As a government archive, we do not hold records relating to private businesses.

We do hold records where those companies were required to lodge documents to comply with various legislation.

We refer to these records as relating to Defunct Companies - 'defunct' in this context refers to the file being defunct, it does not refer to the company - although given the age of the records some of the companies will have been wound up.

In 1980 the Department of the Corporate Affairs Commission changed to a microfiche format for its holdings of company files. In about 1991, the function of registering companies was transferred to the Commonwealth.

For all companies which were registered from 1980 contact the Australian Securities Investment Commission.

Access conditions

These records are typically open for general public access, as the lodging of company information is a matter for public scrutiny.

Researching the records

You may need to consult several indexes, and the catalogue, to find files about the company you are researching. You may also need assistance from staff to undertake manual searches.

These records are partly listed on the catalogue, partly listed in indexes, and some are unlisted.

Start with a Keyword Search in our catalogue ArchivesSearch, or using any of the indexes. If the file cannot be located, GRS 518/4 Defunct Company Index, is available on microfiche in the Research Centre.

If a file number is found in the index but the consignment is not known or unclear, ask for assistance for our staff to search more than one consignment.

There are 3 different file numbering systems used in these consignments:

  • Annual single number – a file number followed by a year '34/1901'
  • Continuous single number – file number of the type '3456'
  • Unnumbered – arranged roughly by year


Unnumbered files
Annual single number files
Continuous single number files
  • Files 1 to 4284 (1935-1953) - GRS 513/4 - List under development
  • Files 2 to 8844 (1938 - c1960) - GRS 513/12 - No listing yet
  • Files 3 to 14230 (1935-1962) - GRS 513/8 - List under development
  • Files 5 to 25629 (1935-1974) - GRS 584/1 (Subject to a longer retrieval time) - No listing yet
  • Files 11 to 43942 (1877-1935) - GRS 513/21 units 51 to 762 - not on ArchivesSearch
  • Files 24 to 58708 (1934-1986) - GRS 513/22 – No listing yet
  • Files 29 to 16396 (1902-1960) - GRS 513/9 units 7 to 59 - also Keyword Search on ArchivesSearch
  • Files 372 to 44132 (1936-1976) - GRS 513/23 - No listing yet
Hard copy indexes

There are some original registers and hard copy indexes to these records, which may be ordered for viewing in our Research Centre.

Types of records

Company files may contain some or all of the following lodged documents:

  • Memorandum of Agreement
  • Articles of Association
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • lists of shareholders
  • lists of directors
  • special resolutions ie. issues of shares, underwriting agreements and annual returns.