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Memento : Issue 20
may 2002 memento W hile helping the Australian Customs Service to develop their functional disposal authority (which identifies records to be retained as national archives and authorises the destruction of others that aren't), we discovered there was more to Customs than first meets the eye. Amongst their many functions we found 'detector dogs', which covers breeding, kennelling and looking after the genetic material of their labradors. We found that Customs' role is complex and often converges with that of other agencies. Defining the boundaries between their role and recordkeeping requirements, and the roles of other agencies, took some time and was necessary to ensure that duplicate records aren't unnecessarily kept. In the case of migration, for example, we had to determine where Customs' and Immigration's functions crossed paths and which agency had control of passenger lists from early ship migrations. It turns out that Customs did, although such lists became scarce after air travel grew more common in the 1950s. Customs also takes part in civil maritime search and rescue and border surveillance, and works with other enforcement agencies such as the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service, the Department of Defence and the Australian Federal Police. As part of the process of developing a records disposal authority for Customs, we incorporated feedback from various stakeholder groups, including the Australian Historical Association, on the possible wider community interest in Customs records. Customs dogs are trained to search sea and air cargo, aircraft baggage, international mail, vessels and buildings for hidden drugs. Photograph courtesy Australian Customs Service. Andthewinneris. . . Congratulations to Pam Coppock from Albany Creek, Queensland, who won the draw for a book prize offered to reader s who returned their completed sur vey on Our Collection.Many thanks to ever yone who responded to the sur vey. We were pleased with the overwhelmingly positive comments and welcomed the suggestions to improve the next edition of this booklet. Who would have thought that dog care was a function of the Commonwealth? Sniffer dogs and other customs Customs' functional disposal authority, approved at the end of 2001, and their records disposal authority are now complete. As a result of all this hard work, Customs' recordkeeping will never be called 'a dog's breakfast'. Their commitment to best practice recordkeeping and the sound base established through this project will support the important work they do in both protecting the Australian community and preserving their history. 5