Australian Museum Archives and Research Library, Sydney

Identity area



Authorized form of name

Australian Museum Archives and Research Library, Sydney

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name


  • State

Contact area


Manager, Archives and Records



Street address

1 William Street, Sydney




New South Wales

Country name

Postal code





Description area


The Archives holds permanent Museum records kept because they are valuable for legal, administrative or historical research. The earliest records include the Minutes of the Committee of Superintendence from June 1836 and Outward Letters books from 1837.

The Research Library holds one of the finest natural history book and journal collections in Australia, including over 5000 rare books. Established in 1836, the Library specialises in material relating to zoology, taxonomy, cultural collections, earth sciences and museology.

Geographical and cultural context

Mandates/Sources of authority

Administrative structure

Officer in charge: Head, World Cultures, Archives and Research Library

Records management and collecting policies

The Australian Museum Archives holds the records of the Australian Museum and papers of scientists and other individuals who have worked at, or been associated with, the Museum.



The major categories of records held in the Museum's Archives include:

  • Trust Minutes and other papers from 1836 including Trust committee and sub-committee records; meeting attendance books; and curator's, general and secretary's reports to the Trustees.
  • Correspondence series: including outward letter books, 1837-1923; inward letters from 1853; and Curator's and Secretary's private letter books, 1875-1919.
  • Collection records: including historic collection registers and documentation regarding the purchase, donation and exchange of specimens and artefacts including accession schedules, 1879-1956; purchase schedules,1883-1924; exchange registers and schedules, c.1874-1926.
  • Public Program records: including exhibition files; education files; public relations and marketing files; and audience research surveys and reports.
  • Financial Records: including general account ledgers,1875-1968; balance sheets, 1881-1926; and cash journals, 1914-1966.
  • National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife Records: the NPI was established in 1969 to compile a photograph of every Australian bird species. In 1977 it was expanded to include Australian mammals and in 1984 reptiles and frogs.
  • Personal papers: of Museum trustees and staff.
  • Staff records: including lists of employees and social club papers.
  • Newscuttings and other publications: including annual reports from 1853; Australian Museum Magazine, 1921-1961; Australian Natural History, Nature Australia and Explore Magazine from 1962; Records of the Australian Museum from 1890; Guides and Handbooks to the Australian Museum; Catalogues of the collections from 1837.
  • Photographs: including Museum photos of staff and events; and significant ethnographic collections of George Brown, Frank Hurley, Thomas Dick and Walter Roth.

The Archives also holds some acquired papers and photographs of individuals who have been associated with the Museum or worked in closely related fields.

Finding aids, guides and publications

  • A Guide to the Australian Museum Archives, 3rd edition, 1989.

Access area

Opening times

Open by appointment only.

Access conditions and requirements

Advance notice of visit is required.  Please contact by email or the email form on the website.


Services area

Research services

Reference assistance is available to researchers with an appointment. Referral to paid researchers is also available.

Reproduction services

Copying services available for books, journals, microfilms and photographs.

Public areas

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion




Maintenance notes

Access points

Access Points

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Thematic area)
  • Arts and Culture (Thematic area)
  • Education (Thematic area)
  • Environment (Thematic area)
  • Geography (Thematic area)
  • Indigenous (Thematic area)
  • Natural Resources (Thematic area)
  • Science and Technology (Thematic area)
  • Travel and Exploration (Thematic area)
  • Clipboard

Primary contact

1 William Street, Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales 2010