Timeline of archives in New South Wales

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This article highlights the timeline of the establishment of the State Records Authority of New South Wales.

1821 Establishment of the position of Colonial Secretary and Registrar of the Records who is responsible for government administration in New South Wales.

1879 Letter from J.H. Heaton recommending appointment of Dr G.H. Stanley as Keeper of Archives in the Colonial Secretary’s Office. This proposal was not acted on.

1887 First serious proposals for the establishment of an Archives Office made just before the 100th anniversary of white settlement in Australia in 1888. This led to the publication of the History of New South Wales from the Records and the Historical Records of New South Wales under the direction of James Bonwick (1817-1906) who can be regarded as the first official government archivist in NSW (appointed 13 March 1888.)

1888 Proposal by George Burnett Barton (1836-1901) brother of Edmund Barton to establish a repository for public records in NSW

1903 Comment by F. .M. Bladen, Principal Librarian of the Public Library of NSW ‘It is a disgrace to Australia as an enlightened nation that there is no place where the original papers bearing on the discovery of the continent; the exploration and settlement of the states; the constitutional history and records of their courts of law and judicial and political institutions can be consulted by the student of history.’

1910 Opening of the Mitchell Library. Trustees of the Public Library consider ‘that no time should be lost towards the establishment of an Archives Office’

1915 Letter from Sir William Dixson (later benefactor of the Mitchell Library) to the Chief Secretary requesting the establishment of an archives department

1953 Appointment of Allan Horton to the position of Archives Officer at the Public Library of NSW and establishment of Archives Department within the Public Library of NSW

1955 Establishment of Government Records Repository (responsible to the NSW Public Service Board) and work commences on the preparation of archives legislation

1960 Archives Act proclaimed to commence on 1 June 1961

1961 29 June first meeting of the Archives Authority of New South Wales

Original Board members: Principal Archivist G.D. Richardson Chairman Dr H S Wyndham CBE, MA, Ed D, Dip Ed Deputy Chair Mr G.M.Gray CBE, BA, Other members The Hon Mr Justice W H Collins LLB, Mr Senior Inspector J.R.Clancy, Dr George Mackaness OBE, MA, DLitt, Hon D Sc, Mr John Metcalfe BA, FLA, Mr F H Rogers MA, FLA, FNZLA, Major General J R Stephenson CBE, DSO, ED, Professor J M Ward MA, LLB

1963 Appointment of Mr R F Doust, BA as Senior Archivist

1964 Site of about 50 acres (200,000 m2) acquired for a permanent repository at Kingswood

1967 Allan Horton appointed as member of the Archives Authority of NSW

1973 Retirement of Gordon Richardson, Principal Archivist and appointment of Russell Doust, Acting Principal Archivist

1975 November 28. Government Records Repository at Kingswood opens

1976 Ian Maclean appointed Principal Archivist

1976 Establishment of the Records Management Office and Archives Office becomes administratively separate from the Public Library of NSW

1978 Archives and Records Management Offices move from the State Library to a new purpose built archives building in Sydney’s historic Rocks area

1979 City Reading Room opens – for the first time the Archives Office has its own separate reading room and exhibition area

1980 John Cross appointed Principal Archivist

1982 Abolition of the Department of Services (previously the Chief Secretary’s Department)

1985/6 25th anniversary. Archives Act 1960 and 1 June 1986 establishment of Archives Authority of NSW

1987 Allan Horton resigns from the Archives Authority on 31 May making him the longest serving Board member. Reading Room opened at Western Sydney Records Centre

1998 Appointment of David Roberts as Director 2 June - State Records Act assented to, effective from 1 January 1999

2003 Review of State Records Act

2005 State Records Act (amendment 15 July 2005) and opening of the Stage 6 Building at the Western Sydney Records Centre, Kingswood.

2005/06 Review of State Records by Council on the Cost and Quality of Government

2006 November State Records moves from Arts NSW to the Department of Commerce

2007 The Convict Records of Australia held by State Records NSW and the Archives Office of Tasmania (now part of LINC Tasmania with the State Library of Tasmania) are inscribed onto the International UNESCO Memory of the World Register

2008 Alan Ventress appointed Director

2012 June - Sydney Records Centre at The Rocks closed

2014 Geoff Hinchcliffe appointed Director

2015 November 28. 40 years since Kingswood site opened. The Western Sydney Records Centre comprises the State archives collection and the Government Records Repository.

2016 October 25. State Records renamed as "State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales" and may be known as State Archives, State Archives NSW or State Archives and Records NSW.

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