1304.5 - Stats Talk WA (Newsletter), Apr 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/08/2005   
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The Centenary of the ABS

In 2005 the Australian Bureau of Statistics celebrates its centenary, 100 years as the national statistical agency.
The Bureau came into existence on the 8 December 1905 when the Census and Statistics Act 1905 (Cwlth) was given assent. The following year George Handley Knibbs was appointed Commonwealth Statistician and given the task of establishing the office. There were 10 staff appointed to the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics in 1906. The Bureau was established within the Department of Home Affairs. In the early 1930s the Bureau was moved under the auspices of the Department of the Treasury.

Initially the role of the Commonwealth Statistician was primarily seen as a co-ordination role, bringing together the statistics of each of the different states. However it quickly became clear that the task was somewhat more complicated than that. In 1924, Tasmania was the first state statistical office to integrate with the Commonwealth Bureau. The rest of the state statistical offices integrated in the late 1950s.

The Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics became the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1975, independent of other departments. Today the ABS has just under 3,000 staff distributed throughout the state and territories in each capital city.