Researching Australian & Pacific History: the Australian Joint Copying Project


In exciting news for history lovers and family historians, the Library has launched the Australian Joint Copying Project Research Guide to help researchers access perhaps the most significant collection of primary source material documenting the history of colonial Australia.


Emigrant ship arriving off Sydney Heads, 1883 / watercolour by Oswald Brierly
Emigrant ship arriving off Sydney Heads, 1883 / watercolour by Oswald Brierly. 
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) is a collection of historical material relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific dating from the 16th to the 20th century. The National Library of Australia and State Library of New South Wales led this initiative to microfilm archives from the United Kingdom and Ireland, in recognition that much of the source material of Australian history — its maritime exploration, European settlement and colonisation — is located in overseas archives. The AJCP is regarded as the world’s most extensive collaborative copying project and can now be accessed online via Trove.

To learn how the AJCP is structured, we suggest you click on Getting Started — at the beginning of the Research Guide. This will introduce you to AJCP handbooks and finding aids, and provide help on how to search Trove to access the digitised documents.

Researchers then select the relevant section of the guide for in-depth research assistance. Each section aligns with the records of one of four key UK government departments: Colonial Office, Home Office, Admiralty and War Office (PRO Series); as well as a section for records of libraries, archives, museums and collections in private hands (Miscellaneous or M Series). Together these records account for 90% of the AJCP Collection. The other 10% can be found in the finding aids of the other government departments.

Within each section you will find State Library collections and resources that support your research, including catalogues, reference works and databases.