In 2019 State Records is celebrating its centenary, having been established in 1919. It is the oldest government archive in Australia.
On 1 February 1919 George Henry Pitt was appointed as Archivist to work in the newly established South Australian Archives Department. Alongside Pitt, Mabel Hardy B.A. was appointed Assistant Archivist. Pitt and Hardy were tasked with identifying, preserving and making accessible official records for the use of students, historians and future South Australians.
The Archives Department was first housed in an old military store, which is now the Radford Auditorium at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Now housed in two repositories at Gepps Cross and Collinswood, State Records' collection is made up of almost 90 linear kilometres of records.
In 1925 South Australia was the first state to introduce legislation to regulate the destruction of government records. State Records still works to identify, preserve and make accessible official records, though there have been many changes to our work in the last 100 years.
The first researchers at the Archives Department were mostly students undertaking the Tinline Scholarship in Imperial History at the University of Adelaide. Today State Records' Research Centre welcomes researchers from many backgrounds including students, lawyers and family historians.
The digital age has changed the way records are created and preserved, which presents new challenges for the work of an archive. In addition State Records now also administers the Freedom of Information Act 1991 and the Information Privacy Principles Instruction.
Discover the treasures and stories at the heart of the nation’s oldest government archive at the exhibition Professor Henderson’s Department of Historical Records.