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Research Guides


Royalty and Australian Society: Records relating to the British Monarchy held in Canberra


Appendix 1 – If you're keen to continue your research…

Undertaking a more extensive search of the collection

The Prime Minister's Department has been the agency chiefly responsible for the organisation of royal tours and official protocol associated with royalty.

Given the number of records in the collection, it has not been possible in this Guide to list all relevant records of the Prime Minister's Department. A selection of significant records has been included but the selection is by no means exhaustive.

For the same reason, not all the record items of the Prime Minister's Department have yet been added to the Archives' item database.

If you wish to undertake a comprehensive search of all Prime Minister's Department records in the collection it is suggested that you begin with an examination of the relevant indexes or printed item listings for the major Prime Minister's Department correspondence series. Information about the major Prime Minister's record series themselves, and their indexes, can be found by searching the Archives' RecordSearch database, which can be accessed in each of our Reading Rooms and on the Archives' website.

For details about printed item listings, please contact our reading rooms in any capital city. The contact details are at Appendix 5 to this Guide.

All searches for additional records should begin with a search of the Archives' item database. Original indexes and other types of 'control records' were usually also created by other Government departments. If you have located material throughout the Guide of particular interest and you wish to conduct a search for material of a similar nature, indexes created by the department that created the records can be a useful place to search.

Papers of prominent government officials who may have been involved in the administration of particular royal visits may also be held by the National Archives.

State archival authorities

Royal visits to Australia were generally administered at both the State and Federal level. The Federal government administered general arrangements and liaison with Buckingham Palace, and it approved programming details and coordinated the state governments' activities. The Federal government also organised the royal tours in the two federal territories, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

State government bodies were responsible for coordinating the detail of visits to areas within their jurisdiction, and reported these details to the relevant Commonwealth government authorities. As a result, records associated with royal visits are usually held by both the State and Federal archival authorities. State government records may also hold reports and other information forwarded by the respective state governors to the monarch.

The state archival authority in your area may therefore be a useful place to begin further research. Contact details for all state and territory archival institutions are listed in Fact Sheet 2.

The National Library of Australia

The National Library of Australia (NLA) holds a large amount of material relating to particular members of the royal family and the impact of royalty on Australian society. Manuscripts, ephemera, histories, musical items, official records and published works relating to the royal family can be found within the Library's collection. The Library's collection database can be accessed on the Library's website. Alternative contact details for the Library are listed in Fact Sheet 2.

The NLA's collection of newspapers is also very extensive and includes most of the major papers from across the country, as well as many of the smaller regional newspapers. Therefore, particularly for news of royal visits, the NLA's newspaper collection can be a very useful source of information.

Another important resource held by the NLA is its collection of personal papers. Many prominent individuals from all spheres of life have donated their papers to the Library and many of these collections contain references to the monarchy. As an example, useful collections include the records of former Australian Governors-General. As the King or Queen's representative, Governors-General had ongoing contact with the monarch and this relationship can be reflected in their personal papers. Examples of some of the records created by former Governors-General which may contain references to the monarchy are:

Lord Hopetoun, 1901–03

Lord Hopetoun, 1901–03
M1154–M1156 Papers, including some correspondence with the royal family
M1584 Three albums containing photographs of the State of Victoria, and cuttings, programs, menus and other ephemera on the inauguration of the Commonwealth in January 1901.

Baron Tennyson, 1903–04

MS1963 Papers and correspondence, 1893–1913
MS479 Papers and correspondence, 1895–1919

Baron Northcote, 1904–08

MS590 Papers and correspondence, 1908

Sir Reginald Crawford Munro-Ferguson, 1914–20

G1228–G1239 Papers, including official reports to the King, and correspondence with his private secretaries, 1912–35
G18165 Letters between Munro-Ferguson and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1860–1934
G18984 Press cuttings concerning the Governor-Generalship of Munro Ferguson, 1914–1922

Sir Isaac Isaacs, 1931–36

MS6791 Speech of welcome to the Duke of Gloucester, dated 18 October 1934

Baron Gowrie, 1936–45

G22868–G22909 Personal papers, including 1945 engagement diary, photographs and note books, 1872–1955
G22914 Memoirs

Duke of Gloucester, 1945–47

MS545 Manuscript appointing the Duke of Gloucester Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of Australia, 1944

Sir William McKell, 1947–53

MS1714 Proclamation of accession of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from the steps of Parliament House, 8 February 1952

Papers of prominent government officials who may have been involved in the administration of particular royal visits may also be held by the NLA, so it is worth investigating the existence of such collections during the course of your research.

State, territory and university libraries

State, territory and university libraries should generally hold material of a similar nature to that held by the National Library of Australia. Prominent State and territory figures often deposit their papers with these libraries, who also have extensive manuscript, rare book, ephemera and local newspaper collections. The contact details for the State and territory libraries are given in Fact Sheet 2 and details of many university collections are provided at their respective web sites.

Other options

From oral histories, to family scrap books there are a multitude of other sources of information about the interaction between royalty and Australia. Good luck in tracking them down!

Lord Hopetoun, 1901–03

Lord Hopetoun, 1901–03
M1154–M1156 Papers, including some correspondence with the royal family
M1584 Three albums containing photographs of the State of Victoria, and cuttings, programs, menus and other ephemera on the inauguration of the Commonwealth in January 1901.

Baron Tennyson, 1903–04

MS1963 Papers and correspondence, 1893–1913
MS479 Papers and correspondence, 1895–1919

Baron Northcote, 1904–08

MS590 Papers and correspondence, 1908

Sir Reginald Crawford Munro-Ferguson, 1914–20

G1228–G1239 Papers, including official reports to the King, and correspondence with his private secretaries, 1912–35
G18165 Letters between Munro-Ferguson and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1860–1934
G18984 Press cuttings concerning the Governor-Generalship of Munro Ferguson, 1914–1922

Sir Isaac Isaacs, 1931–36

MS6791 Speech of welcome to the Duke of Gloucester, dated 18 October 1934

Baron Gowrie, 1936–45

G22868–G22909 Personal papers, including 1945 engagement diary, photographs and note books, 1872–1955
G22914 Memoirs

Duke of Gloucester, 1945–47

MS545 Manuscript appointing the Duke of Gloucester Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of Australia, 1944

Sir William McKell, 1947–53

MS1714 Proclamation of accession of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from the steps of Parliament House, 8 February 1952

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