9 June - International Archives Day

Gerard Foley Monday, June 9, 2014 - 11:05

9 June is International Archives Day, a date chosen by the International Council on Archives in 2007 to promote archives and good record keeping. Why 9th of June? This day was chosen because it is the anniversary of the creation of the International Council on Archives under the auspices of UNESCO in 1948.

On International Archives Day, Archives and Record Keeping organisations around the world are encouraged by the International Council on Archives to:

"Raise awareness among the public of the importance of records and archives, in order to make it understood that records and archives provide the foundation for their rights and identity; Raise the awareness of senior decision makers of the benefits of records management for good governance and development; Raise the public, private and public sectors' awareness of the necessity of preserving archives for the long-term, and of providing access to them; Promote and bring to the attention of the larger public unique, extraordinary and rare documents preserved in archival institutions; Improve the image of records and archives and enhance their visibility globally."

In Western Australia the records of the Convicts who were transported from the British Isles, from 1850 to 1868, are the only records inscribed on UNESCO's International Memory of the World Register. To mark International Archives Day 2014, the SRO has placed online an image of Patrick Dempsey's (Convict Number 6557) Certificate of Freedom, which was granted in 1869. Infused with the dirt, grime and sweat from a life hard lived, this heavily stained certificate reveals Western Australia's Convict past.

Convicted of "larceny from the person" in Knutsford in Cheshire in 1861, the 23 year old Dempsey, an unmarried umbrella maker, was transported to WA on the York arriving on 31 December 1862. He received a Ticket of Leave in 1864 and lived in various places including the Swan district, York, Champion Bay (Geraldton region) and Fremantle. He is also recorded as working as a labourer, miner, hutkeeper and general servant. Dempsey drowned in an accident at Geraldton jetty on 19 August 1890.