2020 will mark 250 years since the colonisation of Australia by James Cook. Australia has a long and detailed history of the collection of population data over that period, and Australia’s Commonwealth census data collection is now over 105 years old, with the completion of the 2016 Census. Censuses and musters have also been undertaken in the Australian colonies since 1838. A significant proportion of population data is however located in archives and libraries, or digitised but embedded in formats largely inaccessible to researchers or to the Australian public.

The Australian Data Archive, with the support of funding from the Australian Research Data Commons, has been undertaking the development of a detailed audit, data register and user guide for 250 years of census and population data in Australia from colonisation to today. The aim of this audit is to identify and document what is available, it’s format and status, where is it located, and how it might be made available, in order to make this major data resource FAIR and truly accessible for the Australian society. This seminar will present the first results of this project, current experiments in enabling access to the data, and plans for future development.


Steve is Director of the Australian Data Archive (http://www.ada.edu.au), based in the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods (http://csrm.cass.anu.edu.au/) at the Australian National University. Steve’s responsibilities at ADA include strategic direction for the archive, as well as management of the daily operations and technical development of the data archive. He has high-level expertise in survey methodology and data archiving, and has been actively involved in development and application of data archiving and survey research methodology and technologies in the Australian university sector for over 15 years . Steve is Chair of the Executive Committee of the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI – http://www.ddialliance.org), and a member of the executive of the International Federation of Data Organisations (IFDO – http://www.ifdo.org).

Date & time

Wed 16 Oct 2019, 2–3pm


Band Room, School of Music, Building 100


Dr Steven McEachern


Dina Karvis
02 6125 1301


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