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Skip Navigation LinksQueensland State Archives > Researching the archives > Resources for researchers > Indigenous resources

Indigenous resources

Records about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Queensland State Archives recognises that access to government information about the Indigenous people of Australia:

  • provides the opportunity to research family and community links
  • enables individuals to gain an understanding of the historical background to contemporary Indigenous issues
  • provides valuable information for native title determination and other legal matters.

Queensland State Archives supports the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols for Libraries, Archives and Information Services (Protocols).

Queensland legislation

What we have

Queensland State Archives is the official repository for Queensland Government records which have been selected for permanent retention because of their continuing value. The records are located in our facility in Runcorn are available to access free-of-charge in the Public Search Room. There may be some charges for copying of records.

As government agencies have managed the affairs of Indigenous Australians over a long period of time, there is a significant amount of information that has been created and retained. 

The main records which contain information about family and community links are those generated by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and its predecessor agencies listed below. 

All of the administrating agencies listed below will have created records which specifically relate to Indigenous people.

Administrating agencies

​Border Police and Native Police
​Colonial Secretary's Office
​Home Secretary's Office
​Northern and Southern Protectors of Aboriginals
​Office of the Chief Protector of Aboriginals
​Office of the Director of Native Affairs
​Department of Aboriginal and Islander Affairs
​Department of Aboriginal and Islander Advancement
​Department of Community Services
​Department of Community Services and Ethnic Affairs
​Department of Family Services and Aboriginal and Islander Affairs
Family Services and Aboriginal and Islander Affairs Department, Aboriginal and Islander Affairs Division
Department of Families, Youth and Community Care
Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy
Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy and Development
Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy
Department of Communities
Department of ​​Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs

Getting started

When you visit us, please be aware that it will take time to search for and locate information for your research. You do not have to make an appointment. However, you should make sure that you have the appropriate access permission before you arrive.

Many records about Indigenous people are closed for privacy and sensitivity reasons which means you will not be able to look at them without the permission of the relevant government agency. Further information on how to obtain permission to view closed records in Queensland State Archives' collection is available below under Access.

Some agencies in the past, particularly those concerned with the administration of Indigenous affairs, have created records containing information on specific individuals and communities. Getting information from these records will be fairly simple.

However, the records of other agencies have been created to document the functions of government and their arrangement does not distinguish between Indigenous and non-Indigenous topics. You may have to widen your search to include records created by other government agencies. Getting information from these records will require more time. The section What we have will help you to identify these records.

Assistance is available from staff of Community and Personal Histories, part of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, who have an office in the Public Search Room at Queensland State Archives. The office is staffed most days, however, it is a good idea to phone on 07 3273 3949 before travelling to the Public Search Room at Runcorn. Alternatively, you may call 1800 650 230 for assistance.

Search tools

The publication, A guide to Queensland Government records relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: Records Guide Volume 1, lists records created by many of the above predecessor agencies. It is available to use in the Public Search Room at Queensland State Archives and contains good background information on the functions and responsibilities of the agencies.

The Mackett index provides valuable references to Indigenous matters and personal names and a computerised version of the index is available to use at Queensland State Archives.

Correspondence about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for the period 1859-1903 was created by the Colonial Secretary's Office and the Home Secretary's Office. The index to this correspondence was created by the staff of the Community and Personal Histories Unit from Queensland State Archives Series ID 5253, Inwards Correspondence.

Other indexes to records about Indigenous people in Queensland State Archives' collection are available online.

There is also a wide range of finding aids available in the Public Search Room and resources available through ArchivesSearch, the online catalogue. 

A Reference Archivist is always available to help in the Public Search Room. Alternatively, you can call Queensland State Archives on 07 3131 7777 or email us at info@archives.qld.gov.au for general research advice.

Access

Every record at Queensland State Archives has been allocated an access category and some records are closed for a specific length of time.

For access to closed records created by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and its predecessor agencies you must contact Community and Personal Histories.

If you need advice on access to other records in Queensland State Archives' collection, please contact us on 07 3131 7777 or by email to info@archives.qld.gov.au with the details of the record(s) of interest for your research.

Please note, all decisions on access to closed records in the collection are made by the responsible agency. The setting of closure periods for records in our collection is governed by the Public Records Act 2002.
 
For further information please contact us.

Queensland Legislation

View an exhibition on historical legislation affecting Indigenous people in Queensland and A guide to Australian legislation relevant to native title: Volume One (NSW, Vic, QLD, SA) compiled by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).  


Last updated 11 December 2015
 

 Indigenous languages map of Queensland

 
​As part of the State Library of Queensland's Indigenous Languages Strategy, an Indigenous languages map of Queensland has been created. For more information on this project, please contact the State Library of Queensland.