(20 Jan 2021) Deep in basements beneath Mulgrave St, archivist Shaun McGuire winches a cog that opens towering rows of what are known as stacks – giant shelving units weighing as much as buses and holding any type of archive you can imagine.
The basements are filled with these units after a 1952 blaze at a Dixon St office saw a treasure trove of government archives incinerated. Back then, archives were erratically stored around the city, and the inferno led to the creation of a national archive to safeguard the country’s records.
Across the entire collections of both Archives and the National Library, physical records total more than 271 kilometres – a number that’s constantly growing through transfers of records from public sector organisations, Alexander Turnbull Library donations and purchases.
Find out more about the treasures and history behind the archive, see here.