National Archives of Australia

Issue 2 March 2011

In brief: Issue 2

Director-General takes up new position

Ross Gibbs

Ross Gibbs.

In February Ross Gibbs announced he was leaving the position of Director-General to take up the role of Director of the Archives’ Melbourne Office. Mr Gibbs’ eight years as Director-General have seen many changes. There have been five ministers with responsibility for the Archives, three prime ministers, two Advisory Council chairs – with a soon to be announced third – and the Archives has sat under three portfolio departments.

The vacancy in the Melbourne Office presented an opportunity for Mr Gibbs to return to his home town. He commenced in this role on 4 April.

Dr Stephen Ellis, Assistant Director-General of the Archives’ Operations and Preservation branch, has been appointed Acting Director-General until a permanent appointment is made.


Archives office re-locations

In 2010, the Archives announced that its offices in Darwin, Adelaide and Hobart would be co-located with other similar local organisations. Co-located offices will assist researchers by enabling access to state or territory records and Commonwealth records in the one place.

The first of these co-located offices – the South Australian Archives Centre – opened to the public on 5 April. The Centre provides reading room and research facilities for the Archives and State Records of South Australia in Leigh Street, Adelaide.

Agreement to co-location has also been reached with the Tasmanian and Northern Territory governments. The Archives and the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office are working towards implementing a co-located arrangement in the State Library of Tasmania building in Murray Street, Hobart, from October this year. In Darwin, it is expected that co-location with the Northern Territory Archives Service will commence in March or April 2012.

Read more about the Archives’ state office co-location project


Applications open for Archives research grants

The Archives offers three research grants designed to help scholars complete an innovative and quality research project that makes substantial use of the Archives’ collection:

  • Ian Maclean Award for archivists and other professionals who are interested in archival issues – up to $15,000
  • Frederick Watson Fellowship for established scholars – up to $15,000
  • Margaret George Award for talented, emerging scholars – up to $10,000.

The Archives is currently accepting applications for these grants. Applications must be submitted by Friday 6 May 2011, and the winners will be announced in September 2011.

Read more about how to apply for an Archives research grant.


Essays by and about Peter Scott 

Cover of Arrangement and Description

Cover of Arrangement and Description.

The Arrangement and Description of Archives Amid Administrative and Technological Change: essays by and about Peter J Scott brings together Peter Scott’s published writings on archives into a single volume, together with previously unpublished talks and university lectures. Archives staff member and editor of the publication, Adrian Cunningham, has worked closely with Scott to produce the book, which serves as a fitting legacy for Australia’s most significant archival thinker, writer and practitioner.

 Place your order through the Australian Society of Archivists website.

Land Councils Records Authority

The Archives has issued a records authority to assist four land councils: the Northern Land Council, Central Land Council, Tiwi Land Council and Anindilyakwa Land Council. These land councils play an essential role in assisting Aboriginal people claim, hold and manage traditional lands that are important to their identity and culture.

The records authority facilitates the transfer of culturally significant records to the Archives. It will also help to preserve these records for current researchers and future generations.


Check-up 2.0

Check-up 2.0, a tool for Australian Government agencies to assess the state of their information and records management practices, is now available. Building on the original Check-up, Check-up 2.0 incorporates an expanded rating scale of one to six, and allows agencies to track their information and records management capability and effectiveness over time. Agencies are also able to compare their results with similar agencies or across the whole of government.


Shake Your Family Tree

On 25 February the Archives’ fourth annual open day for family historians, Shake Your Family Tree, was held in Archives offices around the nation. More than 3200 people attended this successful event to participate in preservation workshops, talks, tours, demonstrations and introductory research training.

At the Archives’ National Office, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, and Minister for Privacy and Freedom of Information, officially launched the proceedings. Gai Brodtmann MP, Federal Member for Canberra, also attended.

As part of the Unexpected Discoveries panel discussion, horticulturalist and media personality Peter Cundall provided a humorous take on the content of his 50-year-old ASIO file.


Read the transcript


Frank Hurley visits the Archives

A Gogodala man, Aramia River, Western Province, December 1922

A Gogodala man, Aramia River, Western Province, December 1922. Courtesy Australian Museum

Frank Hurley: Journeys into Papua opened at the Archives on 18 March. Renowned photographer Hurley took several thousand glass plate negatives during two journeys to Papua in the early 1920s. In 1927 he sold around 700 images, as well as many artefacts, to the Australian Museum. This exhibition, from the Australian Museum, highlights a remarkable collection and reveals a lesser-known part of Hurley’s career.

Frank Hurley: Journeys into Papua is open until 29 May.

Find out more about Archives current and future events.


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