Pacific Manuscripts Bureau, Canberra

Identity area



Authorized form of name

Pacific Manuscripts Bureau, Canberra

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name



  • University

Contact area


Executive Officer



Street address

Room 4201a, HC Coombs Building 9, College of Asia and the Pacific, Fellows Road, Australian National University, Acton.




Australian Capital Territory

Country name

Postal code



02 6125 0887



Description area


The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau was established in 1968. Since its inception it has been based at the Australian National University with the support of an international consortium of libraries.

Geographical and cultural context

Mandates/Sources of authority

The Bureau is overseen by a Management Committee which consists of three Pacific scholars, representatives of each of the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau's member libraries and a representative of the Pacific Regional Branch of the International Council of Archives (PARBICA).

Administrative structure

The administration of the Bureau is carried out by an Executive Officer with the assistance of casual staff, volunteers and interns.

Records management and collecting policies

The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau was established in 1968 as a joint copying project. With the owner’s permission, the Bureau copies archives, manuscripts, photographs and rare published materials in or relating to the Pacific Islands. Particular emphasis is placed on preservation reformatting of material in private hands and/or at risk of loss or destruction from things such as poor storage, adverse climate and civil unrest so that material is preserved for future research.
The Bureau originally copied material to microfilm which was then distributed to member libraries. Since 2014 digital capture technologies have replaced microfilm for new titles, which are now distributed to members via the online catalogue or by MARC export. The Bureau is currently supported by thirteen libraries that specialise in Pacific research.



The Bureau holds over 4,000 reels of microfilm and over 100,000 pages of new digital content. The collection includes letters, diaries, dictionaries, church mission records, newsletters, scientific papers, broadcast reports and posters, amongst other record types. Major holdings include:

  • American Whalers: New England Microfilming Project (NEMP), 18th/19th century (420 reels).
  • Catholic Church: Oceania Marist Province Archives (OMPA), 19th century (380 reels).

Finding aids, guides and publications

Finding aids are available on the website (at and can be generated upon request.

PAMBU publications:

  • B Flores (ed). 1991 Complete Annotated Catalogue: PMB Printed Document Series Microforms PMB Doc. 1–400 Canberra: Pacific Manuscripts Bureau
  • Langdon, R. (ed). 1978. American Whalers and Traders in the Pacific: A guide to records on microfilm. Canberra: Pacific Manuscripts Bureau.
  • Langdon, R. (ed). 1979. Thar She Went: An interim index to the Pacific ports and islands visited by American whalers and traders in the 19th century, being a supplement to 'American Whalers and Traders in the Pacific: A guide to records on Microfilm. Canberra: Pacific Manuscripts Bureau.
  • Scott, G (ed), 1991. Complete Annotated Catalogue: PMB Manuscript Series Microfilms PMB I-1030 Canberra 1991: Pacific Manuscripts Bureau - Woodhouse, M. & Tryon G. 1984. Cumulative Index to the Pacific Islands Monthly, volumes 16 to 25, August 1945 to July 1955. [Edited by Robert Langdon]. Canberra: Pacific Manuscripts Bureau.

For publications and information about the bureau online, see

Access area

Opening times

Open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.

Access conditions and requirements

Advance notice of visit required.


Services area

Research services

General reference assistance available.

Reproduction services

Copying services for microfilms, digital materials and published indexes, guides and catalogues available for sale. For more information visit

Public areas

Members of the public can access the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau collections at any of our member libraries (see or via our online catalogue (
Full text is only available via member libraries or if purchased from the Bureau.

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Revised 25 March 2018




Maintenance notes

Access points

Access Points

  • Agriculture (Thematic area)
  • Arts and Culture (Thematic area)
  • Built Environment (Thematic area)
  • Communication (Thematic area)
  • Education (Thematic area)
  • Environment (Thematic area)
  • Family / Domestic Life (Thematic area)
  • Genealogical (Thematic area)
  • Geography (Thematic area)
  • Indigenous (Thematic area)
  • Industry, Manufacturing and Commerce (Thematic area)
  • Labour (Thematic area)
  • Language (Thematic area)
  • Law and Justice (Thematic area)
  • Local Studies (Thematic area)
  • Media (Thematic area)
  • Medicine and Health (Thematic area)
  • Natural Resources (Thematic area)
  • Politics and Government (Thematic area)
  • Populations (Thematic area)
  • Recreation / Leisure / Sports (Thematic area)
  • Religion (Thematic area)
  • Science and Technology (Thematic area)
  • Social Organisations and Activities (Thematic area)
  • Transportation (Thematic area)
  • Travel and Exploration (Thematic area)
  • Clipboard

Primary contact

Room 4201a, HC Coombs Building 9, College of Asia and the Pacific, Fellows Road, Australian National University, Acton.
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200