The AIATSIS Collections role is to develop, maintain and preserve well-documented collections and to provide the best possible access to clients.
Most of the material held in the Audiovisual Archive is not owned by AIATSIS. For this reason, it is necessary to obtain permission from third parties before material can be copied. Additionally, if the material is being requested for publication, we require that the relevant Indigenous individual, family or community be consulted.
AIATSIS cannot guarantee that all materials will be made available to all clients, or that permission will be received within a set timeframe.
Phone: (02) 6261 4212
The Audiovisual Archive is accessible through the Audiovisual Archive Access Unit by appointment only. Appointments can be made during our operating hours: Monday to Friday: 9am - 1pm.
The audiovisual collection’s Community Access program is designed to establish relationships with Indigenous communities across Australia. The central aim of the program is to return photographs, audio recordings and film/video to Indigenous individuals, families and communities. The aims of the project are to visit selected communities several times to establish a relationship of trust between community members and AIATSIS. The project, called ‘Giving it Back’, has so far returned materials to Brewarrina, Cherbourg, Fitzroy Crossing, Taree/Purfleet, Leeton and the Torres Strait Islands. All these communities are well represented in our audiovisual collections and were part of the ‘After 200 Years’ Photographic Project which took place from 1986-87. In preparation for such visits we digitise photographs and audio recordings and bring digital copies to the community. This approach allows clients to receive material sooner and in digital form.
Most materials held at AIATSIS from the communities have been digitised so that copies of selected materials can be returned to individuals and community centres while the originals continue to be stored in AIATSIS archives. Supplying the photographs in digital form has enabled staff to print them in an efficient and cost-effective manner upon request.
For many years the AIATSIS Audiovisual Archive has provided free copies of audio recordings, video recordings and photographs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients through its ROMTIC (Return of Material to Indigenous Clients) program. We are pleased to announce an increasing amount of material is now available through ROMTIC in digital form.
A lot of the material held by the AIATSIS Audiovisual Archive carries personal, ceremonial or copyright restrictions and can only be copied once permissions have been obtained. We will prepare a complete list of relevant material for you and provide advice about obtaining permissions.