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Curtin University
Curtin Information Management and Archives

Curtin University Archives

Records created by Curtin University, its predecessor: the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT) and by the technical schools and colleges incorporated into the new Institute in the 1960s, are held in the Curtin University Archives. These records can be physical or digital. They can be documentary or objects such as textiles, equipment, artefacts, personal papers.

These records capture:

  • our significant decisions and planning
  • our achievements in science, health, engineering, the humanities
  • our character and values
  • our impact on the lives of students, staff and our community.
  • Why do we keep these records?

    Some require permanent retention under the State Records Act WA (2000). In addition, these records continue to aid in decision-making for the University, provide research opportunities for researchers and engagement with the community in which Curtin resides.

    Our Collections

    Our collections are unique and diverse, reflecting our history and our focus on research, innovation and educational endeavour. We have:

    • records from Perth Technical College
    • Council and other significant meeting records of WAIT and Curtin
    • architectural drawings and plans dating back to the early 1900s
    • historical photographs and audio-visual materials
    • personal papers donated by students, staff and researchers.

    Melanesian Film Archive

    The Melanesian Film Archive is an extensive collection of medical and anthropological films. The medical films are principally concerned with the neurodegenerative disease kuru, and the work Professor Michael Alpers in discovering the transmission of the disease which was confined to the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea.

    The catalogued collection comprises 513 research documentary films, and includes Matthew Stirling's films of 1926 taken in West Papua, Beatrice Blackwood's from the Anga in Papua New Guinea (1937) and Margaret Mead's from Manus (1953); most of the films were shot in Papua New Guinea in the 1960s.

    The Archive also includes material from other regions of the world. Much of the film depicts disappearing or already lost cultural practices and human behaviours.

    Current Projects

    Melanesian Film Archive

    Films in the Archive are now being reformatted to digital from 16mm film by the Digitisation Centre of Western Australia. The project will deliver access for researchers and scholars to ethnological films relating to the Melanesian peoples of Papua New Guinea, and indigenous peoples of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Asia and Australia.

    There are over 500 films in this Archive and we expect the project to take several years to complete. Considerations include digital storage, discovery and access approvals and arrangements. Additional projects will follow this work.

    Learn more about the Melanesian Film Archive.

    Historical Photographs

    We are currently digitising a large collection of photographs, slides and negatives showing the unique history of the University. These photographs offer a valuable insight into the evolution of education, research, student life and the development of a modern university and campus.

    Contributing to the Archives

    Transfers and donations to the Archives are welcome. However, before material is accepted an appraisal takes place to ensure that material is or has:

    • free from mould, dirt, insects, or other conditions which could detrimentally affect our collections
    • has clear copyright and ownership arrangements
    • consistent with our collecting aims and goals.
    • Accessing the Archives

    For further information or access to the Archives, please contact the University Archivist via email