ArchivesACT helps researchers to have access to ACT Government records that are more than 20 years old. That can include files, maps, plans, photographs and many, many other types of documents created by the ACT Government in the course of its business, since self-government in 1989. We can also provide access to many records relating to the administration of the ACT by the Commonwealth government prior to 1989.
Government archives can provide a wealth of information about the Canberra community. Think of all of the areas of life that the ACT Government is involved in, and imagine the kinds of information that might need to be recorded to do that work: health, education, law and order, city services, land development and planning, community development, arts, sports and recreation, tourism, economic management, emergency services —the list goes on. These records can help us to understand how our community has evolved and how the decisions and actions of government have influenced us in the past and today.
There are some things that we can’t provide you with, although we will find ways to help you have access to this information when we can. We don’t have:
• Private records of individual people, businesses or community organisations. But our friends at the ACT Heritage Library may be able to help.
• Australian (Commonwealth) Government records that don’t relate to the ACT. Get in touch with our colleagues at the National Archives of Australia for help finding those archives.
• ACT Government records that are less than 20 years old. You may be able to apply for these documents under the Freedom of Information Act, or see them through the Open Access Information Scheme.
• ACT Government records that are more than 20 years old but which need to be restricted, usually because they contain personal information. You can, though, apply for information about yourself through FOI.
• Births, Deaths and Marriages records. You can apply for copies of, or extracts from, these documents through Access Canberra.
• Court records. While historical court records are generally available for public access, this is managed by the Courts themselves, and you can contact them directly for information.
• ACT Policing records. ACT Police is part of the Commonwealth government, so historical police records are held by the National Archives of Australia.
• Some other specific types of records may be available elsewhere online or through dedicated government services.
If you are not sure where to find something you want, ask us and we will do our best to point you in the right direction.