tips that may help with your research (such as how to read handwritten documents), advice on caring for your personal collection (such as removing sticky tape from documents) and other posts on Web 2.0 and archives.
    The collaborative posts in which experts contribute their knowledge on a range of topics through comments have been especially successful. The blog has attracted external notice receiving a nomination and then selected as a finalist for a Department of Services, Technology and Administration Excellence award; being selected for interview as an example of best practice by consultants preparing a report for the Government 2.0 Taskforce; and receiving national and international attention for our participation in Blue Shield Australia’s National May Day campaign.

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  • To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Lachlan Macquarie’s investiture as Governor of NSW, State Records developed a digital gallery illustrating Lachlan Macquarie’s achievements and key concerns during his time as Governor. The digital gallery, Lachlan Macquarie: visionary and builder, which was added to State Records’ website in January 2010, features 24 iconic documents together with transcriptions and commentary. The online display received official endorsement from the Macquarie 2010 Committee.
  • On 3 November 2010 a new online research service for historical land title records was launched at the State Records Centre. A joint initiative with the Land and Property Management Authority, State Records and the State Library, the service allows researchers to access a growing collection of land title records including Torrens Title Registers, Charting Maps (comprising Regional Parish Maps, Status Branch Parish Maps and Land Titles Office Charting Maps) and Crown Plans online in the reading rooms. The selected historical land title records are accessible through online ‘viewing kiosks’ in our reading rooms via an icon on the PC desktops which provides ‘access to PIXEL, a computer application that allows researchers to request and view the previously described historical land records as high quality colour images’.
  • To mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of State Records, a significant milestone in its history, an online exhibition and a 50th anniversary web page featuring 50 iconic items from State Records’ collection has been developed. The selection dates from 1788 to 1961, when the Archives Authority of NSW was established. Documents have been progressively added to the gallery in the months leading up to the actual date of the anniversary in the middle of the year. This online exhibition will continue to showcase the State archives after 2011.
    In addition to the exhibition historian Dr Peter Tyler has been commissioned to write a history of State Records, that will be published towards the middle of 2011. There are also a range of celebratory bookmarks and postcards. They are available in the reading rooms and as free giveaways for visitors. Digital copies of the bookmarks and postcards can also be downloaded from the 50th anniversary web page.
  • Following the receipt of Long-sought after funding from Treasury in February 2011 State Records commenced the implementation of a digital archives solution capable of accepting, preserving and making available born digital records of the NSW government as State archives. The digital archives infrastructure will complement and integrate with State Records’ existing systems and processes for the management and use of paper based archival records in line with the State Records Act 1998, will conform to international standards and best practice for trusted digital repositories, and will adopt common tools approached used by other Australasian government archives authorities.
    The funding provided will allow for a proposed three year project to deliver a digital archives facility. A Project Manager has been appointed and recruitment of the team and assessment of the accommodation requirements at Kingswood is presently underway.

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