City of Adelaide Archives

Identity area



Authorized form of name

City of Adelaide Archives

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name

  • Formerly Adelaide City Archives
  • Formerly Adelaide City Council Archives


  • Municipal

Contact area


Archives Access Officer



Street address

Topham Mall, off 55 Currie & 56 Waymouth St, Adelaide
Postal address: GPO Box 2252, Adelaide, 5001




South Australia

Country name

Postal code



08 8203 7439



Description area


The City of Adelaide was the first municipal authority to be established in Australia.

Municipal elections were held in 1840 for 19 ‘Common Councilmen’, one of whom, James Hurtle Fisher, was elected as the City’s first Mayor. The first Council meeting was held in November 1840 in premises off Hindley Street.

Unfortunately the new Council experienced serious financial difficulties and collapsed in 1843, after which the City was managed by the colonial government until 1852 when the Council was re-established under new legislation that significantly widened its powers to raise revenue and make by-laws. For further history, see

The documentary heritage of the City is preserved in the Archives, Civic Collection, and Oral History collections. The Archives holds about 6 000 shelf metres of records and these exist in a wide variety of physical formats: volumes, files, documents, photographs, maps, plans, microfilms, computer printouts, tapes and CDs.

Geographical and cultural context

Mandates/Sources of authority

Administrative structure

Officer-in-charge: Manager - Records and Archives

Records management and collecting policies

  • Archives of the Council and Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 1840- present
  • City of Adelaide Civic Collection, c1810- present
  • City of Adelaide Oral History Collection, 1978-2000.



  • Minutes and Reports of Council, 1872- present
  • City Treasurer's Department: Assessment books, 1846- present
  • Town Clerk's Department: Dockets and files, c1865-1976
  • City of Adelaide Building plans, 1925- present
  • City Engineer's Department: Dockets and files, 1902-1970
  • Photographic collections, 1860- present
  • Colonel William Light collection, c1810-1839
  • Queen Adelaide collection, c1830s.

See also:

Finding aids, guides and publications

Finding aids:

  • Guide to services and holdings
  • Guide to Town Clerk’s Department Records
  • Guide to City Engineer’s Department Records Civic Collection
  • Guide Preservation Management – a Guide to Conservation
  • Guide to the Oral History Collection City Archives Source Sheets (42)

See also Source Sheets available online for you to download and print. Some sheets deal with archival matters in general, while others provide lists of records relating to subjects about which the Archives commonly receives enquiries. See


  • Peter Crush, 'The Records of the Corporation of the City of Adelaide' ASA Conference Proceedings 1981.
  • Karen George, City Memory. A Guide and Index to the City of Adelaide Oral History Collection Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 1999.
  • Robert Thornton, ‘The Records of the Town Clerk’s Department’, Community History, vol.8, no.3, July 1998.
  • Robert Thornton, ‘Rose – Tinted Images. The Photographic Archives of the City of Adelaide’, Archives and Manuscripts, Dec 2000.
  • Robert Thornton, ‘City of Archives – reflecting on the 25th anniversary of the Adelaide City Archives’, Australian Society of Archivists Bulletin, No.4, October 2003. News Notes, Archives and Manuscripts, passim.

Access area

Opening times

Opening times:

  • Public counter enquiries: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
  • Public Search Room: Tuesday to Thursday 10am-4pm

Access conditions and requirements

Researchers are required to read the Search Room Rules set out in the Notice to Users and sign the Visitors Book. Advance notice of visit preferred.


Services area

Research services

Reference services. Document search assistance. Private research interview room. A range of brochures and source sheets. Electronic and manual finding aids. PC access to archival databases. Microfilm readers.

Reproduction services

Copying and framing services.

Public areas

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Revised 11 May 2018




Maintenance notes

Access points

Access Points

  • Built Environment (Thematic area)
  • Local Studies (Thematic area)
  • Politics and Government (Thematic area)
  • Clipboard

Primary contact

Topham Mall, off 55 Currie & 56 Waymouth St, Adelaide Postal address: GPO Box 2252, Adelaide, 5001
Adelaide, South Australia 5000