State archives are official records created or collected by Colonial, State, and Local Government departments and agencies. Also included are the records of Statutory Authorities, Courts of Law, Royal Commissions, and Committees of Inquiry.
Records received by the State Records Office (SRO) prior to March 1988 are arranged in record groups. Records are generally arranged according to the office of origin or according to the agency which was last responsible for the activities documented in the records. Thus, correspondence files, lease applications, geologists' reports, etc. which were kept by the Mines Department are filed in a record group specific to that department.
Each record group is designated by an Archive Note (AN) number. AN 350, for example, indicates records of the Mines Department; AN 170 for records of the Shire of York, etc. A complete list of Government departments and agencies with their corresponding AN numbers is to be found in the Agency Index for Government Archives.
When a group of records was transferred to the then State Archives, it was given an Accession Number. The records were listed and briefly described on an Inventory Sheet, these sheets were then filed in binders under their respective AN numbers.
For example: inventories of General School Files, 1892-1954 (Acc No 1629) and Kindergarten Association Correspondence Files, 1943-1976 (Acc. No. 2476) will be found in AN 45 (Education Department).
Over the years the SRO has converted almost all archive listings from the Archive Notes into the Series Registration System and such archives are searchable through the SRO's online catalogue.
Using the Archive Note System
The following steps should be taken when attempting to locate State archives listed within the Archive Note files.
- Determine the department or agency which may have been responsible for records relevant to your research.
- Use the Agency Index for Government Archives to determine if the State Records Office holds records for the required department or agency.
- Note the AN number found in the Index and consult the plastic binder in the Search Room which contains the relevant AN listings.
- Scan through the various listings located under the relevant AN number to determine which records will be of relevance and then complete a call slip to retrieve the item for viewing.
Having identified a particular item in the AN listings note the Accession Number of the record (this number is usually found on the top right of the inventory sheet) and the item (i.e. volume or file) number of the record.
Complete a separate call slip for each item. On the call slips, please note the Accession number, the volume or file number, and the AN number. Also include the name of the department and the title of the item you wish to consult. Enquiry Desk staff will be happy to help if you require assistance in completing a call slip.
In cases where the inventory sheet identifies a particular item or Accession number as being available on microfilm or microfiche it will not be necessary to complete a call slip. Clients can access microform records at any time during SRO opening hours without the need to complete a call slip.
The types of microform records available include both 16mm and 35mm microfilm, microfiche and aperture cards. These items are stored in cabinets within the State Records Office Microform Area, adjacent to the Enquiry Desk. Some items are also availbale in digital form via the SRO's catalogue.
Access is restricted to some records held by the State Records Office. Such records are identified on the inventory sheets. The Archivist on duty at the Enquiry Desk can explain conditions which may apply to restricted records or information on restricted access is available online.
The State Records Office has produced a number of information sheets to assist clients in accessing the collection.
Starting Your Research information sheet which outlines use of the Series Registration System and Archive Notes finding aids.
Requesting Archives information sheet which provides details on how to retrieve items located using the finding aids.
For records received by the State Records Office after 1 March 1988, see the Series Registration System (SRS) - A User's Guide.
For other queries regarding the finding aids and indexes used in the State Records Office please contact the staff at the Search Room Enquiry Desk.