Collection Policy



1.1. AQuA collects, preserves and arranges information and materials in any medium by or about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) people, organisations and communities in Australia, past and present. We collect materials that are primarily about or which otherwise reflect on or have impact on the experience, history, lives, heritage and interests of LGBTIQ people.

1.2. AQuA collects, preserves and arranges selected information and materials in any medium in specific areas that relate to LGBTIQ issues, such as, but not limited to, sex education, feminism, civil liberties, discrimination and HIV/AIDS. The collection also includes selected material which best reflects societal attitudes toward broader aspects of sexuality, especially toward sex roles and sexual discrimination.

1.3. The materials collected include, but are not limited to:

a) newsletters, publications, ephemeral matter (posters, flags, banners, badges, leaflets, postcards, etc), journals, newspapers and other records from LGBTIQ organisations or individuals;
b) journals, newspapers, comics, ephemera and other records of LGBTIQ (or LGBTIQ-linked) commercial organisations (clubs, businesses, etc);
c) published and unpublished works of artists, writers, poets, musicians and researchers; photographs; tapes; CDs and DVDs; films; videos; diaries; scrapbooks; oral histories; audio/visual tapes, transcripts of presentations for LGBTIQ radio/TV programmes;
d) personal collections;
e) books and pamphlets;
f) newspaper, journal and magazine clippings from mainstream and other non-LGBTIQ sources;
g) transcripts of trials; government or other organisational reports.

1.4 Unique individual personal collections are welcomed. Where appropriate, these will be treated as a distinct item within the collection.

1.5. AQuA reserves the right to refuse to accept materials. We will endeavour to place offered material in or refer the donor to other archives or suitable organisations. We also reserve the right to de-accession materials collected. Where possible we will consult with the donor.

1.6. While historically significant, rare or special editions of books and other materials will be held in multiple copies, donations that duplicate the collection may be exchanged with other archives or libraries or sold with funds returned to AQuA to further develop the collection.

1.7. An important consideration in all acquisition decisions is that AQuA should be able to provide for the storage, protection and preservation of the current collection and provide the basis for further expansion. We also encourage donors of material to consider making a  financial contribution, to reduce AQuA’s costs in accepting and housing their donation.


2.1. Overseas material. While we have some overseas material (which we will continue to hold) especially from early gay liberation days and before, or in an individual’s personal collection, we no longer systematically collect international periodicals or material. The four exceptions are:
a) Material in any format by an Australian LGBTIQ individual or group of people (eg, artist, singer, writer, photographer, sportsperson or team, researcher) some or all of whose works are released or published overseas;
b) Significant periodicals from the US, UK and Canada;
c) Selected material from New Zealand;
d) Books and pamphlets

2.2. Organisations’ collections. We request that organisations sort their materials prior to donation if at all possible, including indicating any limitation of access for any part of the collection (eg. membership lists). Digital versions of records will be accepted. AQuA reserves the right to retain only a selection of an organisation’s donation (as per point 1.5 above). See Appendix 1 for a guide to organising the records.

2.3 Photographs. For issues concerning collection, storage and access, see the AQuA photograph collection policy, in preparation.

2.4. Copyright and copying. Copyright applies to the material in AQuA’s collection. AQuA will discuss the question of copyright with each new donor and record details of copyright ownership in the agreement under which the donation is made.

Users of the collection are bound by copyright law including restrictions on copying and other uses of text, images and recording. (More information is available from AQuA and from

In addition, photographs and other creative materials (music, film, etc) can only be reproduced with full accreditation and in a form (whether colour, black and white, in promotional material or for display, etc) agreed to by AQuA and, where required, the copyright holder.

2.5. Access. AQuA encourages donors to allow open access to material they donate. However, as each donation of materials is unique, AQuA will discuss the terms of the donation, including issues of ownership, copyright and access (open, long or short term restrictions), etc, with each donor. The details will be included in a written agreement between AQuA and the donor.

Oral history (audio or printed), collected for research, donated by individuals or collected by AQuA or an oral history group, will only be available subject to written conditions agreed on between AQuA (or initial researchers) and the individuals concerned. Where earlier records have not been accompanied by written agreements, AQuA will endeavour to contact the interviewee. In the event that contact cannot be made (eg the interviewee is deceased or no current contact details known), AQuA will exercise its discretion regarding access and further use.

AQuA also reserves the right to restrict access to the collection over and above the conditions outlined above.

All users of the collection are bound by the conditions of access. This will entail signing the Archives Access Agreement and an access book, noting all collections used and acknowledging the responsibilities of volunteers and researchers. Staff and volunteers are required to sign the access book and are similarly bound by the conditions of access, though not required to sign the access agreement.


3.1. Certain sexually explicit material that it is illegal to possess in Australia.

3.2. HIV/AIDS material not covered by points 1.2 and 1.3 above. Such HIV/AIDS material will be directed to the Noel Butlin Archives Centre in Canberra.

3.3. Clothing. While we have a limited collection of T-shirts and other items, generally we cannot collect clothing. Donors of items such as performance costumes will be directed to an appropriate institution, such as the Performing Arts Collection at the Victorian Arts Centre, the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney or state and national museums and libraries.


  • Focus on records which show the group’s origins, major changes in direction, significant achievements or major problems (answering questions such as: what was the impetus for the group’s formation, who was involved, how did they go about it, how did it rate its success or failure in meeting its objectives).
  • Keep the records chronological where possible
  • Flag any material which should be kept confidential or restricted (if we come across mailing lists, for example, we put those in sealed envelopes, but it is obviously better if the donor can make those judgments – and we would rather not restrict access if there is no genuine need for it)
  • A list of records is recommended (eg. a simple three column chronological list with date, description of the record – stating who from/to, and its purpose – and any comments on its significance).
  • Where possible include audio or visual records of your group (interviews with participants, photos or videos of events/people with accompanying description of who is depicted in them, when, photographer, whether copyright passes to the Archives, or if not, who has to be contacted for permission to peruse or display)
  • We request that groups using the Archives consider contributing to the operating costs (one practical way of doing that could be that the records come to AQuA housed in acid free materials – storage boxes or whatever)

For space reasons, AQuA is unable to accept large volumes of all groups’ physical records, so we ask that a group considering donating material think about selecting material that highlights the significance of their work: is it the first of its kind in Victoria? Or Australia? (our collecting is confined to Australian records). If selection of material is to be made, we would recommend omitting administrative records of the group’s day to day operations, and focus more on the records which chart the group’s reason for being, or changing direction, and significant events in its life. Minute books and newsletters would be a good starting point, timelines are invaluable. In saying that, we recognise that the detailed records often provide insights into individuals’ experience of a group. It may be that a group choose to retain its records, giving AQuA only a selection, but advising AQuA of what is in the collection and how it can be accessed. We would of course not be constrained in accepting a donation of a large quantity of digitised records, if you had the resources to do that (at present AQuA doesn’t have resources for large scale digitisation programs).