The Reserve Bank has launched Unreserved

Earlier this year the Reserve Bank published a digital archive (called Unreserved) and released the first tranche of digitised archival records to the public. RBA archives span nearly 200 years of Australia’s economic, financial and social history. (The records predate the Reserve Bank as it is known today because we descended from the original Commonwealth Bank of Australia which had a central banking function and had absorbed other banks with a colonial history.)

The second release includes the records series for:

  • Governors and senior personnel: a set of records created by, and about, the central bank’s early Governors and executives, most of which are from 1912 to 1948 and contain significant documents from the two world wars and the Great Depression. Specifically, the records relate to the first Governor, Denison Miller (term June 1912-June 1923) through to Hugh Armitage (term July 1941 to December 1948), along with those of their most senior staff. A particularly significant record is a draft of an unpublished book by the Bank’s first economist, Leslie Melville, titled The Unstable State.
  • Research Department: the early economic analysis conducted by the central bank over the period from 1911 to 1970. In this release, there are sub-series about:

-   Balance of payments: Includes records about components of the balance of payments, their measurement and analysis, advice to the government Statistician, global and regional trends, and papers for committees and conferences (including international ones).

-   Banking section: Includes banking statistics, records about the administrative machinery for supervising banks, policies, banking conferences with academics and other central banks, and advice to the Board.

-   Central bank: These records contain the central bank’s earliest economic research and analysis. They include briefing notes and documents that are precursors to the analytical notes, research discussion papers and Board papers of today. They also include records of the Bank’s participation in the development of international architecture for the recovery of the world economy from the two world wars and the Great Depression.  

For more information about Unreserved and examples of the research possibilities that can be obtained from using the records, see these Series Guides and Research Guides.

If you have any queries, please contact the archivists directly at archives@rba.gov.au.  


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