Since 1953 the ANU Archives of Business and Labour, now known as the Noel Butlin Archives Centre, has focused on collecting records of companies and organisations that represent Australian industry at a national and regional level. The collecting process is governed by the Centre's Collecting Policy.
Highlights of our business collections include such prominent companies as the Australian Agricultural Company, Dalgety Ltd, Burns Philp & Co Ltd, CSR Limited, Tooth & Co Ltd, state Stock Exchanges and Elder Smith & Co Ltd. Their records occupy hundreds of shelf metres and cover the period from the 1820s to the 2000s.
Check our database to see whose records we have.
Descriptive lists identify all records held in each collection. Maps, photographs, posters, publications, and information on pastoral stations can also be located through finding aids available in the Centre.
In addition to archival material, a large quantity of published material is available as a research resource. This includes publications, especially of an ephemeral kind, relating to Australian politics, Australian newspapers, journals, staff magazines, annual reports, and posters received on a regular basis from organisations who deposit records.
Researchers are asked to be selective in their requests for descriptive lists and to assist the Centre's staff by explaining their research topic and the date range. This allows us to include deposits of which the enquirer may be unaware.
The Noel Butlin Archives Centre holds many treasures among its twenty kilometres of records including the Australian Agricultural Company's archives which are included in the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register.
The archives of the Australian Agricultural Company (1824-1995) comprise a business record unparalleled in Australia. The AA Company is Australia's oldest agricultural company. It operated wool and coal industries in the nineteenth century; made important contributions to the development of the cattle and wheat industries and to communications; and still operates today. During its long history, the AA Company has conducted its business in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory; and it also has close connections with principals and merchants in Great Britain and the United States. As well as providing evidence of the origins and development of a nationally significant business enterprise, the archives contain sources on the history of land use, the early history of roads and railways in NSW, interactions between business and government (colonial and national), European-Aboriginal contact, family history and labour relations. The records which have been selected for retention as the Company's archives are the most complete of any body of business records in Australia.