Microfilm brings RAAF records back to life

Microfilm brings RAAF records back to life

Thousands of historically significant war stories dating back to 1921 have recently been preserved using HPA's source document microfilming services.

Some 400 RAAF Unit History Records, which contain detailed information on the activities of all squadrons and units that served with the RAAF have been photographed and transferred for the archival move.

Paper records were previously stored on around 30 metres of shelf space, whereas microfilming has meant that the documents can now be stored in one purpose-built five drawer cabinet, according to Mollie Angel, records manager with the Directorate of Records, Information and Support Services - Airforce, RAAF Historical and Archives Section.

"We constantly refer back to those records in response to public enquires and for historical research purposes. We even find that there are ex-servicemen and women who are needing to establish proof that they were in service to receive medals and for compensation purposes," said Ms Angel.

"Our original records were deteriorating, and we consistently receive donations of additional documentation such as short stories, diaries and photographs which need to be copied and returned to their owners.

"Microfilming allowed us to reproduce our original paper documents onto microfilm, as well as take microfilm copies of the documents which are loaned to us by returned servicemen and women," added Ms Angel.

In the four years since the process of microfilming the RAAF's records began, HPA has compiled 1200 rolls of microfilm, preserving thousands of essential historical records.

"HPA's microfilm services have allowed these historical records to be safel;y preserved onto microfilm and the original paper copies transferred into the custody of the Australian Archives for preservation," said HPA account manager, Fran Easton "For additional safe-keeping, a master copy of each microfilm is stored with the National Library under moisture, and temperature-controlled conditions.

"Microfilm technology is the most secure, incorruptible archival medium for periods of up to 100 years," she said.

The RAAF is now able to supply microfilm copies of its records to interested parties at around $30 per roll, with each roll storing up to 2200 pages of information.

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