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Research Guides

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


Image 19: Advertising card, 1903.

Image 19: Advertising card, 1903.
NAA: D4477, 479
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The following series may contain information of interest to researchers. The series are listed chronologically.

Requests for official forms and details for applications for letters patent in South Australia, 1877–78

This series contains folders of correspondence requesting forms and information for applications for letters patent. The information provided includes the name of the writer and the date received. Replies to some of the correspondence may be found in outwards letter-books (see D4377).

Series: AP476/9
Quantity: 0.06 metres
Recorded by: SA, Patents, Copyrights and Trade Marks Offices (CA 6825)
Register of Copyright Designs, 1878–1906

This series consists of a single register entitled Book A, The Copyright Act, 1878, Part 1, Section 5, Register of Copyright Designs. Among the information recorded in this register are registration numbers and dates, terms of copyright (in years), the names and addresses of proprietors and the date of first publication. The register also contains information about assignments and transfers.

Series: AP494/8
Quantity: 0.05 metres
Recorded by: SA, Patents, Copyrights and Trade Marks Offices (CA 6825)
Registers of Copyright in Designs, Part C, 1879–1906

This series consists of four registers of copyright in designs material. Among the information recorded was the design number, date of registration, title or nature of design, name and address of proprietor(s), date of first publication and details of assignment or transfer.

Series: SP1006/10
Quantity: 3.6 metes
Recorded by: NSW, Registrar of copyright (CA 1275)
Seals of the copyright office, 1906–69

This series contains two Commonwealth Copyright Office seals. One seal is made of copper and bronze and the other is made of steel. The seals display the Australian Coat of Arms along with the words 'Commonwealth of Australia Copyright Office'.

The bronze and copper (obverse) seal appears to have been mounted on a printing plate to create a raised impression of the seal on paper.

The steel (reverse) seal appears to have been used to make wax impressions onto registered documents as traces of red wax are still to be found in some of the etching.

Neither seal corresponds to the impression of the seal found in the Commonwealth Gazette 1906 (p. 856) in the notification of the Governor-General's approval of the Seal of the Commonwealth Copyright Office, 4 July 1906 for the Commonwealth Copyright Act 1905.

The Copyright Act 1912, which repealed the 1905 Act, provided for the continued use of the original seal. Some time after the Copyright Office ceased to exist in April 1968, the obverse and the reverse of the then operative seal were transferred to archival custody.

Series: A3330
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: 1906–11 Department of Trade and Customs (CA 10); 1911–69 Attorney-General's Department (CA 5)
Entertainment tax files, 'E' prefix, 1916–43

This series covers various matters from general correspondence to legislative matters, some of which may deal with copyright issues.

Series: A6817
Quantity: 0.9 metres
Recorded by: 1916–21 Department of the Treasury [I] (CA 11); 1921–43 Commissioner of Taxation, ACT (CA 995)
Register of applications for screening of films for import, 1917–35

This series consists of registers showing details of applications of films to be censored. Among the information contained in the registers are film titles, distributing agents, importers, Censor's decisions and notes, and classifications.

Series: SP348/1
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: Commonwealth Film Censorship Board [III]
Registers of applications for screening of imported films, 1922–28

This series contains indexes alphabetically arranged by film title of applications to the Film Censor for registration of films.

Series: SP348/3
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: Commonwealth Film Censor, Sydney (CA 598)
Papers of the Royal Commission into the Moving Picture Industry, 1927

This series consists of printed drafts, annotated drafts, printers' drafts and the final report of the commission.

Series: AA1980/336
Recorded by: Royal Commission on the Moving Picture Industry in Australia (CA 2305)
Exhibits, 1928–33

This series contains copies of correspondence, reports, balance sheets, memoranda and articles of association, press cuttings and other documents submitted as evidence to the commission.

Series: CP660/35
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: Royal Commission on Performing Rights (CA 2449)
Film registration applications, 'A' Prefix, c1929

This series contains material on various films as part of the process of registering them. The censorship decision is recorded along with the name of the film, its producer, length, date of viewing and the Censor's signature.

Series: SP1191/1
Quantity: 37 metres
Recorded by: Commonwealth Film Censorship Board [II] (CA 144)
Registers of application (numerical) for screening of films for export (with index), c1929–32

This series contains registers of applications for permission to export Australian-produced films. The registers contain information such as name of exporter, title of film, footage, reels, copies and the result of the application.

