Friday, 21 September 2018

National Archives facility named in honour of former Attorney-General Peter Durack QC

Media release

Australia's state-of-the-art facility for the preservation of Commonwealth records has been named in honour of the former Attorney-General who helped establish the National Archives of Australia.

The National Archives Preservation Facility in Canberra today was officially named the Peter Durack Building in recognition of the Fraser Government Attorney-General who introduced the first Archives Bill in 1978.

"I am proud to officially name the building after the Hon. Peter Durack QC," Attorney-General, Christian Porter, said at the naming ceremony attended by members of the Durack family and the Archives Advisory Council.

"Peter Durack was a strong advocate for freedom of information legislation and public access to Commonwealth records. He introduced the bill that became the Archives Act 1983 and led to the establishment of the National Archives.

"Today, we see Peter's vision realised with the Peter Durack Building representing a significant investment by the Government in the preservation of Australia's past - for Australia's future."

The National Archives Preservation Facility was officially opened by former Attorney-General, George Brandis QC, on 9 June 2017 – International Archives Day.

The Peter Durack Building represents excellence in archival practice, being designed and constructed to provide a state-of-the-art preservation environment for paper, audiovisual, photographic and other physical records. Critically, it also supports archiving capability into the future as digital transformation becomes increasingly important in government business and service delivery.

The facility holds more than 350 shelf kilometres of documents and photographs, hundreds of thousands of hours of audiovisual material, and more than 700 terabytes of digital records.

Peter Durack QC (1926-2008) served in the Australian Parliament as a Senator for Western Australia from 1972 to 1993.

In Peter Durack's early years in Parliament, the records of the Commonwealth were being stored in leaking and flood-threatened Nissen huts beside Lake Burley Griffin, where the National Gallery of Australia now stands.

Peter Durack himself said of the National Archives that its: "…accumulation of information opens up a vast wealth of research material of vital interest to almost every profession and of great significance in the recorded history of this nation. The Government wishes that this great national resource should be put at the disposal of the public through a network of archival facilities and reference services."

"Australia owes Peter a debt of gratitude for his foresight and determination to ensure the preservation of Australia's Commonwealth records and his family members attending today's naming ceremony can be justifiably very proud of his achievement seen on display in this state-of-the-art facility," the Attorney-General, Christian Porter, said.