ANU Archives material added to national list of significant documents

17 January 2019

Being listed not only raises the profile of the documents and their custodians, but it also demonstrates the need for continued preservation of significant records

ANU is delighted to have its internationally significant archives collection recognised yet again through an Australian Memory of the World Register listing.

The manuscript collections of Professor Frank Fenner held by the ANU Archives, Australian Academy of Science and the University of Adelaide Archives, are one of eleven new inscriptions in the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register. This Register contains a selective list of Australia’s significant and influential documents.

Being listed on the Register is a significant achievement – it not only raises the profile of the documents and their custodians, but it also demonstrates the need for continued preservation of nationally and internationally significant records.

The Fenner manuscripts join two other inscriptions on the Register from the ANU Archives – the Australian Agricultural Company Archives (Australia’s oldest agricultural company) was listed in 2003 and the Minute Books of Pre-Federation Australian Trade Unions were added to the Register in 2011, reflecting the significance of this record of democracy for workers.

Professor Frank Fenner AC FAA FRS was an Australian scientist who made significant contributions to the field of virology. Professor Fenner was the foundation professor of microbiology in John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR), and worked at ANU for many decades. He is most notable for overseeing the eradication of smallpox, his work combating malaria, as well as the control of Australia’s rabbit plague through the Myxoma virus.

Complementing the scientific discovery of myxoma, the ANU Archives contains the story of impacts on the pastoral industry through records of the Livestock and Grain Producers’ Association of NSW, and pastoral company archives.

The ANU Archives holds a series of awards, medals, publications and papers of Frank Fenner. Awards such as The Copley Medal from the Royal Society of London; the Albert Einstein World Award of Science; and the Macfarlane Burnet Medal, reflect his international profile and the high regard with which he was held. This collection includes a signed copy of each book authored or edited by Fenner. In addition, the ANU Archives holds papers relating to the JCSMR, where he undertook ground-breaking research; oral history interviews and transcripts; and administrative records concerning Professor Fenner’s career at the ANU.

Visit the ANU Archives website to find out more about the collections available for all researchers.