Koorie Victoria and State Library of Victoria collections

Guide to sources in the Library collection, with links to external collections and digitised collections.


Libraries and archives can be repositories of significant and precious personal information for Aboriginal people and their communities.  Discussion relating to this, the potential tension between material and access and the inclusion of Aboriginal perspectives in the historical record is covered in some of the sites below. Organisations such as AIATSIS have developed online exhibitions and undertaken digitising projects to make significant government resources widely available.

Management of Indigenous collections in libraries and museums.

Indigenous collections in national, state and territory libraries


1967 Referendum - 50th anniversary

In 2017, NSLA libraries in Australia will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the historic 1967 Referendum with an online exhibition, Right Wrongs. 

A 90.77% yes vote removed the reference to special laws for Aboriginal people in s.51 (xxvi) - "The people of any race, other than the aboriginal people in any State, for whom it is necessary to make special laws"; and deleted s.127: "In reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, aboriginal natives should not be counted."
The referendum proposed to change the constitution to enable Aboriginal people to be counted in the census, and that they be subject to Commonwealth laws, rather than the previous legislative framework of individual states.

The 1967 referendum - Fact Sheet 150 - National Archives

Badge supporting Indigenous rights.







Badge supporting Indigenous rights.
Badge, date of creation unknown.
From the State Library of Victoria's Riley and Ephemera Collection.

Useful links

  • Koorie Heritage Trust - collections, programs and services dedicated to Koorie art and culture.
  • The  ATSILIRN protocols- developed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library and Information Resources Network they set out social, language and cultural protocols when dealing with Indigenous communities.
  • Culturally safe libraries - developed by the body representing the national, state and territory libraries of Australia and the National Library of New Zealand.
  • IFLA Statement on Indigenous Traditional Knowledge - developed by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

To read...

Indigenous notions of ownership and libraries, archives and museums.

Bibliographies - resources for researching Aboriginal Australians. Covering a range of subject areas, the Library doesn't hold all items referred to. Library staff can help you to locate them in other libraries or archives.

AIATSIS Collection - includes MURA - books, manuscript and image collections and family history resources; AUSTLANG - for languages resources and Art and Object - including drawings, paintings, textiles and woodcarvings.