Using archival records

Students using the National Archives' Vrroom online classroom to look at archival records, 2011

We have a rich collection of primary source documents (archival records). Primary source documents are important because they give us first-hand evidence of people, places, objects and events. State and local archives, libraries and historical societies also keep archival records.

Primary sources are created at the time of the event or during the lives of the people they describe, and have not been rewritten or reinterpreted by someone else. Here are some examples of primary sources from our online classroom Vrroom:

A lot of information available on the internet is secondary source material. Other examples of secondary sources include:

  • textbooks
  • scholarly articles
  • encyclopedias.

To be eligible for the National Archives' Special Category, you must use our records. However, you can also use primary sources held by libraries, historical societies and your own family to support your argument.

Getting started

Search for archival records using our:

Ask to see an archival record in one of our capital city reading rooms. You may be the first member of the public to view the record!

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019