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Research Guides

A Nation's Imagination: Australia’s Copyright Records, 1854–1968

National security

Many creative people, especially those who were members of the Communist Party or affiliated with other left-leaning political or artistic groups, came to the attention of the Commonwealth Investigation Service (CIS) and its successor, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

Access to these records is a little different to that for other records in the collection. The National Archives does not hold indexes to investigation case files. A researcher will need to request that the Archives lodges an application with ASIO to discover whether a case file exists for a particular person. If a case file does exist, the record will be identified by ASIO and a copy transferred to the Archives. Fact sheets 33, 52, 53 and 69 (available online at provide more information about these records and access to them.

Investigation case files have already been sought and released for a small number of people. ASIO sometimes created more than one file about an individual and their activities, eg there are 14 records about the writer Katharine Susannah Prichard. For associated groups there are also often many records – eg RecordSearch records 36 record entries assembled by ASIO about the New Theatre League, including film and photographic material as well as paper files.

Personal Files, 1949–
Series: A6119
Quantity: 68.4 metres
Recorded by: Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (CA 1297)
Janet Gertrude (Nettie) Palmer, Vance Edward Palmer, 1948–52 A6119, 112
Dorothy Coade Davies, 1949–56

Also known as 'Dorothy Coade Flood' and 'Dorothy Hewitt'.

A6119, 282
Oriel Gray, 1946–59

This item is digitised.

A6119, 660
Subject files, 1949–
Series: A6122
Quantity: 45.5 metres
Recorded by: Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (CA 1297)
Realist Writers Group: Queensland, 1952–by 1959 A6122, 1213
Sydney Film Society, 1954–58 A6122, 1467
Fellowship of Australian Writers, Volume 5, 1961–63 A6122, 1495


Chapter 5
Searching Further Afield in the Archives