The Storylines Vision

Storylines provides for the digital return of photos and other materials directly to Aboriginal families, communities and people. It is also helping to identify many of the photographs in the J.S. Battye Collection at the State Library.  Hundreds of photographs have been identified since 2013.

The Ara Irititja software which the system is based on allows objects, people, places, stories, plant, animals and technology to be tagged and linked within the system to create vast knowledge profiles which reflect the many languages, stories and perspectives of Aboriginal Western Australia. Storylines is uniquely capable of adhering to cultural protocols, and supports media types including video and audio.

Storylines will become a central point for Aboriginal people who wish to access the State Library's extensive heritage collections, and a safe place to store records of people, place and history. Material which is identified as sensitive, secret or sacred is able to be restricted or removed in a flexible and responsive way.

The State Library will be working with several remote communities to set up community-controlled archives which complement the Storylines system but will restrict access to material deemed secret, sensitive or sacred by the community. These instances will be run by the community according to their own needs and protocols.

How to Get Involved

The State Library hosts sessions with people and organisations to identify aspects of these collections.  Information about these sessions can be found on the events page.  The Library is also interested in working with community groups to provide training and access to the archive, and can provide one-on-one or small group sessions for group or individual visiting the State Library.

If you are interested in discussing the possibility of including your photographs, images, movies or music in the database please contact the project team at

Using and Being Part of Storylines

Storylines is an online archive managed and hosted by the State Library of Western Australia, with advice and guidance provided by an Aboriginal Reference Group with ongoing state-wide consultation.  It allows users from all around the state to engage with Aboriginal stories, language, perspectives and history. There is also a community-run database in Mowanjum (Wurnan Storylines).

The Storylines Database has more than 2500 photographs from around the state, as well as a number of oral histories, family trees, historical documents and other media files.  Items on Storylines are sorted by different criteria including people, places, collections and language groups. There are more than 3,800 people identified in the system.

Access to Storylines  can be from a laptop or desktop computer with internet access and using a standard web browser.   The system requires Adobe Flash to run, so you may need to update the Flash player on your browser e.g. Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox. Due to this requirement Storylines cannot be accessed on a smartphone or tablet but this feature may be available soon.

Once you have read the cultural warning click 'Continue' to load the login page.  You can use the Guest Login button to jump straight into the database as a guest user - allowing you to search, view and print any material in the system which is not currently restricted. You will also be able to leave annotations: stories or memories you would like to share with other users of the system, or information about photos or other items in the database. 

Last updated on: 13 December 2016