The National Archives of Australia's digital archiving programme has been in operation since 2006. During this time, the organisation has shared with the international archival community its practical experiences, technical output and lessons learned in building and managing a digital archive. Less well known than the products and experiences (or the ‘what’) of digital archiving is the ‘how’: the circumstances and processes that enabled the development of the digital archive in the first place. These include various funding processes for public moneys and timely government initiatives supporting and promoting sustainable digital preservation. This paper looks at the circumstances surrounding the development of digital archives in five jurisdictions - the Australian Government, the New Zealand Government and the Australian State Government jurisdictions of Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. It describes the experiences of these institutions in seeking funding, leveraging existing government strategies and initiatives and the costs of building digital archiving capacity. It should be noted that these developments in digital archiving have been prompted primarily by the respective governments' commitment to exploiting digital technologies in the course of conducting business and providing services to the public.