Accessing the State Archives Collection

Information on how to access the State Archives Collection, conditions of use and tips for searching our archives catalogue.
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The State Archives Collection can be accessed both digitally and through our shared research facility with the State Library on the 3rd floor of the Alexander Library Building in the Perth Cultural Centre.


Searching Our Catalogue

The State Records Office archives catalogue lists government records held in the State Archives Collection. It provides contextual information about those records and which government agency created them. The catalogue also displays digital copies of some digitised archives and allows you to pre-order records to view in the Archives Reading Room or to request they be digitised.

How Do I Order Archives for Use in the Reading Room?

You will need to log into the catalogue and when you have identified a record you want to order, click the "Request Item" button at the bottom of the page. Choose the "View in Reading Room" option and the date you wish to view it. Requests must be placed by 4pm for next day delivery in the Reading Room (weekends and public holidays excluded). Items are made available in the Reading Room by 11am.

How Do I Request Archives be Digitised?

You will need to log into the catalogue and when you have identified a record you want to pre-order, click the "Request Item" button at the bottom of the page. Choose the "Digitisation Request" option. State Records Office staff will assess your digitisation request and notify you by email if it can proceed. Depending on the record, digitisation can take up to 20 working days for completion. You have 2 options receiving the digitised copy: collection from the State Records Office, or sent via Dropbox.

Catalogue Search Tips

You do not need to login to the catalogue to search for archives or to access digitised copies of archives.

The main search field is located at the top of the screen of the catalogue. Enter a term or terms into the field and click 'enter' or the return key on your keyboard/device. The catalogue will look for elements in any part of the record description that matches the search term/s.

If you know the agency, series or consignment number you are looking for, enter the terms ax, sx or consx (where x = the number) e.g. cons255.

When the search results are displayed, you can use the menu on the left hand side of the page to filter search results.

Using an asterix (*) after the search term as a wildcard search is useful when you want a wider range of matching results e.g. searching on "exhibit*" will provide results for exhibit, exhibits, exhibition, exhibiting, etc.

The advanced search option can be activated by clicking on the main search field and then choosing "Advanced search". The advanced search page provides the ability to build different types of search queries and has more filters with the ability to search in specific types of descriptive fields.

Digitisation of State Archives

The State Records Office can assist with requests for Digitisation of State Archives held in the State Archives Collection.

Research Enquiries

If you need specialist advice and guidance with using State archives, you can book an appointment to meet with an archivist online or on the 3rd floor of the State Library / State Archives.

Book an appointment to meet with an archivist

The State Records Office also offers a limited reference query service for clients who live in regional areas, interstate, overseas or are unable to attend the Reading Room in person. We can only undertake straightforward research for reference queries that require no more than 30 minutes staff research time to answer. For other queries, an independent researcher can be engaged. The contact details for researchers who specialise in undertaking various forms of research can be found in our information sheet on Research Assistance (PDF).

Research enquiries should be emailed to, although those queries which are judged to take longer than half an hour to action will be emailed with the Research Assistance Information Sheet.

Ordering Archives

To view original State archives in the Reading Room, you will need to pre-order them ahead of viewing. Archives are retrieved for clients Monday - Friday (excluding public holidays). Requests for archives must be made by 4pm on the day before you wish to view items. Items are made available by 11am Monday to Friday. Requests made on weekends will be processed the next week day. 5 items per day are guaranteed for each daily retrieval per researcher, but this can increase by another 5 items per day if the additional requested archives are held offsite. State archives held offsite comprise some maps/plans and records with a consignment number higher than 5814.

You can make requests for archives to be retrieved by using our catalogue or by completing and submitting call slips in the 3rd floor Reading Room.

Should you need assistance identifying or ordering State archives, State Records Office staff on the 3rd floor can assist you. Alternatively, please email

Plan Your Visit

The State Archives Collection can be accessed both digitally and through our shared research facility with the State Library on the 3rd floor of the Alexander Library in the Perth Cultural Centre.​

The 3rd floor facility includes:​

  • A general research area for WA history (including family history);
  • Printed copies of finding aids and indexes to the State Archives Collection;
  • Microfilm copies of key sets of State archives;
  • An Archives Reading Room for viewing original State archives.


State Library / State Archives: 3rd Floor
25 Francis Street
Perth Cultural Centre  WA   6000
ph: (08) 9427 3600

Opening Hours of Research Area / Archives Reading Room

  • Monday - Thursday 9:00am-8:00pm
  • Friday 9:00am-5.30pm
  • Saturday - Sunday 10:00am-5.30pm

Parking and Transport

The State Library / State Archives is located in the Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge, between Francis Street and the James Street Mall and next to the Western Australian Museum and the Art Gallery of WA. It is within walking distance of the main city shopping and business districts.  Entry to the State Library / State Archives is via James Street or Francis Street.

