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Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP)

The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) is a collection of historical material relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific dating from 1560 to 1984.

About the AJCP

The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) is a collection of historical material relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific dating from the 16th century to the 20th century.

The AJCP was a National Library of Australia and State Library of New South Wales led initiative to microfilm archives and records from the United Kingdom and Ireland relating to Australia and the Pacific. Founded in 1945, it ran for close to 50 years and is regarded as the world’s most extensive collaborative copying project.

The AJCP microfilm is being digitised, providing online access to material previously only available onsite through libraries and archives. You can freely search and access the digitised records via the AJCP Portal and Trove.

The AJCP comprises two sets of records:

Public Record Office (PRO Series)

  • The PRO Series consists of UK Government records organised by department eg. Home Office.
  • The Public Record Office is now known as The National Archives (TNA).

Miscellaneous (M Series)

  • The M Series was filmed from collections held privately or in archives other than the PRO. 
  • Archival collections include the British Library and National Libraries of Wales, Scotland and Ireland, university libraries, county and city record offices, museums, religious archives, business archives and private collections.

Purpose

The AJCP was initiated in recognition that much of the source material of Australian history – its maritime exploration, European settlement and colonisation is located in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The records are of great value to researchers unable to see the original documents in overseas repositories.


Significance

The importance of British and Irish records in documenting the history and development of Australia was recognised by historians in the late nineteenth century.

From 1788 to the granting of responsible government in 1855, Britain held supreme authority over the Australian colonies. The governors were subject to direction from the Colonial Office to whom they reported on the colony’s affairs. The reports detailed every aspect of colonial life and some consider the AJCP microfilms the single most important source for the period.


Research challenges

There are some challenges in accessing the AJCP.

  • Whilst the AJCP has been digitised, it remains a challenging collection to access as most of it is not indexed.
  • The handwritten documents are difficult to decipher, requiring patience as you scroll through the digitised microfilm. Finding information is time-consuming.
  • Class Numbers and PRO Reels are not usually subject indexed. Many of the guides and indexes do not provide access to document level.