The State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales (NSW State Archives and Records) is one of Australia’s pre-eminent Archives and Records Authorities with a vast collection of historical records and archives dating back to the European settlement of Australia in 1788. With responsibilities for the development, preservation and access for the State’s archives, NSW State Archives and Records is also responsible for managing and storing over 640 kilometres of semi-permanent Government records for NSW public sector offices.
NSW State Archives and Records is a statutory body under Schedule 2 of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 and is legislated under the State Records Act 1998 (the Act) to administer the Act. NSW State Archives and Records is an agency within the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Our Structure and Functions
NSW State Archives and Records is the NSW Government’s archives and records management authority. Its purposes are to preserve the State archives and enable and promote their use, and set standards and provide guidance and services to improve records management across the NSW public sector including local government, the universities and the public health system.
The public can access State archives via the Public Reading Room located at the Western Sydney Records Centre. Address and hours are as follows:
Western Sydney Records Centre
161 O’Connell Street, KINGSWOOD
(02) 9673 1788
Hours of opening
- Tuesday-Friday 9am to 5pm
- Saturday 10am to 4pm
- Monday, Sunday and public holidays CLOSED
The reading room and public facilities are wheelchair accessible.
PO Box 516, Kingswood NSW 2747
Our core regulatory, archival management, public access and service delivery functions are budget-funded through a grant from the Department of Planning and Environment. The Government Records Repository (GRR) operates off-budget to provide records storage services to the public sector.
NSW State Archives and Records is governed by the State Records Act 1998, which also establishes public offices' obligations in relation to their records, and governs public access to records more than 30 years old. The Act is currently under review. Information on the review can be seen here.
NSW State Archives and Records is comprised of five branches.
NSW State Archives and Records Authority
- Collections, Access & Engagement accepts Government records which will be retained as State Archives, and processes these records to enable members of the public to access Government records and archives.
- Government Recordkeeping sets standards for the management of State records, provides guidance to NSW public sector agencies on records management and identifies records which need to be retained as State Archives.
- Technical Business Systems provides internal information technology and communications services.
- Commercial Operations (Government Records Repository) stores and provides access to non-current Government records, for a fee.
- Strategy and Governance team provides high level executive support including strategic planning and reporting, board secretariat, risk management and a range of other activities to support the organisation.
State Archives and Records Senior Executive Team
The Senior Executive team meets each week to maintain a strategic view of operations, monitor progress towards corporate goals across programs, and review and approve major policies and initiatives. The Senior Executive team consists of:
Adam Lindsay Executive Director
Adam Lindsay joined NSW State Archives and Records (SARA) in April 2017, becoming Executive Director in August 2018. From 1 July 2019, Adam also began leading Sydney Living Museums (SLM) as its Executive Director, signalling the start of a very exciting partnership, one that has enormous potential for both institutions. Two of the country’s leading history and heritage organisations working closely together creates limitless opportunities. The State Archives Collection and the 12 important sites, and associated collections, managed by SLM make up a formidable portfolio of assets, with which we can tell many stories and engage people across the state, the nation and the globe. In addition to his role as Executive Director, Adam will serve as a Director for the SLM Foundation.
Adam has over 14 years’ experience in senior leadership roles within government and cultural institutions. At SARA, Adam has accountability for a cultural asset comprising more than 14 million items, with a financial value of $1 billion and a cultural worth beyond measure. A key focus of his leadership has been to expand public engagement in a broad range of creative programming, exhibitions, activities and initiatives across NSW to increase access to the State Archives Collection.
Prior to joining SARA, Adam was the Assistant Director of Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). His major achievements included co-planning a program that attracted record attendance and featured one of 2017’s top 20 most attended exhibitions globally, securing significant increases to funding and overseeing the heritage listing of the Queensland Art Gallery building.
During his time with the Australian Department of Broadband Communications and Digital Economy, Adam successfully implemented digital television across Australia’s regional and remote communities. This was the first time these communities, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, had equitable access to television content available to Australians living in metro areas.
Ben Alexander Director, Commercial Operations
As Director Commercial Operations, Ben has oversight of the Facilities unit and the business unit of SARA – Government Records Repository (GRR). Through the GRR and its fee for service offering, Ben helps underpin the financial stability of SARA, with the surplus generated from the activity of the GRR used to further the corporate goals of SARA to make accessible and preserve the states circa $1B Archival collection. The facilities unit manages the function and performance of the assets needed to enable SARA’s operations.
