The stories of the people of Western Australia and the development of representative democracy since commencement of British settlement in the 1820s can be told through our State’s Archives. Preserved and made accessible by the State Records Office, selected State Archives are presented in this online exhibition to show the transformation of Western Australia from a British Colony administered from afar, to a self-governing representative democracy reflecting the concerns and aspirations of its people.
State Archives are preserved for posterity and made accessible to the people of the Western Australia because they comprise much of the State’s official and social memory, forming an essential bridge between the past, present and future. They record the challenges, aspirations and experiences of past generations, and often inform contemporary debates about our State's identity and values, and its place in the world.
In 2015 we mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the archival document that has been described as “the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot” and from which our parliamentary system of representative government germinated and developed. Magna Carta resonates through the rule of law and the continuous development of laws by WA’s State Parliament and other Parliaments in Australia, throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, and beyond.