Libraries and Archives

Libraries and Archives

Libraries and archives

A listing of print and audio-visual collections held by major Australian media organisations, libraries, museums and other cultural institutions including the ABC, the Australian Film Institute (AFI), Fairfax, AFTRS, and a number of smaller organisations. Listings include photographic and film archives, and privately-held newspaper collections. Also contains links to overseas institutions holding Australian material.



AFI Research Collection, RMIT University, Melbourne

The Australian Film Institute Research Collection is a non-lending, film and television literature resource freely open to the general public, the media and members of the Australian film and television industries. Since December 2002 the Collection has been managed by and located at RMIT University.

The Collection has particular strengths in screen history and theory and in Australian cinema, and features a diverse range of books, journals, film scripts, film directories, reports and film festival catalogues. The Collection also maintains a unique collection of film and personality clippings which form the basis of its research services to the media and public.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio Archives

Radio Archives seeks to maintain a collection of sound recordings of cultural and historical significance. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is bound by the Archives Act of 1983 to retain its broadcasting output in accordance with authorised schedules for retention. The collection includes oral histories of broadcasters. The radio archives are open by appointment only. General reference service and/or assistance is available. One week's advance notice of visit required and details of the exact nature of research required. Reference services not generally available to the public without payment of a research, copying and royalty fee (if applicable). Research may be performed entirely by staff and charged at an hourly rate or a day ticket is also available (including staff assistance). The archives are based in Ultimo, Sydney.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Document Archives

The archives contain extensive selections of over forty years of ABC radio and television - news, current affairs, documentaries, entertainment, education and sport. Documents (including photographs and publications) produced since the foundation of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1932 reflect its activities in radio and television broadcasting and concert giving. Most ABC material has been accessioned by that National Archives of Australia; the collection retained by ABC Document Archives is of material which has the greatest continuing in-house use. Archives and Library Services maintain a number of material catalogues including archives for Radio and Television, and a sound library.

Major holdings:

  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation - various departments: Photographs 1932- (70m); Publications (including ABC WeeklyTV Times24 Hours) 1939-(35m); Minutes of the Commission 1932- ; Annual reports 1933-; Radio Active, later Scan (house journals) 1947-1990
  • Radio Drama and Features: Scripts 1936-
  • Talks: Scripts 1937-
  • Television -various departments: Production files and scripts 1956-
  • ABC Concerts: Concert programs 1933-

Closed period of 30 years applies to most records (provisions of the Archives Act 1983 apply). The archives are based at the ABC Ultimo Centre, Harris Street, Sydney.

More information is available via:

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Content Sales

ABC Content Sales is a distributor of television, radio and online content and programming to the worldwide media marketplace. ABC Content Sales sells programs, footage and information feeds produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and leading independent content producers. ABC Content sales has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and London.

Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne

World leading and state-of-the-art, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image is Australia’s premier engine for screen and digital culture industries. From a century of cinema, to television, computer games and interactive media arts, ACMI presents a unique program of exhibitions, film programs, talks, forums, education programs, production workshops, community activities and lending services. ACMI has a history that began in Melbourne in 1946. Australian television began in 1956, with the Melbourne Olympics, and Australia’s first film school began in Melbourne in 1966. Throughout this period, ACMI grew and adapted and is now the first major public collection, exhibition and research institution to come into being since the creation of the great museums, libraries and galleries of the 19th century. Located in a purpose-built venue at Federation Square, Melbourne, since 2002, ACMI is at the heart of what has become Australia’s most visited cultural precinct.

Australian Film, Television and Radio School Library, Sydney

The Jerzy Toeplitz Library serves the film, broadcasting and new media industries as well as staff and students of the Australian Film Television and Radio School. The facilities and resources are open to the public.

Australian Old Time Radio Shows Group

Members of the Australian Old Time Radio Shows group are interested in listening to, researching and documenting the Golden Years of Australian Radio, normally accepted as the period from the 1923 to 1960s (inclusive). The group has many ongoing projects including construction of a series/serial database and a programming database; researching radio programme exports; collecting radio transcription discs; and collecting Radio Club and general radio related documents and ephemera.

Australian Series and Serials DATABASE

The database of Australian Series and Serials is a special project undertaken by our Chief Researcher, Moris Sztajer, who has achieved some amazing results in the last couple of years. This website and the search engines that you find on the site are a testimony to Moris’s research skills. Currently the database stands at over 3,158 Australian series and serials.

