Archives

2 minute read

Rows of photographic colour slide negatives sowing flowers and stone walls

Archives personalise history and enrich our understanding of the world. Explore materials from trade union and other labour history, photographs of early Antarctic exploration, and ephemera from women's, peace and political organisations.

Visit the Archives


The University of Melbourne Archives houses a collection of nearly 20 km of records. This includes photographs, letters, campaign materials, manuscripts, maps, films and more.

These materials can enhance understanding of the present and future, take you to places you never expected, and open up new ideas. They can spark imagination and empathy, encouraging you to engage in issues and events in a more meaningful and concrete way.

Holdings include the Germaine Greer and Malcolm Fraser collections, materials on early computing, significant figures in the Australian film industry and the social history of road trips.

We collect and preserve this history as a rich source for research, and to inspire learning and teaching.

We welcome all researchers, not just University staff and students.

Spotlight: Germaine Greer Collection

The Milk outtake is 421 seconds of silent footage shot on 16mm film in February 1969 in Manchester for a Granada TV variety show called Nice Time.

The skit, which stars Germaine Greer and Kenny Everett, never made it to air. It is rare evidence of the early days of reality TV and the unlikely beginnings of the careers of two brilliant performers – Greer and Everett.

Audiovisual Archivist Emma Hyde discovered the unidentified reel of film in a brown paper envelope Greer had labelled "16mm cine?"

Read more about the Milk outtake

Milk - Nice Time: Outtakes, 1969. Germaine Greer collection

New to working with primary sources?

The archives are here for you to use.

You can start by using the online catalogue to locate materials related to your research.

The catalogue contains information about materials and collections as well as finding aids. These help you understand the types of material in a collection, and the location of the materials.

The digitised items catalogue contains photographs, drawings, vintage advertising, posters and letters you can view online.

There are several subject guides to help you find collections relevant to your area of study. These include the peace movement, medical collections and the Australian publishing trade.

Accessing materials

Material is held at an off-site repository and cannot be accessed immediately. To order materials, you will need to complete a registration.

After you place an order you can access them through the Reading Room. This is located at the Baillieu Library at the University's Parkville campus.

Access conditions covering specific collections can vary. Some collections are restricted, and you need permission to view them. A few collections have specific embargo periods.

After checking the online catalogue and subject guides, contact us if you need help to find material or to discuss a large research project.

More than just a catalogue

Keys to the Past is an online illustrated guide to University-related materials in the archives. There are almost 100 articles relating to the history of the University – from 1853 to today.

Black and white photo of a man sitting at a desk, with scientific instruments. A woman stand in the background, her figure is blurred.

Henry Grayson, c1910, invented the diffraction grating ruling engine. Elizabeth Grayson’s role is unknown. Women did not have the same rights as men at the University until 1913.

Archives staff maintain several blogs featuring materials from the archive.

We have resources for lecturers, tutors and students who want to use the collection in unique ways for coursework.

Researchers and students can borrow collection materials for exhibition. There are some conditions, so we encourage you to plan ahead.

We provide information for potential depositors and donors. Unfortunately, we cannot accept unsolicited donations.

Images: University of Melbourne Archives.

Related items

A black, red, white and blue abstract painting by Theo Strasser

Library

The library is your partner in knowledge. We offer advice, resources and services, in person and online, to support researchers and knowledge seekers.

Neo classical inspired wall sculpture including a man throwing a discus. Cultural Rubble by Christine O'Loughlin

Museums & Collections

Discover the University’s wide range of museums and collections. Use these valuable resources to support your research, learning and teaching goals.