The Archives

Updated time

Last updated

11 March 2020

Launched in October 2002, the Sir Richard Kirby Archives was established as a means of preserving the history of Australia's national workplace relations tribunal – now known as the Fair Work Commission.

Named after the longest serving president of the tribunal, Sir Richard Kirby, the archives contains a range of historical material including documents, photographs and oral history interviews.

The archives is overseen by a committee comprising Fair Work Commission members and a number of staff. Its purpose is to preserve and maintain historical material as well as to promote a public interest in the century-long history of the Fair Work Commission and its predecessors. Besides developing a collection, the archives committee also oversees an exhibition program and oral history project.


It is intended that the archives' collection will include, but not be limited to: photographs; audio-visual material; speeches; transcripts; biographical information; books with historical significance; significant cases material; documents and other memorabilia relating to Fair Work Commission and its predecessor bodies; and illustrations and cartoons.


The archives is open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday and closed on public holidays. To visit the archives it is advisable to make an appointment with the Library and Records Manager. Please phone (03) 8656 4767.

Gifts and loans

Prospective donors are sometimes unsure how to approach an institution that would be interested in accepting their personal papers, photographs or other historical objects. If you wish to make a donation or loan to the archives please feel free to discuss any concerns you may have with the National Librarian. Issues of concern may include sorting, labelling, determining copyright and access to the items. Gifts can be made at any time to the Fair Work Commission's library in Melbourne.


Personal papers may contain information of a sensitive nature about individuals or organisations that the owner or donor does not want to make freely available. Restricted access, such as by reference to the donor or by a release date some time in the future, is one way to deal with this issue.

Donor inquiries

Please contact the Library and Records Manager on (03) 8656 4767.