The National Archives (Gozo section) – the NAG – is the brainchild of the Honorable Anton Tabone, first Minister for Gozo, and of Joseph Bezzina, a professional archivist. The successors of the first minister, Dr Anton Refalo, Parliamentary Secretary for Gozo, and the Honorable Giovanna Debono, the present Minister for Gozo, continued to promote this foundation unstintingly.
On 1 August 1989, Joseph Bezzina began working part-time with the Ministry for Gozo to set up the Gozo Archives. The first documents to be moved were the surviving 265 registers of the former Universitas Gaudisii. It is obvious that the Universitas that functioned from around 1350 to 1818 had produced a lot more. The majority went lost or was destroyed. This fact alone highlighted the utmost necessity of this new foundation in Gozo.
The NAG was officially inaugurated on 24 November 1989 by Dr Ugo Mifsud-Bonnici, then Minister of Education, and Anton Tabone, then Minister for Gozo. This was over two months before the Malta Parliament, on 30 January 1990, enacted the Act to regulate the National Archives.
The NAG was conceived as the public record office for the documentation produced and received by past and present Government departments and establishments of the islands of Gozo and Comino.
Circular OPM/E/82/83 issued by the Staff Development Organisation of the Office of the Prime Minister (July 1991) under the sub-heading Gozo Records clearly laid down that: “Records originated by the Ministry for Gozo, Gozo sections of government departments, and by public bodies established for Gozo should be deposited at the Gozo Section of the National Archives which has been set up adjoining the Gozo Public Library”.
Records denote all sort of information in written or other permanent form – maps, designs, photographs, negatives of photographs, cinematographic films, registrations of whatever type or material whether audio or visual as well as all types of documentation kept by Government – serving as a memorial or authentic evidence of a fact or event. Produced or received refers to all records that the officials of an entity create in relation to their office. An entity is any public, semipublic, institutional, business or private establishment.
On 1 August 1989, there was a deposit of 265 items. By the end of the year 2006, deposits exceeded the nine thousand mark. These thousands of items were laboriously picked up from rusting cabinets, airless rooms, and damp basements in several government departments scattered throughout the island. Now they are catalogued and kept with care at the National Archives (Gozo Section).