Radio Transcriptions

Several of the members collect radio transcriptions and have done so for several decades. Transcription discs are like LPs and were made for radio station use only. This was how the radio production houses moved the series/serials to the studio, apart from live performances of course. Transcription discs were meant to be destroyed after use, some times a single use and other times they were licensed for a period. Fortunately not all were destroyed and we owe this heritage to those who protected the discs.


Several members collect books, documents, photos, ephemera from the Golden Years of Australian radio. We will bring these to you on this website. All these items assist us in documenting Australian radio shows as well as radio stations and all the people involved.

Australian Women's Archives Project

The National Foundation for Australian Women established the Australian Women’s Archives Project (AWAP) in 2000, to enhance public knowledge and appreciation of the contribution women and their organisations have made to Australia. The Register includes women with career involvement in the mass media, including journalism, radio and television broadcasting.

Australian Writers' Foundation Oral History Project

An ongoing collection of oral history interviews with Australian writers for television and film. The interviews are filmed by Foxtel, with Susan Lever interviewing writers from the 1950s to the present. The interviews are deposited with the National Film and Sound Archive and may be accessed there. Writers include Joan Ambrose, Geoffrey Atherden, Sonia Borg, Cliff Green, Tom Hegarty, Alan Hopgood, Ian Jones,Gary Reilly, Tony Sattler, Roger Simpson, Eleanor Witcombe, David Williamson, Moya Wood, Peter Yeldham. This linked interview with Tony Morphett gives an example.

The full collection can be found via :

John Fairfax Archives, Sydney

The main focus of the Archives is to collect the records created by the management and Chief Executive Office of John Fairfax Ltd, including smaller collections from various Sydney newspapers owned by the company (100% in-house). The archives are located in Sussex Street, Sydney.

The collection can be found via:

Kurrajong Radio Museum

The museum is a privately funded operation displaying many aspects of radio and is run by Ian O'Toole VK2ZIO. The museum was officially opened on Saturday, May 27th 2006. It contains many operational radios and other equipment ready to be demonstrated. Visitors will be given a guided tour. With 250m2 of floor space, large groups can be accommodated. Kurrajong is about 50km to the north west of Sydney.

More information can be found via:

Museum of Printing at New England Regional Art Museum

Discover historical printing processes and products. 19th and 20th century printing equipment from the F T Wimble Collection. Including Albion, treadle platen and proofing presses, linotype, guillotines, wire stitchers, book presses, gold blocker, small offset press and more! Over 1000 printing blocks. Comprehensive library of books on printing and technical manuals. Changing displays of small equipment and printed products. Demonstrations and workshops for schools and other groups.

More information can be found via:

National Archives of Australia

Our collection is vast and diverse. It documents the full range of Australian government activities since Federation in 1901, and includes significant 19th-century records dealing with activities that were transferred from the colonies to the Commonwealth. The National Archives has offices in Canberra, each state capital and Darwin.

Our collection comprises records of:

  • the Australian Government – over 100 years’ of records created by government agencies as they document debates, decisions, actions and interactions
  • Commonwealth persons – papers and other records of prominent people such as governors-general, prime ministers, ministers, secretaries and High Court judges
  • the High Court – judges’ notebooks, correspondence between High Court members, records of court judgements

Records in the National Archives come in a range of formats:

  • paper files – the bulk of our collection
  • photographs – over 160,000 of them
  • audiovisual – around 200,000 film and video items
  • sound recordings – radio archives, documentary soundtracks, Royal Commissions and Inquiries, speeches and more
  • large-format – maps and plans
  • objects – including treasures such as the cigarette case Ataturk gave Prime Minister Stanley Melbourne Bruce
  • digital – some agencies have already transferred digital records to the Archives

Holdings include archived materials for the Postmaster General’s Department, the Department of Communications (various), the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal, the Australian Broadcasting Commission/Corporation (various) as well as parliamentary committees such as the Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee on Broadcasting, and formal inquiries such as the Royal Commission on Television.

More information can be found via:

National Film and Sound Archive

The National Film and Sound Archive’s primary aim is to develop a comprehensive collection of Australian works and materials representing the history, technology and culture of the audiovisual media, from their origins to the present time. The NFSA will also collect international material selectively, as resources permit, and not to the detriment of Australian works and materials.

The National Collection includes more than 1.3 million items. In addition to discs, films, videos, audio tapes, phonograph cylinders and wire recordings, the Collection includes supporting documents and artefacts, such as photographic stills, transparencies, posters, lobby cards, publicity, scripts, costumes, props, memorabilia and sound, video and film equipment.