Ben has over 20 years’ experience in Records Management service provision, with a focus on Warehouse, Logistics and Digitisation services. Working across the public and private sector Ben has gathered deep experience in a number of roles, particularly in operations and systems areas, with over 5 years at the General Manager/Director level.
Martyn Killion Director, Collections, Access & Engagement
Martyn Killion is the Director of Collections, Access and Engagement (CAE). As Director, Martyn has oversight of ensuring the proper transfer of records into the State Archives Collection and their documentation, and their care through conservation; providing services for the public to access the Collection and developing and managing engagement initiatives, including an award-winning exhibitions program.
Martyn has had an association with NSW State Archives for over 40 years. He also has extensive government experience particularly in the area of culture and the arts having worked in a number of roles at Arts NSW (now Create NSW) and in cultural institutions. In his spare time, Martyn is an avid family historian and has had a long involvement in the genealogical and historical research community.
What we do
We provide a wide range of services to the public and the NSW public sector, along with guidance for public sector bodies on all aspects of records management.
We manage a framework of policy, legislation, standards, codes of best practice and guidelines governing the making, retention and management of State records and access to them. This framework applies both to records managed by public sector bodies and to the State archives collection.
Records in our Care
A major operational focus for us is the documentation, storage and preservation of records. These include the State archives collection held in our own facilities, State archives maintained elsewhere in partnership arrangements with other organisations, and semi-active records stored commercially for our public sector clients.
Section 66 of the State Records Act 1998 provides that NSW State Archives and Records has the following functions:
- setting and monitoring standards for the creation, management and disposal of State records
- providing practical advice, guidance and training to NSW public sector agencies in all aspects of records management
- providing centralised and cost-effective storage and retrieval services for the semi-active records of public sector agencies
- identifying State records that should be retained as State Archives and authorising the disposal of those which should not
- documenting and cataloguing State Archives in their functional and administrative context
- storing the State Archives Collection in appropriate environments and ensuring that those stored elsewhere are also stored to the necessary standards
- using micro-preservation and macro-preservation techniques to preserve the State Archives Collection
- making State records more than 30 years old available for public access and use
- guiding public sector agencies in administering public access to those State records for which they are responsible
- interpreting, promoting and enhancing public awareness of the State Archives Collection
- making the best use of information technology and communications to improve our services and business.
Assess serious matters of poor recordkeeping
Individuals may make a complaint about serious instances of poor recordkeeping or non-compliant records management within a NSW Government organisation.
It should be noted that NSW State Archives and Records can only look at matters that specifically relate to the requirements of the State Records Act 1998 and the records management standards issued under the Act.
In the first instance, you can contact us by telephone to discuss the issue. If it is a serious matter that we can look into, we will ask for the complaint in writing.
Complaints about records management in NSW Government organisations should be addressed to the Government Recordkeeping team, NSW State Archives and Records by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to PO Box 516, Kingswood NSW 2747.
If NSW State Archives and Records decides to deal with the complaint, we will make an assessment of the organisation’s records management policy and processes in order to determine if a breach of the State Records Act has occurred. Our aim is to assist the public office to improve its records management by bringing its attention to areas of policy and process which need corrective action or improvement. NSW State Archives and Records does not have formal investigation powers.
If your complaint concerns:
- maladministration or corrupt conduct, the appropriate organisations to approach are the Independent Commission Against Corruption (see www.icac.nsw.gov.au) and the NSW Ombudsman’s Office (see www.ombo.nsw.gov.au)
- access to records and information under the Government Information Public Access Act, the appropriate organisation to approach is the Office of the Information Commissioner (see www.ipc.nsw.gov.au), or
- privacy of records and information under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act and Health Records and Information Privacy Act, the appropriate organisation to approach is the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (see www.ipc.nsw.gov.au).
Values, Vision and Aims
- Ensure that the business of the NSW public sector is properly documented and that official records are managed efficiently and effectively to support frontline service delivery, good governance and accountability.
- Develop, document, preserve and make available the State Archives Collection as a cultural and information resource in order to enrich the people and communities of NSW.
We are committed to:
- the highest possible professional standards
- our customers and their needs in our decision-making and business directions
- integrity and accountability in our dealings with stakeholders, customers and the records
- innovation, creativity and openness to ideas in our work
- respect for our customers and their diverse backgrounds and interests, and respect for each other.
To ensure the people and Government of NSW have ready access to records which illuminate history, enrich the life of the community and support good and accountable government.