The National Archives of Australia has many records about First Australians.
To help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people find records about themselves or their family, we have published a number of books and research guides.
Please note that some of these publications include references to, and photographs of, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have passed away.
Between two worlds: The Commonwealth Government and the removal of Aboriginal children of part descent in the Northern Territory – Rowena MacDonald, 1995
Based on a long-running exhibition, this book looks at how Aboriginal children of part descent were taken from their families and placed in two Northern Territory 'half-caste' institutions run by the Australian Government.
It includes oral histories, documents and photographs and shows what happened to the children.
Family journeys: Stories in the National Archives of Australia, 2008
Ths book traces the histories of nine Australian families using records in the National Archives' collection.
One of the stories in the focuses on the Cubillo family of the Northern Territory. It talks about the migration of Antonio from the Philippines and his marriage to Lily of the Larrakia people.
You can buy this book in our online shop.
Footprints: The Journey of Lucy and Percy Pepper, 2008
Developed in consultation with the Pepper family of Victoria, this book describes the family's struggle to stay together at a time when laws and government policy defined who was ‘Aboriginal’ and who wasn't.
We have created a number of research guides to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people research their family and history:
- Aboriginal deaths in custody: The Royal Commission and its records, 1987–91 – A comprehensive listing of the records of the 1987 Royal Commission examining deaths of Aboriginal people while in custody.
- walata tyamateetj: A guide to government records about Aboriginal people in Victoria – Developed with the Public Record Office Victoria, this guide will help Victorian Aboriginal people find records about their family and country. It will also assist anyone researching the history and administration of Aboriginal affairs in Victoria to find relevant records.
- Tracking family: A guide to Aboriginal records relating to the Northern Territory – a guide to help Indigenous people of the Northern Territory find records in various government agencies, church archives and libraries. Includes a list of all NT church-run missions and homes where Aboriginal children were placed.
Bringing Them Home name index
The Bringing Them Home name index is a list of names of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who appear in government files.
Staff at the National Archives can search the index for particular names. They can also search a list of World War I Indigenous servicemen.
Other online resources
Koorie Records Unit
The Koorie Records Unit promotes awareness about records relating to Aboriginal people held by the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) and the National Archives.
Our virtual reading room offers easy access to archival records for teachers and students, including a wealth of material about First Australians.
Useful pages on this website
- Aboriginal petitions
- Neville Bonner
- British nuclear tests at Maralinga
- Finding records relating to an Indigenous person
- First Australians family history—beyond the National Archives
- Albert Namatjira
- Pastoral industry in the Northern Territory
- Charles Perkins
- Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
- The 1967 Referendum
- The Wave Hill 'walk-off'