The Archive headquarters are located in Canberra with offices in Sydney and Melbourne. Access centres are located in Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and Perth.

The collection also includes the National Registry of Audiovisual Collections.

The National Registry of Audiovisual Collections is a unique NFSA initiative – an eclectic listing of collections of moving image and recorded sound materials, as well as related documents and artefacts, from across Australia. The first edition was published in June 2007, describing over 80 collections held by institutions as diverse as libraries and museums, community groups, political parties, historical societies, research centres, film societies, broadcasters, distributors, production companies and foreign legations, as well as individual collectors.

The NFSA also maintains the Oral History Collection.

The Oral History program collects personal recollections of careers in film, TV, radio and recorded sound. These are contemporary oral history interviews with key professionals, practitioners and established and emerging artists in the Australian audiovisual industry.

Noel Butlin Archives Centre, ANU, Canberra

The Noel Butlin Archives Centre, located at the Australian National University in Canberra, is a nationally significant collection of primary source material relating to business and labour. The NBAC holds archives of industrial organisations, businesses, professional associations, industry bodies and the labour movement. It makes them available for research and use by the University and the wider community. Collection includes papers from the Australian Journalists’ Association, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, and the Printing and Kindred Industries Union.

Online Photographic Archive, Kiama

The Cocks Photographic Collection Online, a valuable photographic archive of the Kiama and surrounding Illawarra region, was launched at the University of Wollongong on 10 November 2006. Samuel Cocks operated a commercial photographic studio in Manning Street, Kiama, from the late 1800s to the 1920s. His photographs were used in numerous tourist publications and postcards, as well as in subsequent local history books, and depict the physical landscape, architecture and people of Kiama and the surrounding Illawarra region of the time. The scenic photographs help to illustrate many of the changes that have occurred in the region’s physical landscape since the early 1900s, as well as highlighting features that remain relatively unchanged. The Cocks Collection, which has been on long term loan to the University Archives from the Weston family of Kiama (founders and long-time owners of the Kiama Independent) consists of over 800 glass plate negatives, and complements historic local photographs held in other libraries.


PANDORA, Australia’s Web Archive, is a growing collection of copies of Australian online publications, established initially by the National Library of Australia in 1996, and now built in collaboration with nine other Australian libraries and other cultural collecting organisations. The purpose of the PANDORA Archive is to collect and provide long-term access to selected online publications and web sites that are about Australia, are by an Australian author on a subject of social, political, cultural, religious, scientific or economic significance and relevance to Australia, or are by an Australian author of recognised authority and make a contribution to international knowledge. There are a number of different ways to find resources in PANDORA. All archived titles are catalogued and a record is included in Libraries Australia, as well as in participants’ online catalogues. Access is provided via hotlinks in the catalogue record. Access is also provided via a search facility and subject and title lists on the PANDORA Home Page. Search services, such as Yahoo! and Google, index the Archive down to the level of individual titles, but not the contents of the titles. Pandora’s holdings can now be accessed via Trove.

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

The Powerhouse Museum is located in Ultimo, Sydney. Its unique and diverse collection of 385,000 objects spans history, science, technology, design, industry, decorative arts, music, transport and space exploration. Some of these items were on display in the 2006 exhibition, ‘On the Box: Great Moments in Australian Television 1956-2006’:

The Powerhouse Museum Research Library is a reference library supporting the exhibitions, publications and programs of the Museum. It is open to the public by appointment only. The Research Library collection dates from the establishment of the Museum in 1880. The collection is diverse and reflects the changing research requirements from the past and anticipates future research needs. The collection size can be roughly calculated at 30,000 books, 1,500 journal titles (400 current subscriptions) and a range of audio-visual and electronic resources. The value of the collection lies in its careful selection, classification and arrangement on open shelves and its development in accordance with the Museum's focus. The Library contains approximately 1,500 journals some back into the last century. Currently we receive over 400 titles. We have an especially long runs of the Australian Women's Weekly and Woman's Day. Our collections of Australian, London and New YorkVogue magazines, some going back to the early sixties, are heavily used.

SA Memory, State Library of South Australia

The State Library of South Australia and its forerunners since the 1838 Adelaide Mechanics’ Institution have amassed a comprehensive collection of the newspapers of the state. Since 1957 the Library has been one of the few state libraries to collect all the varying editions of the state’s newspapers. An extensive program of microfilming newspaper titles began soon after this date. Today it is estimated that the South Australian newspaper collection is 95% complete, with in excess of 450 individual titles. Current moves for the digitising of newspapers, with allied optical character recognition program, are set to see exciting on-line access to historic South Australian newspapers in the very near future.

