Primary contactReading Room, Victorian Archives Centre, 99 Shiel St, North Melbourne Postal address: PO Box 8005, Burwood Heights, Vic 3151
Melbourne, Victoria 3051
The National Archives Melbourne collection includes records of Commonwealth departments, statutory bodies, royal commissions, lighthouses, naval vessels, courts and tribunals. These records document a wide variety of Commonwealth government activities, including defence, migration, Aboriginal affairs, trade and veterans’ affairs.
Although the records mainly date from Federation, they include a small quantity of 19th century records inherited from the colonies when certain functions, such as customs, postal and telegraphic services, defence and Aboriginal affairs, passed to the Commonwealth. Other notable holdings include meteorological records dating from 1840, records relating to customs dating from 1850s and records relating to the administration of Aboriginal affairs in Victoria from 1860.
The collection in Melbourne is especially rich because the original seat of the Commonwealth government was located there until 1927 and remained a centre for federal government activity until the 1960s. It documents the central offices of many departments of state including the Postmaster-General’s Department and the Departments of Labour and National Service, Civil Aviation and Defence.
The National Archives’ collection database, RecordSearch, gives online access to the National Archives’ holdings Australia-wide. See https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/SearchScreens/BasicSearch.aspx
For a guide relevant to Melbourne holdings, see Collections in Melbourne: A Guide to Commonwealth Records, by Celia Blake, revised 2003, 76pp at http://guides.naa.gov.au/melbourne/
For a full list of guides to the National Archives’ collection, see: http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/publications/guides/index.aspx