Industrial and labour concerns are covered by the collections of records of some federally registered trade unions, professional associations, and industry bodies. Organisations whose records we hold include the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), the Maritime Union of Australia and its predecessors the Waterside Workers Federation and the Seamens Union of Australia, the Australian Workers Union, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), the National Farmers Federation, the Institute of Public Affairs, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and many others.
Check our database from our home page to see whose records we have. Descriptive lists identify all records held in each collection. Maps, photographs,posters and publications 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 many of the Minute Books of Pre-Federation Australian Trade Unions included in the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register.
The Minute Books of Pre-Federation Australian Trade Unions, in the collections of twelve institutions - Noel Butlin Archives Centre (Australian National University), Broken Hill City Library, Fryer Library (University of Queensland), James Cook University, National Library of Australia, State Library of New South Wales, State Library of South Australia, State Library of Victoria, State Library of Western Australia, University of Melbourne Archives, University of Newcastle and University of Wollongong - record collective decision-making by Australian workers in the nineteenth-century. They are a record of democracy for workers - both men and women. They document the early formulation of our current industrial relations system, the beginnings of our social welfare system, the early history of communities and industries, and working lives that are no longer accessible today. They record events and achievements as they happened, local issues and disputes that developed into general strikes and became the first steps in broader campaigns such as that for the 8-Hour Day and the impetus for political representation of workers through the formation of the Australian Labor Party.