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Public Transport

The State Library / State Archives is a short walk north of the Perth Railway Station and the Wellington Street Bus Station. Blue CAT buses travel close to the building with stops in Beaufort, Aberdeen and William Streets.

Transperth Journey Planner

By Car

Undercover parking is available directly beneath the building. Entrance to the carpark is from Francis Street.

By Bicycle

Bicycle racks are available at the front of the building.

Access for People with Special Needs

For details about our accessibility including parking, it is best to consult the Access WA website.

Below are direct links to the detailed information about the Perth Cultural Centre in general and the State Library / State Archives in particular.

Archives Reading Room


Members of the public accessing original State archives in the Reading Room need to hold a State Library Membership Card. You can apply for a Membership Card in person at the Reading Room. Appropriate identification showing your current name and address - such as a driver's licence - needs to be sighted. There is no charge for obtaining a Membership Card. The following Terms and Conditions apply. The Membership Card must be presented at each visit to the Reading Room when viewing State archives.

Copying Archives

Clients can make copies of State archives in the Reading Room using the digital cameras available. This if a free, self-serve service. Digital images can saved to your own USB flash drive. 

Alternatively, you can use your own camera or smartphone to make copies of State archives.

Photographs must be taken using natural light (no flash) with a minimum of disturbance to other researchers. Copying archives will not be permitted if there is a risk that it may damage the records.

Copying State archives is subject to the Copyright Act.

Archives on Microfilm

Between the 1960s and 2000s, many key sets of State archives were microfilmed to help preserve the original records and improve access for clients. These microfilm / microfiche can be accessed directly on the 3rd floor of the State Library / State Archives. The microfilm register (PDF) lists State archives that are available in microfilm format, with identifier information. Microfilm kept on the 3rd floor is arranged in consignment number order.

Viewing microfilm

Equipment is available on the 3rd floor to view and make digital copies of State archives on microfilm / microfiche. You can save digital copies to your own USB flash drive. Staff are available on the 3rd floor to provide assistance if required.

Citation and Referencing of State Archives

It is recommended that all types of researchers, whether doing research for their own purposes, for study at a university or college, and especially for eventual publication, should cite sources in the State Archives Collection held by the SRO. Referencing and citation are similar actions and are sometimes terms used interchangeably, but citation usually means the sources you mention in the body of your work and which are cited as footnotes or endnotes, and references are generally a list of sources used in the work and appear at the end. 

Lack of, or inadequate, citation and referencing often leads to time-consuming and frustrating searches for the sources of information at a later date.  

Citing archives is important for several reasons:

  • Provides a check-list of references used
  • Adds credibility to any published or unpublished work 
  • Helps future researchers find the original reference.

The SRO’s catalogue provides a ‘reference code’ for each item which can be used as the basis of a reference. The minimum citation/referencing for State Archives held by the SRO is the following:

  • SROWA meaning State Records Office of Western Australia, the institution holding the record;
  • The series number (S) of the record series to which the record belongs (in SRO this may rarely be replaced by a pre-series registration Archive Note an AN number);
  • The Accession or Consignment (cons) number which identifies the location of archives in the collection; 
  • The item indicator – usually a number or letter. Items may be files, maps, plans, registers, volumes, photographs, audio-visual recordings, digital files, etc.
  • You should probably also include the name/title of the item even though the series, consignment and item numbers will identify the referenced archive. 

So, for example, if you have searched SRO’s online catalogue found and viewed a specific plan of the Cossack School which you wish to cite, the reference is:

SROWA: S399, cons1647 05507 - Cossack School.

If you know the date, or range of dates, for the item you can also add that to the reference after the title if you wish. 

Expanded References

There may be instances where a fuller reference is required, such as in a detailed bibliography. Also, you may wish to pinpoint a particular page within a file by providing the date and details of who is corresponding with whom. The National Archives of Australia has a good section on its website explaining expanded citations for archives which you can consult:

Please note: There are also online referencing and citation tools and apps, such as Cite This For Me, MyBib and Zotero which also may be of use when constructing citations and references.

Acknowledging the State Records Office of WA when you reproduce an item

Whenever you reproduce an item from the State Archives collection, such as a correspondence in files, maps and plans, or photographs, you should acknowledge its source by including the following with the citation:

Courtesy State Records Office of WA

Remember that if you are going to reproduce an item from the State Archives Collection that is still in copyright, you need permission to do so.

Please email to seek further assistance.