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Indigenous Resources

Information about Western Australia’s Indigenous people may be found in many sources in the Battye Library. Published material, such as  books, serials, newspapers, maps and films and archival materials such as diaries, personal papers, organisation's records and ephemera material (leaflets, fliers, pamphlets etc.), are available on request, either in the reading room or brought out from storage in the library’s stacks.

For guidance in finding materials in our WA Indigenous archival collection areas.

  • Private archives of organisations, companies and individuals
    These include records of non-government Aboriginal missions and of individual early settlers, explorers, pastoralists and anthropologists; many detailing first contact with Indigenous peoples.
  • Oral history interviews with Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
    We aim to ensure there is a strong representation of recorded interviews with people from all walks of life that represent a wide range of Indigenous issues and experiences.
  • Photographs, images and films of Indigenous people and culture
    Our extensive collection includes many images of Indigenous people from the late 1800’s through to modern times in a range of formats and from a wide range of contributors. Our commitment to a State Film Archive ensure Western Australian Indigenous film and documentary content is collected.
  • Published books, reports, magazines, newspapers and periodicals
    We ensure that we collect a wide range of Western Australian publications about Indigenous culture and peoples and by Indigenous peoples.
  • Ephemera - pamphlets, posters, flyers and fun
    This relates to things we collect that don’t fit into any of the above information categories but which tell important stories about our Indigenous culture and heritage - from theatre productions to calls to action in support of Indigenous rights.

Katitjin: a guide to Indigenous records in the Battye Library compiled by Heather Campbell and funded by the Friends of Battye Library (Inc) provides a comprehensive guide to the Indigenous resources of the Battye Library. It is also available as an online PDF document arranged in two parts. Tthe first section is provides an overview of the Battye Library’s Indigenous archival collections with tips on how to search for Indigenous content. Part two is a researcher’s kit comprising useful publications, a select bibliography, search strategies, websites and contact numbers.  Part of Katitjin have now been incorporated into our website to facilitate easy access.

See also: Finding Indigenous Information Resources for more tips on locating Indigneous materials in our reference collections and e.resources and for links to other Indigenous resource collections.

See also: Finding Your Indigeneous family history for advice on resources and services of specific interest to Indigenous family history research.

The State Records Office and State Library of WA Collections

Together with the State Records Office, the J. S.  Battye Library is the primary research collection of Western Australian documentary heritage, containing an impressive amount of information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Western Australia. Where the State Records Office is responsible for collecting the records of Western Australian Government’s, agencies and departments, the Battye Library is responsible for collecting the records of Western Australian non-government organisations and of individuals. However, we do collect and make available from the State Library, Australian and State Government reports and documents that have been produced specifically for the general public.

So to get the full picture of Western Australian Indigenous history, you should consult our catalogue and Subject Guides as well as the Western Australian Government Indigenous records held by the State Records Office. Fortunately, though we are independent government agencies, we are in the same building, so this should make your information hunting easier.

Page last updated: Monday 13 August 2012