The National Archives of Australia preserves some of Western Australia’s rarest items in its Perth repository. With records that include whales’ teeth and weather records from the early years of the Swan River Colony, the collection is rich and diverse. It documents a range of Australian Government activities, including migration, customs, postal and telegraph services, meteorology, defence and Aboriginal affairs. Records on scientific research, civil aviation and the administration of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are also found within the collection.
While most of the items date from Federation in 1901, the collection also includes 19th-century records, inherited from the colonial government when functions such as customs and postal services passed to the Commonwealth.
The National Archives of Australia has operated its Western Australian branch from East Victoria Park, Perth for about 30 years. To meet its future needs, it called for expressions of interest to provide a new location and storage facility.
The brief called for a storage solution to accommodate 15 shelf kilometres of archival records, most in standard-sized boxes but many, including objects, maps and plans, in non-standard containers. All have significant and historic value. The collection has to be maintained in a secure, environmentally-controlled facility with 24/7 independent access for National Archives staff.
The Castledex solution was to partner with a large global provider, based in Europe, which has a strong history of delivering archival solutions for museums, galleries and universities.
Castledex managed to reduce the footprint of the storage facility by more than half, by using the vertical storage area of the warehouse. The unique ‘Twin Space’ or double-storey mobile shelving system is fully automated, where one push of a button will start moving the huge satellites of units. Each satellite (or block load) is about 6 metres high and 9 metres long, carrying well over 10 tonnes of weight.
The unit is safe and secure, with a very long life expectancy.
The system can be installed and operated at a much lower cost than single-storey shelving units. Ongoing mechanical and running costs are significantly reduced. The use of vertical space – with the unique double-storey mobile shelving unit – reduces the need to build, maintain and run a much larger facility.
Inbuilt batteries ensure the units work even during a power cut. A safety laser system ensures the safety of every user. The units can be customised for any and every application, no matter what the requirement. High security features can be programmed into the unit, including digital key code access, fingerprint scanning and even retina/face scanning options.