SA Memory is an online gateway to South Australian culture and heritage, past and present. This multimedia website focuses on the South Australian experience - what makes South Australia different from other places. SA Memory illustrates and interprets themes highlighting South Australia’s people, places, issues and events from the colony’s beginnings to now: South Australia’s ‘memory’.

SA Memory helps to fulfill a key aim of the State Library of South Australia’s Strategic Plan: ‘to continue preserving the memories of the state’ through collection, preservation and accessibility to information about cultural heritage. SA Memory encourages collaboration with partners such as public libraries, local history societies, galleries, museums, archives, government agencies, businesses, and the community, to build a rich website resource and enhance the stories told.

Sydney Morning Herald Archives

Search every edition of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Sun-Herald between 1955-1995 in our unique online archive. All articles, captions and advertisements are fully keyword searchable and full-text results are returned in an exact digital reproduction of the printed pages as they were originally published. Search birth, death and marriage notices. Explore Australia's history through the big stories of the day. 
The SMH archives contains 820,000 pages in almost 13,000 issues spanning 1 January 1955 to 2 February 1995. The contents of all issues are fully text searchable and reflect the full context and layout of each page as it was originally published.

University of Melbourne Archives

The University of Melbourne Archives collects, manages and provides access to the historical records of the University, Victorian business, trade unions and other labour organisations, community and cultural organisations, as well as the personal papers of many individuals prominent within them. Records date from the first years of the colony of Victoria until the present day and cover a very wide field of endeavour. The Archives contain some material relevant to media history researchers such as typescripts of radio commentaries by war journalist Alan Bell, and papers for businessman and newspaper proprietor Theodore Fink. Victorian Newspapers: A Historical and Research Guide The website will provide a detailed overview of Victorian newspapers within the Library newspaper collection highlighting important, interesting and historical newspapers. It will explore aspects of newspaper history and to some extent broader themes in Victoria’s history through the medium of newspapers.

Sections include:

  • Introduction—a brief history of Victorian newspapers, with hypertext links to longer sections such as Origins, Gold Rush Expansion, and Newspapers Today.
  • Individual newspaper history chapters, e.g. the Age, Herald, Argus.
  • Newspaper identities—biographical items.
  • Newspaper diversity—explores different types of publications, e.g. religious, financial, rural, sporting, and labour movement press.
  • Developments in newspaper design and technology.
  • Thematic essays or articles from contributors on various topics.

Research Guide:

  • Newspaper biographies—full title history of major and significant publications, with State Library of Victoria holding information
  • Subject Guides, e.g. the radical press, religious newspapers and journals, and the sporting press.
  • User Guides—guides designed for specific user groups, e.g. family historians, students, arts and theatre researchers, and first time users.
  • Indexes and Finding Aids annotated list.
  • Newspaper Histories Bibliography.

The Women’s Pages

The Women's Pages: Australian Women and Journalism since 1850 highlights the achievements of Australian women journalists and their contributions to the nation's public life and culture. Women from around the nation, across time and all forms of media, have been included. A list of women Walkley Award winners is included to demonstrate the range and quality of women's journalism that has been produced since the inaugural awards in 1956, a time that roughly coincides with the emergence of the second wave feminist movement.



Bairnsdale Advertiser, Victoria: Holds records related to the Yeates family’s ownership of newspaper in the Gippsland area of Victoria and at Huon in Tasmania.

Hamilton Spectator, Victoria: Holds records of the development of the Hamilton Spectator Group that includes a number of newspapers in the Western Districts of Victoria.

Kiama Independent, NSW: Well preserved archival material on the newspaper and the ownership family (the Weston family, involved since the establishment of the newspaper). The family has donated photographic archives to the University of Wollongong Library.

McPherson Media, Shepparton, Victoria: Records of the McPherson family’s involvement with newspapers in Shepparton and district since 1888.

Murray Pioneer, Renmark, SA: The Taylor family has owned this newspaper since 1905 and has taken a close interest in its history.


Archives New Zealand

Archives New Zealand, Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga, is the official guardian of New Zealand’s public archives, gathering, storing and protecting an extremely wide range of material. Our holdings include the originals of the Treaty of Waitangi, government documents, maps, paintings, photographs and film. The materials also record history and document the relationship between Māori and the Crown.

