Australian Capital Territory Archives and Libraries

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Australia Gotoarrow.png Australian Capital Territory Gotoarrow.png Archives and Libraries

The Australian Capital Territory is home to a number of libraries and archival collections. As the site of the national capital, it hosts collections of national significance including specialist collections. The two universities have research and teaching libraries and institutional and specialist archives. The Parliament and public service have collections although these may have restricted access. The ACT Public Library and other community libraries have holdings of interest to family and local historians.

National Public Collections

National Archives of Australia

The National Office of the National Archives of Australia (NAA) is located in Parkes, ACT. The NAA is the official repository for the Commonwealth Government including the personal papers of Commonwealth officeholders and senior employees. It holds significant records of interest to family historians including military, immigration and naturalisation files. It also offers advice about conserving your personal archives.

Street address Queen Victoria Terrace, Parkes, ACT
Postal address PO Box 7425, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610
Phone +61 (0)2 6212 3600
Fax +61 (0)2 6212 3699

If you are unable to visit Canberra to use the reading room, you may be able to request copying or use a professional researcher.

Access Reader's Ticket
A closed period of 30 years applies to most records. Some are redacted or withheld on national security grounds. Not required to search/browse collection online, but issued to all researchers who wish to request material.

National Library of Australia

The National Library of Australia (NLA) claims to hold "the greatest collection in the world of material relating to Australia and the Australian people. It ranges from the earliest European works about the Great Southern Land to the most current publications. The collection includes all formats of material, from books and magazines to pictures, photographs, maps, sheet music, oral history recordings, manuscript papers, ephemera and much, much more".

Street address Parkes Place, Canberra, ACT
Postal address Parkes Place, Canberra 2600
Phone + 61 (0)2 6262 1111
Fax +61 (0)2 6257 1703
Email Online enquiry form
Access Reader's Ticket
Generally open and immediate access but some material should be ordered ahead of a visit and some manuscripts have restricted access. A library card is not required for all materials but Australian residents may apply for a library card which widens access.

National Specialist Collections

Australian Dictionary of Biography

The National Centre of Biography conducts biographical research on prominent and representative Australians. It has a computer database containing references relating to over 20,000 individuals, a biographical card index consisting of an estimated 300,000 entries and obituaries of those who died in the period 1981 to the present. It publishes the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Street address Coombs Building, Fellows Road, Acton ACT
Postal address Australian Dictionary of Biography, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200
Phone +61 (02) 6249 2676
Fax +61 (02) 6257 1893
Access Reader's Ticket
Advisable to contact ahead of a visit. Researchers must sign the copyright and access agreement.

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) describes itself as "the world’s premier institution for information and research about the cultures and lifestyles of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, past and present." It claims to hold "the world’s largest collections of printed and other resource materials for Indigenous Studies" including films, photographs, video and audio recordings.

Street address Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula, ACT
Postal address GPO Box 553, Canberra 2601
Phone +61 (02) 6246 1111
Fax +61 (02) 6261 4285
Access Reader's Ticket
Advance notice of visits required to access special collections.

Basser Library

Housed within the Australian Academy of Science the Basser Library specialises in the history of science in Australia. Its manuscript collection concentrates on the personal papers of prominent Australian scientists and records of scientific societies.

Street address Gordon Street, Acton, ACT
Postal address GPO Box 783, Canberra 2601
Phone +61 (02) 6247 9024
Fax +61 (02) 6257 4620

Access Reader's Ticket
Advisable to contact ahead of a visit. Open to all bona fide researchers. -