NSW State Archives

NSW State Archives Keeper of the NSW State Archives Collection from the late 18th Century to today. Explore the archives
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Welcome to the page of NSW State Archives - we are the record keepers of the government of NSW with a vast collection of historical records and archives dating back to the European settlement of Australia in 1788. We’re here to communicate the latest news and updates about the State Archives Collections, which contains over 13 million historical record items. You’ll find us on this page b

etween 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. We’ll do our best to respond to you within 1 - 3 business days. Questions which relate to a specific activity within the NSW Government may be referred to the relevant Department for best response. As a public service agency, we’re unable to respond to political commentary. You can find our Community Guidelines here: https://bit.ly/2Mx8pcN

We are now Museums of History NSW, a new cultural institution that will change the way our past is experienced.  The vas...
22/11/2022

We are now Museums of History NSW, a new cultural institution that will change the way our past is experienced.

The vast collection of the NSW State Archives has combined with the 12 historic houses and museums, and the important collections previously in the care of Sydney Living Museums.

Together we will provide greater access to these assets and to a broad range of stories about our social, cultural and political histories and identities in New South Wales.

Thank you for all your support here on Facebook. You can continue to see this content and much more on the Museums of History NSW website here: https://mhnsw.au/

On this day 104 years ago, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after four years of continuous warfare. With their ...
10/11/2022

On this day 104 years ago, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after four years of continuous warfare. With their armies retreating and close to collapse, German leaders signed an Armistice, bringing to an end the First World War. Each year on 11 November, Australians observe one minute’s silence at 11 am, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts and appreciation of their sacrifice. We will remember them.

Image: Railway float: showing maids on one side, 1944, State Rail, State Archives Collection, NRS21573-2-1-PR188

  28 October 1916 Australians went to the polls to vote in a plebiscite on wartime conscription.  Even the soldiers at t...
27/10/2022

28 October 1916 Australians went to the polls to vote in a plebiscite on wartime conscription. Even the soldiers at the front had the opportunity to make their voices heard.

The divisive debate fractured communities across the country. The ‘No’ vote won. In New South Wales, 474,544 people, or 57% of voters, were against conscription. Nationally, it was a 52% ‘no’ vote.

A second plebiscite on 20 December 1917 resulted, again, in a 'no' vote.

https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/archives/magazine/onthisday/28-october-1916

Are you a user of the records created by NSW State Government (including State archives)? Would you like to have a say a...
25/10/2022

Are you a user of the records created by NSW State Government (including State archives)? Would you like to have a say about the policies and strategic plans of the State Records Authority of NSW (SRNSW) and the identification of records to be retained as State archives?

We have an exciting opportunity coming up. Please review this advertisement about a vacancy on the Board of SRNSW https://boards.dpc.nsw.gov.au/home/view/885/

  24 October 1889 Sir Henry Parkes, then Premier of NSW, made his famous speech, the 'Tenterfield Oration', in favour of...
23/10/2022

24 October 1889 Sir Henry Parkes, then Premier of NSW, made his famous speech, the 'Tenterfield Oration', in favour of Federation. The speech was given at the Tenterfield School of Arts in northern NSW in order to promote free trade across colonial borders and called for "a great national government for all Australia".

Henry Parkes served five terms as NSW Premier between 1872 and 1891. He became known as the 'Father of Federation'.
http://ow.ly/EKmS50KVkaa

  19 October 1872 the Beyers and Holtermann nugget, the largest single piece of reef gold ever discovered in the world w...
19/10/2022

19 October 1872 the Beyers and Holtermann nugget, the largest single piece of reef gold ever discovered in the world was found by workers of the Star of Hope Mining Company at Hill End. It stood 144.8cm high, 66cm wide and 10.2cm thick.

http://ow.ly/oRkT50L1zJB

  18 October 1909, New South Wales agreed to surrender approx. 2400 square kms of the state to the Commonwealth for the ...
17/10/2022

18 October 1909, New South Wales agreed to surrender approx. 2400 square kms of the state to the Commonwealth for the creation of the Australian Capital Territory. The agreement was signed by Prime Minister Alfred Deakin and NSW Premier Charles Wade.

The site of the federal capital was of such importance in NSW that it is considered to be a contributing factor to the colony voting 'Yes' to federation in the 1899 referendum. NSW had been promised, in 1898, that the federal capital would be within its boundaries but not within 100 miles of Sydney.

The Commonwealth Parliament was to select the site and would meet in Melbourne until a capital was provided. Despite many suggestions and lobbying for various sites from local federal capital leagues, politicians and the press, a site could not be agreed on and all choices were hotly debated until the Yass–Canberra district was finally selected.

