State Archive Collection

The State Records Office (SRO) of Western Australia aims to provide easy and effective access for our clients, the community of Western Australia, to the wealth of historical material created by State and Colonial Governments, as well as by Local Government authorities, that is contained within the State Records Office's collection. The State Records Office serves the community through the provision of high quality reference services in our Search Room and professional archival advice for clients seeking to use the materials contained within the collection.

The day-to-day operation of the State Records Office Search Room is the responsibility of the Archival Services Team. This Team is responsible for the documentation and preservation of archival records, the transfer of archival material to the SRO and the facilitation of access to the State's archives collection by the general public.

The Collection

The core of the State Records Office is the State archives collection. The collection consists of records created by the Colonial and State Governments, as well as Local Government authorities in Western Australia, which are retained permanently by the State Records Office. State archives include files, maps, architectural drawings, documents, microforms, sound recordings and electronic records. State archives can be accessed through the State Records Office Search Room by completing the necessary retrieval slip - with the exception of those records designated as restricted.

Access to Archives

The State Records Office operates a Search Room on the ground floor of the Alexander Library Building where clients may access State archives and make use of the supplementary finding aids and indexes provided. In order to use original materials clients must obtain a Researcher's Ticket from the Search Room Enquiry Desk and complete a retrieval slip for the items which they require, using the online request service or handwritten slips for items still in the hardcopy system. The Archival Services Team undertakes two retrievals per day from within the building, and a daily retrieval from our offsite repository.

Many of the most commonly used State archives have been reproduced in microform and are available in the State Records Office's Microform Area where they can be directly accessed by clients on a self-serve basis.

Searching our database

Our catalogue, which now describes about 95% of the collection to records series level and over 80% to item level, will allow you to search for data in a number of different ways, whether you are looking for a copy of your Great uncle’s will, or working on your PhD.    

Reference Queries

In addition to providing clients in the Search Room with advice on how to proceed with their information queries, staff of the SRO provide a limited reference service to clients living outside the metropolitan area.

Finding Aids and Indexes

To enable clients to have easy access to the State archives collection the State Records Office maintains a variety of finding aids and indexes, in addition to the online catalogue.

Information Sheets

The SRO produces a wide range of information sheets designed to assist clients in accessing and understanding some of the more commonly used record series within the State Records Office's collection.

Copying of Archives

The State Records Office provides clients with a number of options for the copying of archival material. Digital cameras are welcome and this provides clients with the option of photographing the material themselves.

Community Seminars

Periodically, the State Records Office hosts community seminars designed to introduce small groups of new clients to the wide range of material contained within the State archives collection and to instruct clients in the use of finding aids and indexes.

Family History

Staff on the Search Room Enquiry Desk can provide advice and assistance to clients seeking to undertake family history research. In addition to general family history indexes the State Records Office also contains a number of specialised finding aids relevant to researchers investigating Aboriginal Family History.

Publications - Genealogical & Historical

To improve client access to State archives, the State Records Office, along with organisations such as the Friends of Battye and the WA Genealogical Society, have produced a number of publications which provide guides to various sections of the State Records Office's collection. These publications are available for purchase within the Alexander Library Building.

Further Information

For further information on any of these services or general information on the State Records Office please contact the staff on the State Records Office Search Room Enquiry Desk either by telephone on (08) 9427 3600, via email at or in person.

Search the archives catalogue