I am currently researching materials that were written in the 1950s that refer to the National Archives using reference numbers that I cannot now find in the current online records. For example:

CP. 4, P.M. Sc. 27e, Nat archives, RAN War Staff and Intelligence Branch memo 18.3.1920

CP. 235, Immig. 21/4317, Nat. archives - Sect. Dept. of H & T to S/collectors Broome, Onslow, Roebourne, Port Hedland - 14.3.1922

There are many more like this.

Can anyone please help me to find the key to 'translating' the references so that I can locate these kinds of documents in the current system?

Thank you,

Cate Pearce

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Hi Cate

The CP numbers in your references refers to the old series numbers that were used before the current numbering system was brought in in the 1960s (CP for Canberra Permanent).  These series accession system numbers take the format CP1/1, CP1/2 etc.  A large number of the CP prefix series have been converted into the Commonwealth Records Series system and given new series numbers.  You can find some of the old accession series numbers and what their CRS system number is online, others you will need to research in our conversion register (paper format) which lists the old accession series system numbers and what the new CRS series number is.

Unfortunately, it looks as if the 1950s publications you are referencing cite the records at the document level, whereas we list items at the file level.  I don’t think you will be able to find the items using the numbers above. But if you can find an item with the subject area you are interested in (or the area being discussed in the publication), you may be able to find the documents.  I did a bit of research to see if I could point you in the right direction.

A number of series have the CP4 prefix (see list below), but the one you are probably interested in was reaccessioned into A1606. There are over 900 items listed in A1606, but it would be worth you going through the titles of items in the series, as you may see one that may be relevant.  The records in A1606 are located in Canberra – if you wanted to view them you would need to arrange to see the items in the Canberra reading room (if the access status of an item is ‘Not yet examined’, you will need to have the item examined for public release before you can see it). Alternatively, you can purchase copies by clicking on the ‘Request copy’ link on the item listing in RecordSearch).

Series no.

Series title

Accum. date range

Contents date range

Quantity and location

Items listed


Secret and Confidential correspondence [Note that items in CP4/1 are now in Series A1606/3]

1914 - 1939





Correspondence between the Australian and United Kingdom Governments on the Abdication of Edward VIII

1936 - 1936


ACT: 0.36m



Records relating to the Mission to England and subsequent resignation of Rt. Hon. W.A. Watt.

1920 - 1920


ACT: 0.18m



Miscellaneous Records

1925 - 1939


ACT: 0.09m



Minutes of Agenda of the Commonwealth Supply and Tender Board. Jan. 1929 - Jan. 1930.

1929 - 1930


ACT: 0.09m



Records relating to the Imperial Conference, 1937.

1937 - 1937


ACT: 1.26m



Briefs forwarded to Mr. R.G. Casey as delegate to the Imperial Conference, 1937

1937 - 1937

1936 - 1937

ACT: 0.18m



Records created by Imperial Conference, 1937

1937 - 1937


ACT: 0.36m



Official papers and correspondence of Mr. R.G. Casey as Treasurer.

1935 - 1941

1935 - 1941

ACT: 0.36m



Agreements between the Commonwealth Government and other governments.

1914 - 1937

1914 - 1937

ACT: 0.18m



Reports, evidence and proceedings of Committee of Inquiry into the Sugar Industry.

1930 - 1931


ACT: 0.36m


Re the CP235 reference – CP235/1 was reaccessioned as the series A1 (more than 64,000 items are listed on Recordsearch) and A63 (more than 1,700 items listed – but series only has items created up to 1919).  CP235/2 was reaccession as the series A261 (with more than 33,000 items listed, but the date range starts in about 1953). I think therefore you would do best to concentrate your search in A1.

In 1922, Dept of H & T was the Department of Home and Territories, but I don’t know what S/collectors would have referred to.  If you do a search in the Advanced Search - Items screen - for  series number: A1, date from: 1922 to 1922 and in the field ‘Keywords in item title Exclude’ enter: naturali* (the * is a wildcard), you should get about 1500 item listings, which may help you to narrow down which item may have the document you are interested in.

Best of luck


(NAA staff)


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