Transfer records to QSA

Learn what you need to do to transfer permanent archival value public records to Queensland State Archives (QSA). Alternatively, find out about transferring records during a machinery-of-government change.

QSA collects and manages Queensland public records of enduring value with ongoing usefulness or significance to the state. These records are then made available for present and future generations.

Any records to be transferred to QSA must be designated as permanent . This is done through a current retention and disposal schedule or a decision by the State Archivist.

QSA will only accept permanent records for transfer that are more than 25 years old.

Records for transfer need to be inactive and no longer required by your agency for business use – it should be unlikely that your agency needs to recall these records after transfer.

Results from a survey undertaken in 2019 under section 10 of the Public Records Act 2002 indicated that agencies have in their custody over 100 kilometres of paper records older than 25 years and a further 2.3 million registers and records in other formats. The volume of records held by agencies that may potentially be transferred to QSA far exceeds the physical storage space remaining in QSA's repositories at Runcorn.

Given this limited space, and to ensure QSA safeguard the records of most potential value to Queenslanders, priority for transfer will be given to those records which score highest against the following criteria:

  • age–e.g. records created prior to 1900
  • accessibility–e.g. records that are open to public access or near to being open to public access
  • underrepresentation–e.g. records on topics/regions/agencies that are underrepresented in the archival collection
  • significance–e.g. records with high political/social/cultural significance
  • demand–e.g. high anticipated demand by the community
  • risk–e.g. records at risk of loss or damage due to age, format, or poor storage conditions.

QSA will consider exceptions if the records have high political, social, or cultural significance.

Please contact the QSA Transfers Officer if you have any questions.

All digital permanent value records must remain in your agency as they cannot be transferred to QSA at this time.

Hybrid records may also need to remain in your agency. They contain both digital and physical components, which ideally should be transferred at the same time. Please call the Transfers Officer to discuss.

Records with a disposal action of 'retain permanently by agency' are also not eligible for transfer to QSA.

If records have certain types of pests or damage, contain active mould or are excessively dirty, QSA may not be able to take them until the problem has been dealt with. Contact QSA for more information or to assess damaged records.

Fragile records (e.g. glass plate negatives) or records in poor condition must be discussed with QSA first.

Contact the QSA Transfers Officer to discuss your transfer and any potential issues, such as timeframes, eligibility, condition or packaging of records.

All proposals and transfers are created and managed in ArchivesGateway.

For instructions on how to complete transfer proposals and transfers in ArchivesGateway see the training videos and user guide on the Use ArchivesGateway page.

You will need to submit a transfer proposal through ArchivesGateway for approval by QSA.

If your transfer proposal is approved, a transfer number will be generated, which should be used as a reference for any further documentation and correspondence.

The records will then need to be listed on an item list template and submitted in ArchivesGateway, boxed ready for transfer, and restricted access periods set.

Ensure you allow plenty of time to prepare for and manage the transfer.

If your transfer proposal is not approved, we will explain why the records will not be accepted.

Each single transfer must not exceed 400 type 1 archive boxes or equivalent. A sequence of transfers can be arranged if necessary.

Use the item list template to list all records for transfer. The template can be downloaded from the transfers screen in ArchivesGateway and also from Resources and Tools section below. It includes specific fields to be completed and is used to import the information into QSA's archival management system.

All items must be listed individually (e.g. file, folder, register, map). Multiple physical parts should be listed separately and part numbers included as part of the title. If an item has multiple parts without references to part numbers or descriptors, contact the Transfers Officer to discuss.

Items should be physically arranged, boxed and listed in their original order where possible.

This list forms the basis for information uploaded to QSA's archival management system and public catalogue.

The item list is checked against the records when they arrive at QSA. Items must be boxed or packed in the same order as the list.

The list must not include any items not being transferred, such as items missing or on loan.

All items should be on the same template. If a transfer has multiple series, use the Series ID column to add a series number or title to distinguish series.

Archival boxes

Use a Type 1 archive box to transfer standard-sized records to QSA.

Archive boxes are a certain size and shape and are the best type of storage for hard copy records.

If you have records that are not an A4 size, contact QSA about suitable archival containers.

Type 1 archive box

Type 1 archive box

Type 1 boxes are available from the following suppliers:

  • Grace Records–Kraft/plain cardboard boxes, referenced as QSA Cleanskins or QSA Type 1 boxes
  • Archival Survival–Kraft/plain cardboard and buffered archival quality boxes.

Boxes must not be over–packed as this can damage the records. An open hand should be able to fit down the inside of the box.

Loose attachments such as reports, brochures or specifications should be physically housed in a folder or file cover with the related item. There should be no loose documents in boxes.

All details on the box should be written in black permanent marker pen. Do not use adhesive labels. Write the box number at the bottom of the box face and the departmental number or alphabetical range (if applicable) in the middle. Leave the top third of the box face vacant for QSA use.

Registers and other volumes

Registers and other volumes do not need particular boxes as they are usually too large and will be placed directly onto shelving at QSA.

Any suitable box can be used for transportation purposes.

Maps and plans

Maps and plans are not boxed and are placed into suitable repository storage at QSA.

For large volume transfers of maps or plans, you may need to provide suitable plan folders.

Issues relating to housing and transporting of maps and plans should be discussed with the QSA Transfers Officer.

Agencies are responsible for the costs of transporting records to QSA.

Transportation companies must be aware of specific requirements in handling permanent archival value records. Vehicles should be covered, locked and attended to at all times. They must not be used for transporting other materials, such as chemicals, that may damage the records.

You can include security and confidentiality requirements in the transportation contract. Consider if insurance is necessary.

Large quantities of registers or volumes should be placed on pallets with a protective layer of cardboard between the pallet and the items. Pallets should then be shrink-wrapped to prevent movement and damage to the records. Boxes can be on pallets if necessary but it is not required.

Contact QSA if you have any questions regarding transport options. Records must not be delivered until an agreed date has been determined.

The delivery address is:

Queensland State Archives
435 Compton Road

A checkpoint and status bar within ArchivesGateway will provide a progress overview of the transfer through to completion.

A transfer report, with item details, is available within the transfer screen once the transfer is complete.

A list of variations may be provided if substantial issues with the original list were identified during checks (e.g. missing items, incorrect descriptions).

Past transfer reports are also available in ArchivesGateway.

Once records have been transferred, QSA will confirm all details are correct and check for pests, and damage.

We then catalogue records according to archival standards.

If you need to access the records after they have been transferred, you can request this through the File Issue service.

Resources and tools