Posted by Web Operations on August 4, 2011 in Australia

As you may know, Tuesday 9th August is Census night in Australia.

One question on the census, question 60, will offer the option of having your records available to historians in future years. Answering ‘yes’ will ensure your census information will be kept by The National Archives and made available once the lockdown of 99 years has expired.

Research carried out by has found that one third of Aussies surveyed are planning to say no to question 60, despite the fact that 80% of Australians feel it is important to preserve family history.

Saying ‘no’ or leaving the box unchecked will mean your census form is destroyed once the statistical data has been collated, therefore deleting your record from existence.

Gen Y Most Likely to Request Records be Destroyed

Surprisingly the age group with the largest percentage of respondents who are planning on saying no is 18-34 year olds, with 68% citing their greatest barrier to saying yes was concerns about having their personal details made public.

Ironically, while expressing concern over privacy, this generation is 30% more likely to regularly share personal information through social networks like Facebook and Twitter than any other age group.

As the census offers a wonderful snapshot of Australian life for future generations, and critical information for researching family history, it’s important that all Aussies get behind this campaign.

So spread the word to your family and friends – post it on your Facebook wall, talk about it over dinner or at work – ensure you become part of history and say “yes” to question 60.


  1. helen turner

    If it wasn’t for previous census records then we would not be able to trace our heritage. Unfortunately many young people for what ever reason are not interested in their heritage until they are much older and one day wake up & say “where did I come from” Without the census we cannot answer that question when all of our ancestors are gone. The census is a picture of life as it is today on 2011, I wonder what it will be like in another 50 years? genealogy has given me a picture of mu families lives which I would not have had otherwise.

  2. belinda

    If you read the National Archives of Australia website, not only is question 60 to be marked, BUT THE FORM MUST BE SIGNED for the information to be kept for the 99 years and then released.

  3. Sheila Howard

    I filled on my Aug 9 2011 Australian census form on line. I was going to print a form so I could keep it for my future ancesters, Wasn’t able to once I had logged in. What a pity.


  4. Leigh Gozzard

    I have complete the online census form and unfortunately I did not get a question 60 to complete. I would have loved to have been able to say yes.

  5. Sorry Guys, i did mine on line and their was no question 60. My answer sheets for me n my husband was few and far between. Maybe they skipped some pages, i was waiting for GEEOLOGY QUESTION, and i wanted to add my families pree marriage names wouldnt accept them. ???

  6. Ancestry Australia and New Zealand

    Thanks for your comments. Glad to hear many of you said Yes to question 60!

  7. Karen

    I filled out our family Census form Aug 09 2011 and managed to slip a little more information onto it than was asked.. when asked if born on Australia i marked yes, and added actual suburb for each family member, also wrote which ancestors where born were, hopefully giving my future ancestors a helping hand.. i also thanked then at the very end for making this available in 99years. hoping the actual form will be scanned and available in it’s completed format.

  8. Jen

    I see you’re only putting up the positive comments? Family history is something you pass on through your family, not through the government.

  9. Kerry Ellis

    We did ours the old-fashioned way and ticked yes and signed it for our future descendants.
    How ironic that 68% of 18-34 year olds cited concerns about their personal privacy as the reason for not having their information kept for posterity! Aren’t they the very ones who put everything on social media for everyone to see?
    As a family historian, I am so very grateful that my ancestors decided to have their details kept. I think it should be compulsory and it should be done on paper!

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