Series: SP348/4
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: Commonwealth Film Censor, Sydney (CA 598)
Film Registration Applications, 'A' prefix, 1929–40

Each file in this series contains an application for film registration, a synopsis and description of the film, a copy of the certificate of registration and a cover sheet with the Censor's notes. Registration of films was refused or alterations demanded to be made to them if they contained material considered to breach regulations specified in legislation (eg was blasphemous, indecent or obscene, or was likely to be injurious to morality).

Series: SP6/1
Quantity: 97 metres
Recorded by: Commonwealth Film Censorship Board [II] (CA 144)
Joseph Lyons (Leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister), correspondence, 1931–39
Series: CP103/19
Quantity: 2.34 metres
Recorded by: The Rt Hon. J A Lyons PC, CH (CP 254); Hon. Dame Enid Muriel Lyons AD, GBE (CP 928)
Correspondence 'S' 1932, part 2

In terms of this guide, this item has mostly curiosity value. However, it may provide useful clues to researchers interested in the organisations whose correspondence is held in the item. If nothing else, it illustrates the variety of correspondence and contact that comes the way of a prime minister.

This is a substantial loose file of miscellaneous correspondence on a wide variety of subjects. Of particular interest to this guide are The Duckboard (Vol. 7, No. 1, 1 January 1923), and correspondence (letters and telegrams, August–October 1933) between Cinesound Productions Ltd and the Prime Minister about the release of the film The Squatter's Daughter, and arrangements for a special screening of it for the PM. This was not an entirely selfless gesture on Cinesound's behalf as it had asked for the Prime Minister's endorsement of the film to assist with its promotion in Britain. The correspondence includes undated drafts of the Prime Minister's congratulations.

The item also includes a letter of congratulations to the Prime Minister from George Sorlie of Sorlie's Theatrical Enterprises (10 October 1933), which includes a portrait of Sorlie on the letterhead; and correspondence (May 1933) to and from the Society for the Protection of Literary and Dramatic Copyright regarding the Prime Minister becoming a member of the society.

CP103/19, 87
Correspondence of the Comission, c1932–1933

This series consists of inward and outward correspondence related to the securing of evidence and the routine administration of the commission.

Series: CP660/34
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: Royal Commission on Performing Rights (CA 2449)
Transcript of Evidence, 1923–33

This series consists of a set of transcripts recorded by the commission.

Series: CP660/33
Quantity: 0.9 metres
Recorded by: Royal Commission on Performing Rights (CA 2449)
Correspondence Files, 1951–75

This series deals with general policy and staffing matters related to the functions of the Department of Territories. From 1951–56, the series dealt only with the Northern Territory; after that time, it covered all Australian territories, including external ones. The Department of Territories was responsible for Indigenous matters and consequently records such as the following appear within this series.

Series: A452
Quantity: 916 meters
Recorded by: 1951–68 Department of Territories [I] (CA 60); 1968–73 Department of External Affairs [II] (CA 1284)
Tudawali – Aborigine – Northern Territory, 1955–57

This file is about the Aboriginal actor Robert Tudawali. It provides an insight into the way in which the lives of Indigenous Australians in general – and Mr Tudawali in particular – were governed by the Department of Territories. It is one of six files in this series that relate to Mr Tudawali. It details an offer of work made to Mr Tudawali after his appearance in Jedda.

Some concern is shown that the type of employment being offered would be inappropriate and that Mr Tudawali might be exploited. It also deals with letters and questions to the Minister and his responses about the circumstances in which Mr Tudawali was living in the early 1950s. A search using the keyword 'Tudawali' will locate further items relating to Mr Tudawali on RecordSearch.

A452, 1955/579
Kalamazoo Index to Copyright registrations, 1955–62

This series contains a single file of alphabetical photocopies of Kalamazoo strips. The original strips appear to have been discarded. Not all registered items appear to be listed in the index. The index records only title and registration numbers, first for literary and then for artistic copyright registrations. The artistic registrations occasionally note what the item is. The index is listed on RecordSearch, but more information about the entries it contains can be found in A1336, A1861, A1957 and A1958.

The following are examples of entries in the index:

7664, 'Hippocratic Oath, The' (etching)

7708, Crying Towel

7869, Precision riding and stunts of the WA Vespa [team?]

55756, An Olympic Masque

59153, TV auditions

60332, Bush Dressage (first version)

60887, Push the Button 'Daddy-Oh'

62956, Guns on the Western Front

Series: A10876
Quantity: 0.1 metres
Recorded by: Copyright Office [III] (CA 555 [5])


Chapter 5
Searching Further Afield in the Archives