How to use the State Archives Collection

Where to find the collection

Most of the State Archives Collection is in the form of original documents and can be viewed in our Reading Room at Kingswood. Some records of regional significance are held in our Regional Archives Centres.

Many of our popular records have been copied onto microform and are available at our Community Access Points throughout Australia and at several international locations as part of the Archives Resources Kit (ARK). We also hold these copied records in our Reading Room.

A small percentage of the collection has been digitised, and is available online by searching our catalogue and our Flickr page, as well as on third party websites such as Ancestry, FamilySearch and FindMyPast.

Pre-order your Reading Room request

Get the most out of your visit by pre-ordering records in advance. Pre-ordering gives us time to process your requests and have the records ready before you arrive. We suggest that you pre-order at least two working days before your planned visit.

You will need a Reader's Ticket to view original records.

Copy service

If you are unable to visit our Reading Room, we offer a copying service for certain types of records.

Searching the collection

The State Archives Collection is described and arranged according to the government body that created the record, preserving the original order and system used.

The records are arranged in the following order:

  • first, by the government agency (a department, branch, office or official) that created them
  • second, into series of records
  • third, into items (bound volumes, files, documents or objects) within the series.

Our catalogue can therefore be searched by agencies, series and items.

We recognise it may be difficult to identify a relevant agency to your search. To assist, we have compiled a Subjects A–Z of our most popular records (this combines our previous online indexes and Research A–Z). We recommend using this as a starting point.

To delve further into the collection, think about the ways NSW Government agencies may have been involved in a chosen research topic, or how individuals may have interacted with NSW Government agencies, to help identify relevant records.

How to begin your research depends on what you ultimately wish to find. The two most common search categories may be grouped as:

Where to find State Archives on the website

Items from the State Archives Collection are available under several different rights categories.

Outward loans for exhibitions

We welcome requests from other museums and cultural institutions to borrow items from the State Archives Collection for display in exhibitions. 

Requests to borrow items must be received with 6 months’ notice to allow time for scheduling and preparing the loan. Loan requests received outside this notice period will be considered and approved on a case-by-case basis. 

To discuss or submit a loan request please contact: 

Director, Collections