Walter Burley Griffin won an international competition in 1912 to design the capital. The official name of the capital was not known until 'Canberra' was announced by Lady Denman in 1913. It was not until 9 May 1927 that the Commonwealth Parliament was formally opened in Canberra.

http://ow.ly/weML50Lbjvn

We have some exciting news! The Museums of History NSW Act 2022 was recently created paving the way for a new cultural i...
16/10/2022

We have some exciting news! The Museums of History NSW Act 2022 was recently created paving the way for a new cultural institution focused on the history of the state.

This Act establishes Museums of History NSW (MHNSW), bringing together NSW State Archives and Sydney Living Museums.

Alongside the creation of MHNSW will be the formation of State Records NSW (SRNSW) – a separate and dedicated agency for recordkeeping standards, regulation, advice, education and policy.

We look forward to sharing updates with you as we work towards the launch of MHNSW.

Read more: http://ow.ly/MI5Z50LbiWz

Image: The Mint. Photo © Douglas Riley for Sydney Living Museums. NSW State Archives. Photo © NSW State Archives

  is coming up 24-28 October and we're holding an in-person event "Stationery binding: Intricate examples from the NSW S...
11/10/2022

is coming up 24-28 October and we're holding an in-person event "Stationery binding: Intricate examples from the NSW State Archives Collection"

WHEN: Wed 26 October @ 10.30am
WHERE: NSW State Archives
BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL: http://ow.ly/NI0850KVkfC

Stationery bindings—books intended to be written in—are often characterised by a tendency towards durability and function over beauty. Encompassing ledgers, account books and notebooks, these ‘work horse’ volumes were almost completely bound by hand and reinforced to withstand heavy use; this utility often came at the expense of the tooling, detail and grandeur of other binding types.

We'll be presenting intricately bound examples and ornamental lacing patterns found in the NSW State Archives collection. Come along and view collection highlights and participate in a hands-on session exploring vellum lacing patterns.

Search 200,000+ entries from the Colonial Secretary's correspondence 1826-1896!The Colonial Secretary was the pre-eminen...
10/10/2022

Search 200,000+ entries from the Colonial Secretary's correspondence 1826-1896!

The Colonial Secretary was the pre-eminent figure in public life during much of the 19th Century and the records are among the most valuable sources of information on all aspects of the history of the Colony and the State of NSW. This select index, compiled by Joan Reese, Linda Bowman and Aileen Trinder, indexes the Colonial Secretary's main series of letters received for the years 1826-1896.

Search: http://ow.ly/n7oI50L1v0U

Prior to the 1850's the index is very selective and contains mostly the names of convicts and others of interest who had written to the Governor or the Colonial Secretary on various matters. From the 1850's and onwards a much wider range of material is covered such as:
- Immigration
- Admission and discharges of children into and out of orphan schools and the industrial and training schools
- Warrants for admission to and notification of death/discharge from asylums
- Memorials or petitions from inhabitants of towns and villages including their signatures
- Applications for burials in the Devonshire Street and Camperdown cemeteries
- Government employees
- Lists of Aboriginal people in particular areas and lists of blankets distributed to Aboriginal people
- Maps, plans, sketches and tracings
- Apprehension of bushrangers and runaways
- Reports, printed circulars and By-Laws for various localities
- Military, Military Forces and Regiments

09/10/2022
  7 October 1916 Taronga Zoo officially opened on the shores of Sydney Harbour in Mosman, on the traditional land of the...
06/10/2022

7 October 1916 Taronga Zoo officially opened on the shores of Sydney Harbour in Mosman, on the traditional land of the Cammeraygal people. Taronga Zoo was the first public zoo in New South Wales; it initially opened in 1884 at Billy Goat Swamp in Moore Park, on the site now occupied by Sydney Boys High and Sydney Girls High.

The NSW Government granted 43 acres for the new bar-free zoo in Mosman. The zoo was home to monkeys, seals, elephants and over 500 birds.

Browse more photos in our catalogue http://ow.ly/xYpk50KViKh

Join us next week for our mini webinar on private hospital records. Whilst we don't hold records of patients in private ...
05/10/2022

Join us next week for our mini webinar on private hospital records. Whilst we don't hold records of patients in private hospitals in the Archives Collection, there are records you can use to find out more about the hospitals themselves. This webinar will examine the records that inform us about the operation of private hospitals in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

When: Friday 14 October 10.30am
Register: http://ow.ly/Rghs50KVjIa

04/10/2022

How did people holiday in the early 20th century? This image shows the picturesque scenery at Wallacia, near Penrith, which made the site a popular holiday destination for city-dwellers in the 1910s. It was promoted, alongside other western Sydney locations, in the NSW Government’s tourism portfolio. Motor cars allowed for easy travel from Penrith train station to nearby resorts, where visitors could enjoy picnicking, walking and hunting.

