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Research Guides

Commonwealth Government Records about Tasmania


The National Archives of Australia holds a fascinating collection documenting the history of the Commonwealth and its interaction with the Australian people. Commonwealth Government Records about Tasmania tells the story of Tasmania and its relationship with the Commonwealth administration from 1901, when our nation federated.

Delving deep into the Archives' collection, this research guide unearths significant, as well as some unexpected, material about Tasmania. Drawing extensively on records held not only by the Archives, but also other collecting institutions such as the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office, Australian War Memorial and National Library of Australia, the guide focuses on specific themes in the state's history, including the environment, natural disasters and lighthouses. A diverse range of 'micro topics', such as thylacines and ship wrecks, are also discussed, whetting the appetite for further research and exploration of the archival record.

Commonwealth Government Records about Tasmania attempts to address a 'skewed pattern' in the use of archival resources to tell the history of the state. Much research interest has focused on archival collections from earlier times, which in effect has nourished their repeated use. This research guide is largely dedicated to Tasmanian history from Federation, highlighting significant and valuable records from the Commonwealth archival record. In turn, it is hoped that this will stimulate even further use of Commonwealth archival material about Tasmania.

The National Archives has a presence in each Australian state and territory. As part of a strategy to strengthen this presence, Archives offices are starting to co-locate with their state or territory counterparts in 'one-stop shops' where archival researchers can easily access state and Commonwealth records. To reinforce this strategy, the Archives is publishing a series of research guides shedding light on archival records about particular states and territories. Commonwealth Government Records about Tasmania is the latest key addition to this series.

I commend and thank Michael Piggott and all others involved in the development of this research guide. It is, ultimately, an invaluable research tool showcasing archival records with a connection to Tasmania and therefore the Tasmanian people.

David Fricker
National Archives of Australia
28 June 2013