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Research Guides


Aboriginal Deaths in Custody: The Royal Commission and its Records, 1987–91


4 Background Papers of the Commissioners and Staff

During the life of the Royal Commission the Commissioners and the staff of the Commission created or accumulated a variety of correspondence, working papers and other records relating to their work. Much of this material is more substantial than purely administrative material and some is duplicated in other series.

RECORDS AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
The Commission's records identified as being background and working papers of the Commissioners and staff are:
General correspondence records of Commissioner D J O'Dea D4099
General correspondence records of Commissioner Muirhead D4101
General correspondence records of Commissioner J H Wootten D4107
General correspondence records of Commissioner P L Dodson D4131
General correspondence records of Commissioner L Wyvill D4132
General correspondence records of Commissioner E Johnston, QC D4135
Working papers of Dr A McGrath, Project Coordinator, NSW D4158
Working papers of J Bathgate, support staff, Victoria D4161
Miscellaneous records of K Whimp, Research Staff Coordinator, South Australia D4178
Folders and binders of papers maintained by the Hon. James Muirhead as Commissioner of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody M2777
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF COMMISSIONER D J O'DEA, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
These files consist mainly of correspondence material relating to various matters accumulated or created by Commissioner O'Dea. The records include material relating to policy and procedures, copies of exhibits, indexes, overviews as well as correspondence to individuals and organisations with an interest in the work of the Commission.
Series: D4099
Quantity: 5.58 metres in Perth
Emergency procedures, Corrective Services D4099, 1
Copy GO/23 custodial care manual D4099, 119
Research Paper No. 5 – drug testing in custody February 1989 D4099, 2
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF COMMISSIONER MUIRHEAD, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
These seven files consist of administrative material accumulated by Commissioner Muirhead during the course of the RCIADIC. This series has material from October 1987 to April 1989 and includes a notebook kept by Commissioner Muirhead as an index to his correspondence from June 1988 to April 1989.
Series: D4101
Quantity: 0.36 metres in Perth
Folders and binders of papers maintained by Hon. James Muirhead as Commissioner of the Royal Commission – December 1987 D4101, 1
Folders and binders of papers maintained by Hon. James Muirhead as Commissioner of the Royal Commission – July to August 1988 D4101, 3
Folders and binders of papers maintained by Hon. James Muirhead as Commissioner of the Royal Commission – Nov 1988 to Jan 1989 D4101, 5
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF COMMISSIONER J H WOOTTEN, ALPHABETICAL SERIES, 1988–90
These files consist of material accumulated by Commissioner J Wootten in the New South Wales Office of the RCIADIC. This series includes correspondence by Commissioner Wootten with individuals and organisations and working material such as annotated drafts of the National Report. Other files include terms of reference, procedures, research and notes made by Commissioner Wootten relating to his work with the Commission.
Series: D4107
Quantity: 3.78 metres in Sydney
New South Wales – Aboriginal deaths in custody and attempts since 31 May 1989 (up to October 1989) D4107, 1
New South Wales – staff – investigation officer D4107, 40
New South Wales – recommendations D4107, 129
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF COMMISSIONER P L DODSON, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1989–90
These files consist of general correspondence and working papers of Commissioner Dodson, one of the Commissioners appointed to the Royal Commission on 1 July 1989. This series includes general correspondence dealing with individual cases as well as material relating to discussion papers, reports, legal opinions, submissions and other related matters. Most of this material is duplicated in other series but this series was collected and often includes annotations by Commissioner Dodson.
Series: D4131
Quantity: 3.66 metres in Darwin, 3.24 metres in Perth
Full set of Commissions issued since Royal Commission setup
This item includes material from 'Aboriginal Law – Consultancy' to 'archiving'
B4131, 1
Document containing the following – Letter from Nugget Coombs, general correspondence from Manning Clarke and Dr Ian Gardner, response re – Tambling, Commissioner Wootten's draft document on underlying issues, media release – Charles Perkins call for review of the work of the Royal Commission D4131, 38