See this image in Sydney Snapshots at the Museum of Sydney, which explores highlights from the vast Government Printing Office collection held by NSW State Archives.

Enjoy free entry daily

Pre-book your tickets online: slm.is/sydney-snapshots

Photo: View on the Nepean [River] below the weir, Wallacia, June 1918. NSW State Archives: NRS 4481, St6274

The records of our latest webinar on the digitised records in our Collection is now online. We've been undertaking a lar...
03/10/2022

The records of our latest webinar on the digitised records in our Collection is now online. We've been undertaking a large digitisation project of at-risk material - find out about the glass plate negatives depicting life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, our digitised insolvency files and school files.

http://ow.ly/thLv50KViRl

  30 Sep 1813 the 'holey dollar' and 'dump' coins became legal tender in NSW by a proclamation issued by Governor Macqua...
30/09/2022

30 Sep 1813 the 'holey dollar' and 'dump' coins became legal tender in NSW by a proclamation issued by Governor Macquarie (which also made it an offence to melt them down or export them). To address the acute shortage of coinage in the colony, the British authorities had arranged with the Directors of the East India Company that £10,000 worth of dollars be purchased in India and shipped to NSW ‘on the Government account’, and 40,000 Spanish dollars were received in late 1812.

To double available coins and ensure they remained in the colony Macquarie commissioned convicted forger William Henshall to cut the centre (the dump) out of each coin and stamp them with NSW. The smaller 'dump' was worth fifteen pence and the larger 'holey dollar' (with a hole in the centre) was worth five shillings. Although these coins became legal tender on 30 September they were not available for general issue until January 1814.

http://ow.ly/MyZG50Kmuac

The recording of our Conditional Purchase Q&A session is now available. Conditional purchase was a process of obtaining ...
28/09/2022

The recording of our Conditional Purchase Q&A session is now available.

Conditional purchase was a process of obtaining a Crown Grant of land in NSW before it was surveyed. Watch as we discuss how to navigate this tricky area of research.

http://ow.ly/6SMN50KNuzg

  27 September 1851 the last known official duel in NSW was fought between Sir Thomas Mitchell and Sir Stuart Alexander ...
27/09/2022

27 September 1851 the last known official duel in NSW was fought between Sir Thomas Mitchell and Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson. Mitchell was the Surveyor General and a well-known explorer of NSW and Victoria. Donaldson was a well-known settler of the New England region and was later elected to the Legislative Council and became Premier of NSW in 1856.

It was while campaigning for re-election that Donaldson and Mitchell exchanged words and Mitchell demanded a duel. Both men fired three shots each, with Mitchell's last shot reportedly blowing off Donaldson's hat.

📸Sir Thomas Mitchell. NRS-4481-3-[7/16021]-St14771 and Stuart Alexander Donaldson NRS-4481-3-[7/16250]-St561_[2]

http://ow.ly/wtPN50KCX4I

We will be closed tomorrow Thursday 22 September for the National Day of Mourning for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
21/09/2022

We will be closed tomorrow Thursday 22 September for the National Day of Mourning for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Our Reading Room at the Western Sydney Records Centre (WSRC) will be closed to the public on Saturday 17 September.This ...
14/09/2022

Our Reading Room at the Western Sydney Records Centre (WSRC) will be closed to the public on Saturday 17 September.

This is so our team can carry out some technical upgrades. We apologise for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Please check our website for updates http://ow.ly/QMuv50KBMIg

  13 September 1955 the NSW Government launched an international design​ competition for an Opera House at Bennelong Poi...
13/09/2022

13 September 1955 the NSW Government launched an international design​ competition for an Opera House at Bennelong Point in Sydney. The competition was announced by Premier Joe Cahill and received 233 entries from architects in 32 countries around the world. Jørn Utzon was announced as the winner in 1957 and construction commenced in 1959.

http://ow.ly/7roW50Kmuon

To mark the NSW Proclamation Ceremony of His Majesty King Charles III we’re sharing some photos from our collection of H...
12/09/2022

To mark the NSW Proclamation Ceremony of His Majesty King Charles III we’re sharing some photos from our collection of His Royal Highness, Prince of Wales visiting Sydney.

