Access to official records

Access to records in the custody of State Records is set by the agency responsible for the records. Conditions for access reflect the sensitivity or level of personal information contained in a record. To view records that are restricted from general public access, researchers need to seek the permission of the agency responsible for the records.

Access conditions and responsible agencies can be identified through our catalogue, ArchivesSearch.

Records containing low level personal information, such as school attendance will usually be restricted from general public access for 30 years. Records containing more sensitive personal information, or material that is commercially confidential, might be restricted for 60, 80 or 100 years.

For more detailed information on how agencies determine access conditions, refer to the Public Access Determinations Guideline.

Requesting access to restricted records

Requests for access need to be directed to the agency responsible for the records. Our catalogue, ArchivesSearch, shows the agency responsible for each series and the length of an access determination.

Access can be granted with an Access Authorisation Letter, allowing records to be viewed at the Research Centre. State Records has provided a sample Access Authorisation Letter which researchers can use to apply to agencies for access to restricted records. Agencies may however require researchers to make a formal application under the Freedom of Information Act 1991.

Which records typically require permission to access?

The following is a list of record types that may require permission to access, and contact details for agencies responsible for the records.

Adoption records

Records relating to adoptions are restricted from general public access. This is to protect the privacy of the individuals involved but does not necessarily prevent an individual applying to access their own records. To request permission to access a restricted record about either yourself or a family member, you will need to contact Department for Child Protection, Past Adoption Services.

The Find and Connect website may also be of interest to Forgotten Australians and British Child Migrants separated by adoption.

 

Care leavers and fostering records

Records relating to children in care are restricted from general public access for 100 years. This is to protect the privacy of the individuals involved but does not necessarily prevent an individual applying to access their own records. To request permission to access a restricted record about either yourself or a family member, and information about support services for care leavers can be found on the Department for Child Protection website.

If you are applying for information on an ancestor the Department for Child Protection prefers to process requests for access made using their Freedom of Information Application Form.

 

McBride Maternity Hospital (Adelaide Maternity Home) records

Although State Records holds the records of McBride Maternity Hospital, the records are not open for general public access. This is to prevent unauthorised access to entries which relate to cases under the Adoption Act, but does not necessarily prevent access by a person who has a specific right to know the information contained. Not all babies born at the Home were adopted.

You may apply to Department for Child Protection for permission to access information in these records. Their contact details are as follows:

Freedom of Information Team, Department for Child Protection

Phone: (08) 8226 4399

Email: DCP.FOI@sa.gov.au

Note: We understand that the Department for Child Protection prefers to process requests for access by using the Freedom of Information framework.  Therefore it might be best to make an application using a form from this website: https://www.childprotection.sa.gov.au/department/freedom-information.

 

Court records

Many court records are restricted from general public access for 100 years, reflecting conditions applied in the legislation establishing the courts. This is to protect the privacy of the individuals involved but does not necessarily prevent an individual applying to access their own records. If you wish to access restricted records, you may apply to the Registrar of the relevant court. 

If the Court provides you with written permission to view or copy a restricted record, please forward a copy to us and we can advise you further on how to order and view the record.

Contact: Supreme Court

The Registrar, Supreme Court

1 Gouger St, Adelaide SA 5001

Ph: (08) 8204 0289

Email: supreme.registry@courts.sa.gov.au or criminal.registry@courts.sa.gov.au

Contact: Coroner’s Court

The Registrar, Coroner’s Office

302 King William St. Adelaide SA 5001

Phone: (08) 8204 0600

Email: coroner@courts.sa.gov.au

Contact: Magistrate’s Court (responsible for Magistrates, District, Local or Police Court records)

The Registrar, Magistrate’s Court of South Australia

PO Box 6115, Halifax Street SA 5000

Phone: (08) 8204 2444

Email: AMCregistry@courts.sa.gov.au

 

Gaol and prisoner records

Records containing personal information about prisoners are usually restricted from general public access for 100 years. This does not necessarily prevent access by a person who has a specific right to know the information contained.

We understand that the Department for Correctional Services prefers to process requests for access by using the Freedom of Information Application Form. Complete the form and submit it to:

Freedom of Information, Department for Correctional Services

Postal address: GPO Box 1747 Adelaide 5001

Street address: 400 King William St Adelaide 5000

Email: dcs@sa.gov.au 

 

Hospital records

Records containing personal medical information are generally restricted from general public access for at least 60 years. This does not necessarily prevent access by a person who has a specific right to know the information contained. You may apply in writing directly to the Hospital, or to SA Health for permission to access information in these records. Their contact details are as follows:

The Freedom of Information Officer, SA Health

Postal address: PO Box 287 Rundle Mall, Adelaide SA 5000

Telephone: (08) 8226 0705

Contact for the Queen Victoria Hospital, Adelaide Children's Hospital, Women's and Children's Hospital or Estcourt House records

The Freedom of Information Officer, Women's and Children's Hospital

Address: 72 King William Road, North Adelaide SA 5006

Phone:  (08) 8161 8145 or (08) 8161 6127

Email: cywhsfoiofficer@health.sa.gov.au

Website: http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/about/foi/foi.html

Details about the FOI process, and the necessary forms, can be found on the website.

Glenside Hospital (and previous mental health hospital records)

Records that provide the personal information of patients with mental health conditions are usually restricted from general public access for 100 years. This does not necessarily prevent access by a person who has a specific right to know the information contained.

To request permission to access restricted records, please complete a Freedom of Information Application form (available here: http://www.archives.sa.gov.au/content/foi-forms) and submit the form to Glenside Hospital at the address below. Note: if you are seeking records about a relative, you may need to include evidence of your relationship to that person such as copies of birth, death or marriage records.

Records Manager, Glenside Hospital

Address: 226 Fullarton Road, Glenside SA 5065

Phone: 08 7087 1000

 

School records

Records providing the personal information of students are restricted from general public access for 30 years. This does not necessarily prevent access by a person who has a specific right to know the information contained. To request access to a restricted record, you will need to contact the Department for Education via the following contact:

Department for Education

Records Management Services Unit

Postal address: GPO Box 1152 Adelaide SA 5001

Phone: (08) 8226 1226

Email: DECD.RecordsManagementUnit@sa.gov.au

Website: www.education.sa.gov.au

 

Teacher records

Records providing the personal information of teachers are restricted from general public access for 60 years. This does not necessarily prevent access by a person who has a specific right to know the information contained. To request access to a restricted record, you will need to contact the Department for Education via the following contact:

Department for Education

Records Management Services Unit

Postal address: GPO Box 1152 Adelaide SA 5001

Phone: (08) 8226 1226

Email: DECD.RecordsManagementUnit@sa.gov.au

Website: www.education.sa.gov.au

 

 

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