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought, the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF COMMISSIONER L WYVILL, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
These files consist of general correspondence and working papers of Commissioner Wyvill, one of the Commissioners appointed to the Royal Commission on 1 July 1989. Commissioner Wyvill was based in Brisbane and concentrated on Queensland issues. This series includes general correspondence dealing with analysis of individual cases as well as material relating to discussion papers, reports, procedures, legal opinions, statements and other related matters.
Series: D4132
Quantity: 1.98 metres in Brisbane
Adelaide – meeting of Commissioners 18 to 19/4/1990 agenda items 2 to 5 – research projects, research data, the timetable and action reports, Broome budget D4132, 20
Warrnambool meeting of Commissioners 24 to 25/7/1988 agenda items 1 to 7 D4132, 40
Queensland cases D4132, 64
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF COMMISSIONER E JOHNSTON QC, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
These files consist of general correspondence and working papers of Commissioner Elliot Frank Johnston QC, one of the Commissioners appointed to the Royal Commission on 1 July 1989. Commissioner Johnston was based in South Australia and the Northern Territory, and concentrated on issues in this area. This series includes general correspondence dealing with analysis of individual cases as well as material relating to discussion papers, reports, procedures, legal opinions, statements and other related matters.
Series: D4135
Quantity: 8.64 metres in Adelaide
Acts and Regulations D4135, 1
Consultations with Peter D'Abbs and Kevin Rae, October 1990 D4135, 50
Commissioners' meetings 1989 February, March D4135, 80
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
WORKING PAPERS OF DR A MCGRATH, PROJECT COORDINATOR, NEW SOUTH WALES, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
These records consist of general working papers of Dr Ann McGrath, History Project Coordinator for the Royal Commission. Her task was to coordinate the work of consultants in each State in writing a national history into Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relationships in Australia. Dr McGrath at this time was working at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. The sixteen files in this series include correspondence with the States and draft chapters and working papers.
Series: D4158
Quantity: 0.36 metres in Sydney
Consultants 16/7/1990 D4158, 1
Correspondence out 15/11/1990 D4158, 4
Public conferences July 1990 D4158, 8
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
WORKING PAPERS OF J BATHGATE, SUPPORT STAFF, VICTORIA, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
These twenty-four files consist mainly of working papers produced or collected by Jane Bathgate who worked for the Commission initially in Victoria and then South Australia. The files relate to the part of the final report produced by Ms Bathgate, covering health issues and attempted suicides.
Series: D4161
Quantity: 1.26 metres in Melbourne
Drugs SA resource literature D4161, 1
Health – mental health national report D4161, 4
Health – police training D4161, 8
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
MISCELLANEOUS RECORDS OF K WHIMP, RESEARCH STAFF COORDINATOR, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
This material consists mainly of working papers produced or collected by Kathy Whimp, who worked for the Commission as Research Staff coordinator in South Australia. These thirteen files relate to an unused executive summary, planning for the National Report and coordination of research consultancies.
Series: D4178
Quantity: 2.16 metres in Adelaide
Executive summary (not used) D4178, 1
Research master file D4178, 9
Working papers – resource files re: health, housing, sentencing, prisons, Aboriginal policing D4178, 13
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
FOLDERS AND BINDERS OF PAPERS MAINTAINED BY THE HON. JAMES MUIRHEAD AS COMMISSIONER OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION INTO ABORIGINAL DEATHS IN CUSTODY, 1987–89
This material was accumulated by Commissioner Muirhead during the establishment and proceedings of the Commission. The forty folders and binders include correspondence with the general public and Aboriginal organisations. They also include correspondence relating to the establishment of the Commission, appointment of Legal Counsel, as well as correspondence with ministers, judges and premiers. There are also transcripts of hearings, press releases and copies of the Interim Report and related documents.
Series: M2777
Quantity: 1.08 metres in Canberra
Royal Commission 'Establishment' M2777, 1
JM (12) Research Material /Memoranda (Canberra) M2777, 15
JM (24) Queensland Hearings (Canberra) M2777, 25
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).

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