Almost 10 million people agree to be in the Centenary of Federation Time Capsule, Jun 2002

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June 20, 2002
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Almost 10 million people agree to be in the Centenary of Federation Time Capsule


A total of 9,998,428 people or more than half the people recorded in last year's Census of Population and Housing chose to have their name identified census information stored in the 2001 Centenary of Federation Time Capsule.

The Centenary of Federation Time Capsule Project is a Commonwealth Government initiative to help celebrate the Centenary of Federation. It was conducted in conjunction with the 2001 population census.

The time capsule comprises microfilm copies of the census information provided by the people who chose to be included in the project. It will be securely stored by the National Archives of Australia and opened to the public in the year 2100.

The Acting Director-General of the National Archives of Australia, Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, said that the Time Capsule Project had made census history.

‘All this valuable data will be a rich lode of sociological information for our descendants 99 years from now, and the Archives is mindful of its important role in the secure custody of the records until that time,’ Ms Schwirtlich said.

For Australia as a whole the participation rate was 52.7%.

Participation rates were similar for all age groups, with the lowest being for those under five years of age (45.8%) and those over 89 years of age (47.2%).

Nearly half (49.8%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people agreed to take part.

The rate of agreement increased steadily with income level, ranging up to 65.2% for those earning $1500 or more per week

People born in England (60.4%), Scotland (60.4%) and Australia (55.4%) were most likely to participate. People born in Viet Nam (42.4%), China (45.3%) and Greece (45.0%) had the lowest rate of participation.

The Australian Statistician, Dennis Trewin, said once the transfer of paper records onto microfilm had been completed, the ABS would destroy all name-identified census information it holds, including the computer records and the paper forms. As in the past, the paper forms would be pulped for recycling.