Noel Butlin Archives Centre


  • It is essential you make contact with the Archives before forwarding any records. The Archives will only accept records which fall within its collecting policy and which are of value for future research.
  • Check the lists for any previous transfers so that you know what has been sent previously.
  •  The records need to be listed so that the Archives can assess the records before they are despatched.
  • Contact the Senior Archivist on 6125 2219 or at with any queries you might have.  

Records to transfer

Policy and decision-making records, consolidated financial records and operational records about major issues are all valuable for research.

Examples include:

  • Minutes of the decision-making body, eg Board or Council
  • Constitution, articles of association, rule books and prospectuses (original and amended copies)
  • Correspondence and subject files relating to your organisation's main business
  • Reports and major submissions compiled by your organisation
  • Records relating to special events and major campaigns
  • Consolidated financial records such as journals, balance sheets and annual financial statements
  • Industrial files relating to major agreements and disputes
  • Operational records unique to your industry, eg stock records, trade catalogues, patent agreements, station diaries
  • Papers of conferences run by your organisation
  • Speeches made by senior staff
  • Registers of members
  • Staff record cards
  • Publications of your organisation such as newsletters, annual reports, posters and brochures
  • Published and unpublished histories of your organisation
  • Sets of press cuttings relating to your organisation
  • Photographs of special events, staff and activities which are identified and dated.

This list is only a guide and there are many other examples of records which may be of research value - if in doubt, please contact the Archives.

Records not to transfer

You should retain any records which may still be required for day-to-day operations - set a realistic cut-off date, say five years. Many records are of short-term value only and should not be transferred to the Archives.

Examples are:

  • Low-level financial records such as cheque books, bank statements, receipt books,and invoices (most financial records can be destroyed after seven years)
  • Staff leave forms
  • Membership renewal forms
  • Administrative files relating to office equipment, vehicles, subscriptions, travel and routine matters
  •  Industrial files relating to minor award changes
  • Duplicates such as extra copies of publications and box copies of correspondence duplicated on files
  • Publications, conference papers and training material from other organisations.

Records which cannot be made available for research and should not be transferred include:

  • Grievance files
  • Discipline files
  • Unsorted bundles of loose papers and unidentified files
  • Obsolete formats such as floppy disks.

This list is only a guide -if in doubt, please contact the Archives.

Some exceptions

Where very little remains of the early records of an organisation, the Archives may accept any surviving records as the only available evidence of its existence. This applies particularly to records dating before 1950.

We keep reference sets of trade journals, directories and newsletters. If you are disposing of runs of publications please contact us beforehand as we may accept copies to fill gaps in our collection.

Listing the records

First, identify in a heading the organisation which created the records - it may be a predecessor to your current organisation, or a particular department or person within your organisation. Then identify the group or series of records with a title, such as minute books or subject files.  List the records in each group in the order they are kept in the office, eg by file number, alphabetically or chronologically. The Archives can provide you with a template for the list with the following columns: box number, item number, item title and date range.              

Pack the records into small,sturdy boxes as you go, number the boxes, and note the number of the box on thelist. Do not use large cartons as they will be too heavy for safe lifting. Suitable boxes for files (type one boxes) are available from the Government Records Repository.

Send the list to as an attachment and waitf or confirmation that the Archives will accept the records.

If you wish to transfer audiovisual records we will ask you to contribute to the cost of transferring reel-to-reel, cassette or video tapes to digital format.

If you have electronic records which you wish to transfer, please contact the Archives to discuss a strategy for archiving these records. As a general principle, it is advisable to retain electronic records in that form, rather than downloading to an unstable medium such as CD or DVD. The Archives maintains electronic records in the University's digital repository.

Dispatching the records

When we confirm that the transfer is accepted, you can arrange pick-up of your records by commercial courier. It is preferable not to dispatch records late in the week as the Archives is not open over the weekend. Our staff are located in a different building to the delivery address so we need time to arrive and open the security doors before the records can be unloaded. Label each box with the delivery address and message:

Noel Butlin Archives Centre12 Balmain Crescent (Building 76)The Australian National University Acton ACT2601

ATTENTION: Phone 6125 2219 at least 30 minutes before arrival

Repeat the instruction on the delivery docket so the driver is aware of this requirement. Secure the boxes individually with packing tape, or if you are dealing with a large quantity of boxes, arrange for them to be shrink-wrapped on a pallet. For pallets, arrange for a delivery truck with a hydraulic lift. We have a pallet jack but if a forklift is required to remove pallets from the truck we will need to arrange this in advance.

We will acknowledge receipt of the records.