Records acquired by the Public Record Office by means of gift, deposit or purchase from individuals, families or organisations have been placed in a special class, PRO 30. Most of the collections in the class comprise papers of individuals who had some involvement in public life.
The Australian Joint Copying Project has filmed papers in the following nine collections in PRO 30:
- PRO 30/6 Carnarvon Papers, 1858-85
- PRO 30/8 Pitt Papers, 1766-1808 (Chatham Papers)
- PRO 30/9 Abbot Papers, 1799-1802 (Colchester papers)
- PRO 30/22 Russell Papers, 1835-75
- PRO 30/29 Granville Papers, 1822-86
- PRO 30/45 Hatton Papers, 1779-1854
- PRO 30/48 Cardwell Papers, 1848-73
- PRO 30/56 Northcote Papers, 1904-08
- PRO 30/68 Anderson Papers, 1916-29
Two of the above collections, the Hatton and Northcote Papers, being small collections, have been filmed in their entirety.
Each of these collections has distinctive features. The Hatton Papers are an artificial collection, in that the records were Home Office official papers which for some reason passed out of custody of the Home Office and were ultimately acquired by Joseph Hatton. The Northcote Papers are distinctive in that they were assembled in Australia rather than Britain, the letters all relating to Lord Northcote's term as Governor-General. Although only three correspondents are represented in the collection, no other personal papers of Lord Northcote are known to have survived.
The other seven collections have all been filmed selectively and in some cases the selections form a very small proportion of the total collection. Of the seven individuals who assemble the papers, six were British politicians, including two Prime Ministers (William Pitt and Lord John Russell) and four Secretaries of State for the Colonies (Russell, Edward Cardwell, Lord Granville, Lord Carnarvon). The subject matters of these political collections vary considerably. The Pitt Papers, the only eighteenth century collection, contains documents on the first British settlement in Australia, the establishment of the Pacific whale fishery, and British economic and strategic interests in South East Asia. The papers filmed in the other collections include material on convicts and transportation (Abbot, Russell), appointments of governors, self-government for the colonies (Russell, Carnarvon), the withdrawal of imperial troops from the colonies (Cardwell, Granville), and British interests and annexations in New Guinea and the Pacific (Russell, Carnarvon, Granville).
The remaining collection is somewhat different in that it dates from the twentieth century, was assembled by an official and businessman, Sir Alan Anderson, and deals with a single subject, the shipment of Australian wheat to Britain during World War I.
Detailed Piece Lists and Dates for the above collections may be found in Part 9 of the Handbook.