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Research Guides


Collections in Perth: A Guide to Commonwealth Government Records


13. Foreign Affairs

The Agency

The Western Australian Office of the Department of External Affairs [II] was established in 1963 and was mainly responsible for the welfare of private and government-sponsored students from overseas who were attending WA schools and tertiary institutions. The office also looked after overseas visitors to WA, did some consular work and by 1964 had assumed responsibility for Colombo Plan trainees from the Public Service Inspector's Office. In 1970 the Department of External Affairs [II] was renamed the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Some records belonging to the Foreign Affairs function have restricted access for reasons of national security or because they contain sensitive personal information about individuals.

  • 1963–70: Department of External Affairs [II], State Office, WA (CA 988)

The Records

CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ALPHANUMERICAL SERIES, 1953–64
Perth
This series contains confidential and personal records about trainee selection and grants for training and education in Australia under the provisions of the Colombo Plan and United Nations fellowships.
Series: PP528/1
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: 1963–64: Department of External Affairs [II], State Office, WA (CA 988)
CONFIDENTIAL CORRESPONDENCE FILES, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, 1962–70
Perth
This series contains confidential correspondence records about staffing, organisational and establishment matters. It also deals with administrative arrangements concerning local consular affairs, protocol and welfare, and the itineraries of foreign heads of state and dignitaries visiting WA.
Series: PP528/2
Quantity: 3 metres
Recorded by: 1963–70: Department of External Affairs [II], State Office, WA (CA 988)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, 1963–73
Perth
The files in this series deal with matters of policy and precedent and with the operation, organisation and establishment of the WA office of the agency. The files also deal with protocol and visits by ambassadors and consuls-general. They contain correspondence about the arrest, imprisonment or death by natural causes, accident or violence overseas of Australian nationals from WA.
Series: PP546/1
Quantity: 2 metres
Recorded by: 1963–70: Department of External Affairs [II], State Office, WA (CA 988)
Consular – miscellaneous inquiries, Mrs J M Verma, 1963–73 PP546/1, 11/1/3
Consular – inquiries regarding property overseas, 1964–72 PP546/1, 11/3/1
Protocol – visits – official Royal Family and Commonwealth representatives, 1965–69 PP546/1, 81/9/7
Consular – lost passport lists and amendments, 1966–72 PP546/1, 11/1/4 part 1
Consular – lost passport lists and amendments, 1966–72 PP546/1, 11/1/4 part 2
Consular – welfare inquiries – illness overseas, 1967–73 PP546/1, 11/4/2 part 1
Consular – welfare inquiries – illness overseas, 1967–73 PP546/1, 11/4/2 part 2

International aid

The Agencies

The Australian Development Assistance Agency (ADAA) – now the Australian Agency for International Development (AUSAID) – was formally established under the Australian Development Assistance Agency Act 1974. Its role was to administer all aspects of Australia's aid program that had previously been administered by the departments of Foreign Affairs, External Affairs, Labour, Treasury and Education.

Overseas students who studied in Australia under one of the Australian Government's overseas aid programs came from the developing nations of Asia, Africa and the Pacific. The best known program was the Colombo Plan, which was administered by the Public Service Inspector's Office until 1964. The WA Office of ADAA was later responsible for the placement of these students and the supervision of their training. This included general supervision of the students, monitoring their progress and handling any welfare problems that arose.

Some records in the following series have restricted assess because they contain personally sensitive information about individuals.

  • 1903–78: Public Service Inspector's Office, WA (CA 872)
  • 1963–70: Department of External Affairs [II], State Office, WA (CA 988)

The Records

PROCEEDINGS OF THE OVERSEAS STUDENTS' COORDINATING COMMITTEE, 1963–64
Perth
This series consists of one file, which contains correspondence about the establishment, operations and policy of the Overseas Students' Coordinating Committee in WA. It also deals with assistance with study and language difficulties, welfare, and housing and/or accommodation matters.
Series: PP566/1
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: 1963–64: Department of External Affairs [II], State Office, WA (CA 988)

Passports

The Agencies

Until 1975, the Department of Immigration was responsible for the passport function. In that year, however, the administration of the Passports Act 1948 shifted from the Department of Immigration to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Case file records such as passport applications are likely to contain confidential personal information and consequently may have restricted access.

  • 1945–74: Department of Immigration, WA (CA 962)
  • 1963–70: Department of External Affairs [II], State Office, WA (CA 988)

The Records

LISTS OF PASSPORTS AND VISAS ISSUED AT FREMANTLE, 1917–46
Perth
This series contains lists of applicants for passports compiled by the Collector of Customs, Fremantle. The Commonwealth Investigation Service used these lists in its endeavours to ensure that people under investigation did not leave Australia.
Series: PP5/1
Quantity: 1 metre
Recorded by: 1917–46: Special Intelligence Bureau, WA (CA 911); 1919–46: Investigations Branch, WA (CA 908); 1946: Commonwealth Investigation Service, WA (CA 917)

Trade

The Agencies

Although the departments of Trade and Customs had existed federally since 1901, prior to 1956, the Collector of Customs controlled the trade function in Western Australia. The Collector of Customs, WA shared some responsibility for trade matters with the Department of Commerce and Agriculture for a short period, but the establishment of the Department of Trade in 1956 meant that the dual functions of trade and customs came under the aegis of one agency.

The Department of Trade was split into various divisions, which were then made responsible for different trade matters. The Office of Trade Services and Industries Branch, for example, investigated the manufacturing industry, export promotion, and import and export control.

