The University of Melbourne Archives was established in July 1960, initially to collect and preserve records relating to the University and to business and business people for the purposes of historical research. The University's own records date from its foundation in 1853 and as well as administrative records, records of student societies and the personal papers of many former academic staff are available for research.
The business collections include the records of wholesalers and retailers, factories and foundries, solicitors and architects, along with the records of some of Australia's largest mining companies.
From 1973 the Archives began to collect trade union and other labour history material; more than one hundred trade unions are now represented in the Archives' collections. During the same period, the Archives began also to collect records of professional, community, women's, peace and political organisations.
Records are collected to be used and the highest priority of Archives is making its collections available for research. Whether interested in the history of the University, or architecture, manufacturing, commerce, economics, trade unionism, engineering, art, theatre, mining, science, politics, the professions, biography, education, law, the women's movement, pacifism or war, researchers will find major resources in the Archives' collection.