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Research Guides

The Sinking of HMAS Sydney: A Guide to Commonwealth Government Records

The National Archives of Australia

The National Archives of Australia is responsible for helping Australian Government agencies to create and manage their records. From this massive body of information the Archives selects, cares for and makes available to all, those records of continuing value. This collection constitutes the archives of the Australian Government – a vast and rich resource for the study of Australian history, Australian society and the Australian people.

The collection spans almost 200 years of Australian history. The main focus of the collection is material which documents Australian Government activities since Federation in 1901. The Archives also has significant holdings of nineteenth-century records about functions transferred by the colonies to the Australian Government at the time of Federation and subsequently. The records described in this guide are a small but significant part of the collection.

Access to the National Archives collection is provided free of charge in public reading rooms located in each capital city. Researchers are assisted by specialist reference staff and are provided with reference tools to help them identify and use the records in the collection. These reference tools include the RecordSearch and PhotoSearch databases, guides, publications and fact sheets. Researchers unable to visit a reading room may seek information and assistance by telephone, mail, facsimile or email.

RecordSearch and PhotoSearch provide information about agencies, persons and series, as well as descriptions of over 7.5 million individual items. Both RecordSearch and PhotoSearch are available for online searching in reading rooms located in all offices of the National Archives and at the Australian War Memorial, as well as on the Archives' website.

The National Archives' website provides extensive information about the Archives, its collection and the services it offers. A visit to the site will help researchers determine whether the Archives hold records relevant to their research. Fact sheets and online guides on various topics are also available on the Archives website.