The Department of Trade and Industry was created in 1963 and abolished in 1972. The trade function passed to the Department of Overseas Trade and Secondary Industry, which in WA was then a combined agency.

  • 1853–: Collector of Customs (from 1985, the Australian Customs Service), WA (CA 808)
  • 1942–56: Department of Commerce and Agriculture, WA (CA 2890)
  • 1956–63: Department of Trade, WA (CA 2892)
  • 1963–72: Department of Trade and Industry, WA (CA 2898)

The Records

Records of the agencies described above are primarily about commodities for export. The files in series PP127/1, for example, are concerned with the registration of premises for the export of meat, fish and general tinned goods. They contain applications for registration, reports on applications and inspections carried out at export factories and samples of proposed labels for export goods.

Other series document Government concern about quality and packing standards for primary and secondary production. Some records created by the above agencies are significant because they document both the growing demand by the mining industry to exploit minerals and the Federal Government's policies on quotas for scrap ferrous and non-ferrous materials.

The files generally provide valuable economic and sociological data in their descriptions of international trade agreements, fairs and exhibitions, the promotion of overseas trade and the Government's dealings with exporters and importers.

GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1942–49
Perth
This series consists of general correspondence files on the establishment of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture, WA.
Series: PP12/2
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: 1942–49: Department of Commerce and Agriculture, State Branch, WA (CA 2890)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 'E' PREFIX, 1942–73 (CONTENTS RANGE: 1928–73)
Perth
This series consists of administration and inspection files for the Department of Primary Industry.
Series: PP591/1
Quantity: 3 metres
Recorded by: 1942–56: Department of Commerce and Agriculture, State Branch, WA (CA 2890); 1956–73: Department of Primary Industry, State Branch, WA (CA 2889)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, ALPHABETICAL PREFIXES, 1942–73
Canberra
This series consists of correspondence files about administrative matters and more important operational issues within the WA branch.
Series: PP495/1
Quantity: 1 metre
Recorded by: 1942–56: Department of Commerce and Agriculture, State Branch, WA (CA 2890); 1956–73: Department of Primary Industry, State Branch, WA (CA 2889)
REGISTRATION OF PREMISES FOR EXPORT AND APPROVED LABELS, CLASSIFIED MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, 1945–61
Perth
This series contains files created by the Department of Commerce and Agriculture about the registration of premises for export meat, fish and general tinned goods. The files include applications for registration, reports on applications and inspections of export factories, applications for approval, and samples of labels used on export goods.
Series: PP127/1
Quantity: 0.36 metres
Recorded by: 1945–56: Department of Commerce and Agriculture, State Branch, WA (CA 2890); 1956–61: Department of Primary Industry, State Branch, WA (CA 2889)
EXPORT CONTROLS, SCRAP IRON AND STEEL POLICY (P16/2/2), 1956–62
Perth
This series contains correspondence regarding policy and the fixing of quotas for the export of scrap iron and steel in WA.
Series: PP209/2
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: 1956–62: Department of Trade, State Branch, WA (CA 2892)
EXPORT CONTROLS, SCRAP IRON AND STEEL INSTRUCTIONS (T6/2/2), 1956–62
Perth
This series contains instructions and directions derived from Government policy on scrap iron and steel exports.
Series: PP209/3
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: 1956–62: Department of Trade, State Branch, WA (CA 2892)
TRADES AND INDUSTRIES PROMOTION COUNCIL, GENERAL (P9/18/1), 1958–59
Perth
This series contains proposals for the constitution of the WA Trades and Industries Promotion Council and minutes of its meetings held between 1958 and 1959. The council was disbanded in 1959, as a result of a change in government.
Series: PP209/8
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: 1958–59: Department of Trade, State Branch, WA (CA 2892)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, MULTIPLE SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 'P' PREFIX, 1962–71
Perth
This series contains files about the administration, staffing, organisation, function and policy of the branch. The files also contain valuable economic and sociological data about trade and primary and secondary industries in WA.
Series: PP415/1
Quantity: 32 metres
Recorded by: 1962–63: Department of Trade, State Branch, WA (CA 2892); 1963–71: Department of Trade and Industry, State Branch, WA (CA 2898)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, 'COMMODITIES' PREFIX, 1963–69
Perth
This series contains subject files about production and/or manufacture of both primary and secondary commodities.
Series: PP415/2
Quantity: 0.36 metres
Recorded by: 1963: Department of Trade, State Branch, WA (CA 2892); 1963–69: Department of Trade and Industry, State Branch, WA (CA 2898)
ALPHANUMERIC INDEXES (COPIES) TO PP415/1 AND PP415/2, 1963–71
Perth
This series contains indexes to PP415/1 and PP415/2.
Series: PP415/3
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: 1963: Department of Trade, State Branch, WA (Ca 2892); 1963–71: Department of Trade and Industry, State Branch, WA (CA 2898)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, 'P' PREFIX, 1963–71
Perth
This series consists of correspondence records that deal with the full range of departmental activities, including administration, legislation, import and export controls, and taxation exemption for overseas visitors.
Series: PP622/1
Quantity: 1 metre
Recorded by: 1958–63: Department of Trade, State Branch, WA (CA 2892); 1963–71: Australian Trade Commission, State Office, WA (CA 6705)
CORRESPONDENCE (COMMODITY) FILES, MULTIPLE SINGLE NUMBER, 1971
Perth
This series contains files on the production and/or manufacture of both primary and secondary commodities and on administrative matters such as purchasing, export and import procedures, tenders and statistical data.
Series: PP652/1
Quantity: 2 metres
Recorded by: 1971: Department of Trade and Industry, WA (CA 2898)

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