Managing records of Commonwealth persons – Personal record collections

The National Archives of Australia (the Archives) is responsible for identifying, collecting, maintaining and making accessible the archival resources of the Commonwealth, which consist of Commonwealth records and other material of national or historical significance, or of public interest.

Personal record collections

The term 'personal record collections' is used by the Archives to refer to groups of records accumulated and maintained by significant individuals (for their own purposes) who served within, or were closely associated with, the Commonwealth Government. Personal records add to the understanding of Commonwealth records created by government departments and agencies.

Records within personal record collections are predominately private in nature, but complementary to records relating to individuals' official Commonwealth responsibilities.

  • Private records are generally the property of the individual rather than the Commonwealth, and include material such as personal photographs, letters to colleagues and family, awards and personal diaries.
  • Records created in connection with the individual's official Commonwealth responsibilities are Commonwealth records and need to be managed in line with the requirements of the Archives Act 1983.

The Archives currently prioritises the acquisition of personal records of current and former Governors-General and Prime Ministers.

The acquisition of personal records of other significant individuals, including Cabinet Ministers, who have previously donated their records to the Archives, is considered on a case-by-case basis according to the degree of national significance or of public interest.

The Archives does not collect the records of individuals with no connection or relationship to the Commonwealth.

For further information please contact personalrecords@naa.gov.au

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017