Agency access to NT Government archives

This page has information on the lending procedures for agency access to Northern Territory Government archives.

The lending process steps are outlined below.

1. Making a request

1.1 Once records have been transferred to the custody of the NTAS they are considered archives and may be retrieved through the Lending Service. 

Archives will only be issued to the agency which created the archives or the agency which has inherited the functional responsibilities of the creating agency (the controlling agency). 

All requests should be made through the records management unit of the controlling agency.

1.2 If an agency wishes to retrieve archives of another agency it must do so via the controlling agency, or obtain a letter of authority from the controlling agency for presentation to the NTAS.

1.3 Records over 30 years old are generally considered to be in the open access period, and therefore should not leave the custody of the NTAS. 

Records may have an extended restricted access period as outlined in the access agreement between the NTAS and the controlling agency, however it is NTAS policy not to issue records to agencies which are over 30 years.

These records can be consulted in the NTAS Reading Room.

1.4 In order to prevent further damage, the NTAS reserves the right to not issue archival records in fragile condition.

1.5 Requests may be made by emailing a request form receipt for archives issued/returned DOCX (50.4 KB) to NTAS at

If email is unavailable the form can be faxed to 8924 7660 (Darwin) or 8951 5232 (Alice Springs).

When requesting archives the following information must be cited:

  • name of agency and section of agency making request
  • name and telephone number of person making request
  • record series number (NTRS, E or F prefix)
  • box number (if applicable)
  • record (file) number
  • description of record. 

Requests where any of the above information is not provided will not be able to be retrieved by the NTAS. 

The relevant information is contained in the Series Consignment Lists prepared by the agency when the archives are transferred. 

Agencies retain a copy of these lists at the time of transfer. Refer to your Records Management unit for further information.

1.6 Agencies are requested to batch requests for archives once per day unless there are urgent requests.

1.7 Requests received prior to 12pm will normally be ready for collection the same day. 

Requests received after 12pm may not be ready for collection until the following working day. 

Agencies will be notified when their archives are ready for collection.

2. Receiving archives

2.1 Requested archives may be collected from the reception desk at the Northern Territory Archives Service, by authorised persons.

2.2 Agency staff and couriers collecting archives from NTAS must be authorised by their agency to collect archives from NTAS. 

A template authorisation letter DOC (32.5 KB) can be used to prepare an authorisation letter.

2.3 When archives are collected, the Receipt for Archives Issued/Returned form must be signed and dated by the agency and the NTAS representatives, who will each retain a copy of the form.

2.4 Each item will have an Archives Control Form attached to it. It is essential that the control form remain with the archival record at all times, and is with the record when returned to NTAS.

2.5 No additional papers can be attached to archived records while they are on issue, as they are closed records.

3. Returning archives

3.1 Archives which have been issued by the NTAS and are ready for return must be accompanied by a Receipt for Archives Issued/Returned form which is to be completed by the agency. 

3.2 When the agency is ready to return archives they should be returned to the the NTAS reception during office hours.

3.3 When returning archives, the receipt form will be signed by the NTAS and the agency representatives, who will each retain a copy of the form. 

3.4 Please note: All archives that are returned to the NTAS must have the Archives Control Form, which was attached to the record when issued from NTAS. 

4. Archives outstanding

4.1 Arrangements should be made for the return of archives to the NTAS as soon as they are no longer required for use by the agency.

4.2 In order to keep control of items issued, the NTAS will periodically send a list of overdue archives to agencies.

4.3 If archives are required for a further period, the agency must advise NTAS.

5. Re-activating archives

5.1 Where an agency considers it necessary to re-activate archives which have been issued by the NTAS Lending Service, the agency should contact NTAS to discuss this first. 

Once archived records have been re-activated they cannot be returned to NTAS, unless as part of a new Application to Transfer Records.

Last updated: 14 April 2021

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