Storage Wars: Australian Antarctic Edition

The winner of a tender to perform appraisal on more 5000 standard archive boxes of records held at The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) Head Office in Kingston, Tasmania will open each box with an equal dose of excitement and trepidation, as the AAD has no idea of the number of files contained within these boxes, or the number of pages.

The records which date from 1940s onwards are filling up a considerable amount of shelf space but as the tender documents set out, “These records have not been reliably appraised, and therefore cannot be disposed of until appraisal has been completed.”

Appraisal will be needed to determine which records must be retained for National Archives of Australia (NAA).

While each box has an assigned number in the agency’s EDRMS (Electronic Document and Records Management System), the AAD is “unable to provide a breakdown of how many boxes may or may not have files labelled and barcoded within.”

In order to clear the shelves, an outside contractor will be required to truck all of the 5000 boxes to its own facility and manually examine and classify each document. The AAD has specifically ruled out the use of digitisation to scan, analyse and provide the ability for automated classification.

Research conducted through the Australian Antarctic Program helps protect the unique environment and biological systems of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. All Australian Antarctic expeditioners are trained and equipped at the Division before heading south to Antarctica or sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island.

There are 300 full time staff at the Division undertaking operational, medical, science, policy and support functions.

The AAD tender closes on Friday, October 8, 2021 and the project is expected to be completed in June 2022.

A picture containing text, indoor, cabinet, computerDescription automatically generated

A small sample of the AAD’s document archive.