The National Archives Preservation Facility
Preserving Your History for the Future
The future of the 40 million Commonwealth records held by the National Archives has been bolstered through three major projects: the upgrade of the Chester Hill repository in Sydney completed in late 2015; the National Archives Preservation Facility (NAPF) in Canberra, which is well underway; and a third that is subject to further approval processes. The combined capacity will enable us to accept records until 2031.
The relocation of records to the NAPF in Canberra is an exciting evolution for the Archives. The architecturally designed, environmentally sustainable building has storage for approximately 25 per cent of our extensive collection. It will house 104 kilometres of paper records, more than nine kilometres of audio-visual records and a digital archive, ensuring the preservation and conservation of our irreplaceable collection continues into the future.
There will be disruption to access to the Canberra-based collection from 30 October 2016 to 1 July 2017, as we relocate 15 million records from multiple repositories and rehouse them in the NAPF.
While we are unable to retrieve all affected records, we have identified high-use records that will continue to be available in the Canberra Reading Room. You can also view digitised records online, including the following key groups:
- Over 376,000 personnel dossiers of the First AIF, 1914–20
- Over 400,000 photographs are available on PhotoSearch
- Over 5.5 million passenger arrival records covering the period 1898–1966
- Over 116,000 service cards of Officers, Petty Officers and Men who served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1911 to 1970
Please note that access to records in our state and territory offices will not be affected.
If you have a query about access to records you can ask us a question.
Why are we building the NAPF?
Preservation and conservation
The records in our care come in many shapes, sizes and formats; some are fragile and prone to deterioration. Controlled storage environments and specialised preservation facilities will slow down that process.
Value to the Australian public
The collection contains significant Australian Government records, reflecting our history and identity. Our purpose is to preserve, store and make accessible this information for the benefit of all Australians.
This will be one of the last Archives repositories built for paper records. The facility provides increased capacity to transfer and store digital records, as government agencies transition to digital information management.
The NAPF's passive, green design will minimise energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and its environmental footprint.
The Archives and DOMA Group have formed a partnership that includes a 30-year lease of the building.
The Archives has recently completed an upgrade of its Chester Hill repository – the largest of the Archives' storage facilities, including a large proportion of the audio-visual collection.
Phase 3 will allow the Archives to accept records until 2031. The project will involve refurbishing an existing building in the ACT to help accommodate some of the nearly 254 shelf kilometres of paper records that government agencies will transfer into our custody. Phase 3 is subject to further approval processes.