Image 1: Visit of Prince of Wales to NSW Parliament House (150th anniversary), 1974. NRS-21689-1-22-GPO3_29125

Image 2: Visit of Prince of Wales to NSW Parliament House (150th anniversary), 1974. NRS-21689-1-22-GPO3_29130

Image 3: His Royal Highness, Prince of Wales at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 1981. NRS-21689-1-14-GPO3_18693

Image 4: His Royal Highness, Prince of Wales at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 1981. NRS-21689-1-14-GPO3_18694

For more on Her Late Majesty’s life, contribution and how you can pay tribute, click here: https://www.nsw.gov.au

10/09/2022

On behalf of NSW State Archives and Sydney Living Museums, I send deep sympathies to the Royal Family and acknowledge the service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who looms large in our history.

Over the course of Her Late Majesty’s historic reign, many social, cultural and political changes occurred in NSW. To demonstrate just how much has happened -- when television was launched in Australia, our new Head of State had been on the throne for four years.

As Her Late Majesty continued as Queen so too did the changes, pubs in NSW were allowed to open past 6pm, compulsory military service was reintroduced and then removed, Indigenous Australians gained the right to vote, the ban on the employment of married women in our public service was abolished, capital punishment was ceased, our currency became decimal, daylight savings was introduced in NSW and the White Australia Policy was officially dismantled. All this happened before I was born, under 7 prime ministers and 7 NSW premiers.

For me noblesse oblige is the watchword of the life of Her Late Majesty and her commitment, grace and dignity live on.

Vale Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

- A message from Adam Lindsay, CEO, NSW State Archives and Sydney Living Museums

Video: The Queen’s Album held in the NSW State Archives Collection

Marking the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with this image taken on the 1954 Royal Tour of Australia.For more...
08/09/2022

Marking the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with this image taken on the 1954 Royal Tour of Australia.

For more on Her Late Majesty’s life, contribution and how you can pay tribute: https://www.nsw.gov.au

Image: NRS-21573-2-4-RV6 http://ow.ly/9ZFM50KEZ8I

Join us next week for a LIVE Q&A on what we're digitising in the Collection. We've been undertaking a large digitisation...
07/09/2022

Join us next week for a LIVE Q&A on what we're digitising in the Collection. We've been undertaking a large digitisation project of at-risk material in the State Archives Collection. Find out about the glass plate negatives depicting life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, our digitised insolvency files and school files.

WHEN: Friday 16 Sep @ 10:30
REGISTER: http://ow.ly/kZYi50KBMEm

Submit your questions about the digitisation project by Monday 12 Sep.

New to our online Copy Service – c.30,000 bankruptcy files dating from 1888 to 1929. Choose a digital file or hard copy....
07/09/2022

New to our online Copy Service – c.30,000 bankruptcy files dating from 1888 to 1929. Choose a digital file or hard copy. Simply search a name in the Online Index, click on “Details” at the far right of the screen and add the entry to the shopping cart http://ow.ly/5hmj50KBMxQ

Bankruptcy is a state in which a person is unable to pay creditors and is required to undergo a legal process that usually results in liquidation of their estate to meet expenses. Bankruptcy files contain lists of creditors that the bankrupt person owed money to and debtors that owed money to the bankrupt person. The files also include receipts and invoices that document the minute detail of daily life. The bankrupt person also provides a statement about why they became bankrupt.

From 1788-1842 c.80,000 convicts were transported to NSW. Their records tell us so much! To learn more join us in conver...
29/08/2022

From 1788-1842 c.80,000 convicts were transported to NSW. Their records tell us so much! To learn more join us in conversation with Josh Szeps on today at 12:30pm
http://ow.ly/pFLU50KpVeO

26/08/2022

Let's go for

Join us tomorrow @ 10:30am for a LIVE Q&A on Conditional Purchase records.Conditional purchase was a process for obtaini...
24/08/2022

Join us tomorrow @ 10:30am for a LIVE Q&A on Conditional Purchase records.

Conditional purchase was a process for obtaining a Crown Grant of land in NSW before it was surveyed. In this Live Q&A we'll discuss how to navigate this tricky area of research.

REGISTER: http://ow.ly/1vvH50HmtOW

The recording of our recent Immigration & Shipping webinar is now online. Looking for records of immigration to Sydney b...
24/08/2022

The recording of our recent Immigration & Shipping webinar is now online. Looking for records of immigration to Sydney before 1923? These records are held in our Collection. Find out how to search for convicts, free arrivals (assisted & unassisted), crew and military

http://ow.ly/R5BV50KoTnr

Address

161 O'Connell Street
Sydney, NSW
2747

Opening Hours

Tuesday 9am - 5pm
Wednesday 9am - 5pm
Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday 9am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm

Telephone

+61296731788

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