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Memento : Issue 21
2 memento september 2002 inister for the Arts and Sport, Senator the Hon. Rod Kemp, visited us in Canberra recently and was impressed with what he saw and learned. He shared the following thoughts with us. 'History is our foundation stone, reminding us of the things that have fashioned our past and our present. It can also provide an understanding of who we are, and importantly where we might be headed in the future. The National Archives of Australia is a window into our past. Among the many papers, documents, files and department records are stories that trace the events and decisions that have shaped our nation. In a recent visit to the National Archives I discovered the founding documents exhibition, Charters of Our Nation. It was fascinating to see the Letters Patent and Royal Assent Queen Victoria signed to create our new nation -- our national birth certificates. Not only has each piece its own story to tell about how we became a nation, but they are both striking works of art on parchment and vellum, with elaborate decoration. These are important documents in our country's heritage and, thanks to the National Archives, they are now on display together for all Australians to appreciate. The National Archives is a hidden gem, with its headquarters housed in a wonderful heritage building nestled between the old and new Parliament Houses, fittingly, in the national capital's parliamentary triangle. They are the official keeper of government records, but they are also so much more. The Archives bring to life what are sometimes thought of as just government files -- they are historians and they are storytellers. Public interest in the National Archives is increasing, due in large part to their popular exhibitions, not only in Canberra, but also through their touring exhibitions and more recently their online projects. These projects have made the collection available to more Australians than ever. from our Minister A M I am pleased our recordkeeping is in such capable hands and wish the Archives every success for the launch of their lighthouse exhibition Beacons by the Sea and their innovative website Australia's Prime Ministers later this year.' word