In addition to regular statements provided in accordance with the Archives Act, the Council is provided with regular reports by the Archives on its activities in managing archival records and its role in ensuring the preservation of essential current records of the Government.
Specific areas of focus for the Council during the year are discussed below.
The cultural sector
To learn about the Archives’ environment and business, the Advisory Council arranged for guest speakers to attend Council meetings. Speakers included recipients of Archives’ research awards and representatives from other cultural institutions. Guest speakers during the year were:
- Ms Kate Cowie, General Manager, Old Parliament House;
- Mr Bill Bleathman, Director of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and Chair of Visions of Australia;
- Mr Frank Moorhouse, the 2004 recipient of the National Archives Fredrick Watson Fellowship; and
- Dr Christina Twomey, one of two recipients of the National Archives Margaret George Award in 2004.
The Advisory Council also extended hospitality to staff of the National Portrait Gallery, Manning Clarke House Inc., and the National Library of Australia.
Council members involved themselves in the Archives’ activities through their attendance at State consultative forums. Specifically:
- Mr Paul Santamaria, SC attended a Melbourne consultative forum.
- Dr Jane Wilson attended two Brisbane consultative forums.
- Ms Nina Riemer attended a Sydney consultative forum.
- The Hon. Mr Alex Somlyay MP attended a Brisbane consultative forum.
The Council was represented at a number of exhibition openings throughout the country.
The Council attended a tour of The Petrov Affair exhibition at Old Parliament House, to which the Archives contributed material.
Promotion of the National Archives
The Council took a keen interest in the promotion of the Archives, particularly in regional and remote areas.
The Council was very interested in Vrroom, the Archives’ virtual reading room allowing teachers and students to easily access and use records relevant to their curriculum and interests. Vrroom offers pre-packaged resources for use in the classroom, as well as an online experience in archival research. The Council commended the Archives for its ability to reach into the classroom through Vrroom, and for other programs written especially for the assistance of teachers.
The Council paid particular attention to the Archives’ exhibition program and events as a means of promoting the Archives. The Council received regular updates of activities including the ‘Find of the Month’ and travelling exhibitions.
The Council monitored the refurbishments and reconfigurations undertaken by the Archives to best use its increasingly limited storage capacity. The Minister informed the Council that the Archives would share, as an interim measure, storage space within the new National Library of Australia facility. The Council notes the importance of a long-term solution to the storage needs of the Archives.
In early 2005, the Archives received permission from the Government to adopt a co-branding approach to the use of the logo and Commonwealth Coat of Arms. The Council was very pleased with this outcome.