Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Collections (Archives)

Identity area



Authorized form of name

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Collections (Archives)

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name

  • ABC Archives
  • ABC Document Archives


  • National

Contact area


Researcher, Document Archives



Street address

700 Harris St, Ultimo, NSW 2007 Postal address: GPO Box 9994, Sydney NSW 2001




New South Wales

Country name

Postal code



02 8333 3204




Description area


The Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) was established under the Australian Broadcasting Commission Act 1932 (Cth). The Act established a government controlled body that was closely modelled on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and was responsible for the broadcasting of music, current affairs, religious, educational and other programs.

The Commission commenced operations on 1 July 1932. It inherited twelve broadcasting stations from its predecessor, the Australian Broadcasting Company. These included Australia's first full-time radio station, 2SB (later 2BL and now 702 ABC Sydney), which went to air in November 1923. Another inherited station, 2FC (now ABC Radio National), went to air two weeks later.

The ABC gradually expanded its coverage in both regional and metropolitan areas and there were legislative changes affecting its activities. In 1947, the ABC introduced its independent news service and its first television stations were opened in 1956.

The Government accepted a number of recommendations of an independent review of the ABC (1979-1981) and, in the resulting legislation, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 (Cth), the Australian Broadcasting Commission was abolished and replaced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in1983.

The corporation's functions include the provision of innovative and comprehensive broadcasting and television services of a high standard that involve broadcasting and television programs of an educational nature and that contribute to a sense of national identity, inform and entertain, and reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community.

The ABC had set up archival arrangements for its records by the 1970s. This is a combined directory entry for ABC Archives, including the previously three separate ABC Document, Radio and Television Archives directory entries.

Geographical and cultural context

Mandates/Sources of authority

Administrative structure

Records management and collecting policies

ABC records in all formats (including radio and television programs, online content and business records) are administered under the Archives Act 1983 (Cth) and are transferred to the National Archives of Australia. The National Archives Disposal Authority 2005/450552 applies to ABC records. Material held by ABC may also be covered by the disposal authority for Small Collection Management. This is an in-house archives with our collections coming from operational activities.



Researchers into ABC programs and history should always also contact the National Archives of Australia ( as ABC records are transferred to that organisation. Within the ABC, beyond a limited initial search, researchers may need to pay for further research through our Library Sales service.

Holdings include programs in audio and video formats; written records including online content; ABC publications (including ABC Weekly, 24 Hours) and photographs focusing on ABC programs, people and premises.

Finding aids, guides and publications

Many, though not all, records transferred from the ABC are covered by the National Archives’ catalogue, RecordSearch, and all are covered by finding aids held by the National Archives.

Access area

Opening times

By appointment.

Access conditions and requirements

Research carried out on ABC premises may require a charge for research and time spent. Publication of material supplied by the ABC will also require licensing.
It is desirable that researchers consult other sources on the topics of research prior to contacting the ABC.


Wheelchair access is normally available.

Services area

Research services

Available for a charge through ABC Library Sales.

Reproduction services

Available for documents.

Public areas

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Revised 29 May 2019




Maintenance notes

Access points

Access Points

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Thematic area)
  • Arts and Culture (Thematic area)
  • Communication (Thematic area)
  • Education (Thematic area)
  • Environment (Thematic area)
  • Media (Thematic area)
  • Politics and Government (Thematic area)
  • Recreation / Leisure / Sports (Thematic area)
  • Science and Technology (Thematic area)
  • Social Organisations and Activities (Thematic area)
  • Clipboard

Primary contact

700 Harris St, Ultimo, NSW 2007
Postal address: GPO Box 9994, Sydney NSW 2001
Sydney, New South Wales 2007