BBC Written Archives Centre, Reading, UK

The Centre holds thousands of files, scripts and working papers from all parts of the BBC, from as far back as the BBC’s formation in 1922 to the 1980s. It also holds information about past programmes (more than c.3 years old) and the history of broadcasting. It conserves for the future the documents which have formed the BBC’s written history—correspondence, memoranda, contracts, scripts and many publications.
It contains a considerable amount of material relating to Australia, from the ABC, AWA and Macquarie Broadcasting Services, to empire broadcasting, shortwave broadcasting and the coverage of royal tours.

Chapman Archive, University of Auckland

The Chapman collection was begun in a private capacity and later became a resource of The University of Auckland. The Chapman Archive now contains more than 146,000 hours of radio and television broadcasting, dating back to the 1960s. Since mid-1984 the recording of news and current affairs programmes has been continuous. The Chapman Archive is New Zealand’s largest and most continuous collection of broadcast news and current affairs available in an ‘as broadcast’ form. Its radio holdings are almost as large as the entire holdings of Radio New Zealand’s Christchurch-based New Zealand National Sound Archives/Nga Taonga Korero.

Directory of British and Irish Sound Archives

A new service launched in May 2014 and maintained by British and Irish Sound Archives (BISA) association, the Directory of British and Irish Sound Archives contains collection descriptions, information on access arrangements and contact details for sound collections.

Hartman Center, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA

The Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History in Duke's Special Collection Library acquires and preserves printed material and collections of textual and multimedia resources and makes them available to researchers around the world. Through these collections and related programming, the Center promotes understanding of the social, cultural, and historical impact of advertising, marketing, and sales. The J. Walter Thompson papers, amongst other collections, contains material relating to Australia.

Institute of Commonwealth Studies Library, London, UK

The Institute of Commonwealth Studies is the only postgraduate academic institution in the UK devoted to the study of the Commonwealth. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies is located at 28 Russell Square, London. It is the national and international centre of excellence for policy-relevant research and teaching on Commonwealth studies, focusing on North-South relations, global peace and security, development, good governance, human rights and the politics of civil society. The ICS Library is a major resource for those working on the Commonwealth as a whole or on any of its member states, in the fields of history, politics and international relations and other subjects such as agriculture, education, the environment and social questions. We specialise in providing material which is unavailable elsewhere in the UK or, in some cases, in the country of origin.

The collection houses material from the Commonwealth Press Union, 1909-1998, and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation.

Irish Bibliography of Press History (IBPH)

The IBPH, an initiative of the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland, is a searchable, open access resource the scope of which is to provide a bibliography of secondary literature on the history of print media in Ireland, or by scholars based in, or closely associated with, Ireland on the history of print media generally.

Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland, Md. USA

The Library of American Broadcasting holds a wide-ranging collection of audio and video recordings, books, pamphlets, periodicals, personal collections, oral histories, photographs, scripts and vertical files devoted exclusively to the history of broadcasting.

The LAB is located on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park. It is housed in Hornbake Library. The Library contains a small selection of material on broadcasting in Australia.

Media History Project, University of Minnesota

The Media History Project was an online resource 'promoting the study of media from petroglyphs to pixels'. It's now archived website still includes articles on a wide range of topics and timelines relating to the history of the media.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is the New Zealand Archive of Film, Television and Sound Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua Me Ngā Taonga Kōrero. The archive was formed by the amalgamation of the New Zealand Film Archive Ngā Kaitiaki O Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua, Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero and the Television New Zealand Archive between 2012 and 2014. We are excited to bring New Zealand’s film, television and radio collections together at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, where they will be cared for by our specialist staff and in dialogue with each other tell richer stories about our country and its peoples.
Our name, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, represents a continuity between past and present. It draws from the names of the organisations that came together to form this new integrated Archive. It also reflects our commitment to New Zealand’s cultural heritage, the people and places recorded in our collections, the histories and stories told, and the collection objects themselves – all as types of taonga. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision remains dedicated to collecting, protecting and connecting Aotearoa’s audiovisual heritage with the widest possible audience.

Wisconsin Historical Association, Madison, USA

The Wisconsin Historical Association holds materials relevant to media history researchers within its Mass Communications History Collections. The Mass Communications History Collections were established in 1955 to document the importance of the mass media in 20th-century American life. The collections include the papers of hundreds of important individuals, corporations and professional organizations in the fields of journalism, broadcasting, advertising and public relations. The collection, including the papers of NBC and United Artists Corporation, and public relations consultants such as John W. Hill and Paul B. Zucker, incorporates some material relating to Australia.

Back to the top of this page