Australian Joint Copying Project


The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) began in 1945 as a collaborative project between the State Library of New South Wales and the National Library of Australia. The initial aim was to microfilm all documents held in the Public Record Office in the UK, now the National Archives, relating to Australia. Eventually, all State libraries and the National Library of New Zealand were involved and the scope of the project expanded to include material related to Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, most of South East Asia and Antarctica from archives and libraries throughout the UK. This ambitious project lasted for over 50 years and resulted in the production of more than 10,000 reels of microfilm. The information contained on these reels is of immense historical value. While microfilming was not undertaken for genealogical purposes much of the material is also of great value to family historians and allows access to collections which would otherwise be accessible only through travelling overseas.This was not the first time that an attempt had been made to acquire records of historical importance for Australia held in Britain. The Historical Records of New South Wales and the Historical Records of Australia, both of which are held at the State Library, were precursors to the AJCP. However, the AJCP is far broader in scope than these earlier series and includes enclosures which were only selectively included in these earlier publications.

What types of records are available?

Map showing the routes of J S Roe, Surveyor General, exploring the interior of Western Australia between September 8th 1848 and February 1849 [CO18/50 Western Australia. Despatches Jan-May 1849. AJCP reel 443. Original held at The National Archives, Kew].The AJCP collection includes convict records, captainsí logs and surgeonsí journals, military records, Governorsí despatches, information about early days of life in the colony and more.

How is it organised?

There are two distinct series of microfilms:

Public Record Office or PRO series

This series was microfilmed from material housed in the Public Record Office (now the National Archives) and therefore consists of national government archives. You will find it on reel numbers 1 to 7314.
To get the best out of the PRO series you need to have some understanding of the various British government departments and their roles. Remember that only material with Australian or Pacific region content will have been copied as part of the AJCP. Sometimes this means that only certain sections of records have been copied.

Tracing your ancestors in the National Archives
This book is an excellent in-depth guide to family history resources in the National Archives.

Also, look at the excellent research guides on the National Archives website or try searching their catalogue.
Material from the PRO series will have a reference to the class and piece number and sometimes to the folio number as well.
e.g. Adm 101 / 7/ 10
Adm refers to records from the Admiralty Office
101 is the class number for Medical journals for convict and emigrant ships
7 is the piece number within Adm 101
10 is the folio number within Adm 101/7
This reference is for the medical journal of the convict ship Bencoolen for 1819.

Miscellaneous or M series

This series was microfilmed after the PRO series and includes material housed in other archives around the UK. It consists of local government and private archives and is on reel numbers M1 to M3105.

Manuscripts in the British Isles relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific
This key work formed the basis for microfilming the Miscellaneous series. It lists material available by repository but does not give the AJCP reel numbers. However, it is useful for knowing what exists and where it is held.

Some material in the M series can also be located in the Libraries Australia catalogue and in Access to Archives.

AJCP Collection at the State Library

The State Library has nearly 5,000 microfilm reels in the AJCP collection which is in the Genealogy Centre on the 3rd floor. They are organised by the four-digit AJCP number beginning with the Public Record Office series and followed by the Miscellaneous series. Microfilm reels which are not held in our collection can be borrowed from the National Library on inter-library loan. Please ask staff at the 3rd floor enquiry desk.

How to use the AJCP

This page has more detailed information about the collection and explains how to use the handbooks and various indexes available.

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Page last updated: Wednesday 16 October 2013

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