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'Stray' archives.

Archival estrays are records which were created or received by NSW government organisations (including Departments, local councils or public hospitals) but which have 'strayed' from official custody and are now in private hands. Estrays may include school or hospital admission registers, council rate books, police records, railway records and local court records.

In the past, some official records have made their way into collections of local historical societies, local museums and family papers. Thankfully, this has meant that these valuable records have survived and been preserved, rather than being destroyed and lost to future researchers.

Today, one of State Records' core legislative responsibilities is ensuring that official records are no longer placed at risk of becoming 'estrays', either now or in the future. We have the unique role of ensuring that official records are safeguarded, as well as preserving and providing access to the State's official archives.

From time to time this role involves receiving or recovering important estrays from private organisations or persons. Many estrays are donated to State Records and these generous acts are greatly appreciated as they ensure that important records are included in the State archives collection. The return of important records to official custody will ensure that they are accessible to all citizens and are preserved in appropriate, climate controlled conditions for future generations.

So if you or your organisation is ever approached about taking official government records into your possession we would like to hear from you. Or if you already have official records in your possession or held by your organisation and would like to donate them, please contact us on (02) 8247 8626 or email disposal@records.nsw.gov.au.

AMANDA BARBER

Manager, Government Recordkeeping

State Records NSW
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Barber, Amanda
Publication:Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Words:286
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