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.

  • ATSILIRN conferences - held by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library and Information Resources Network. The site includes links to previous conferences and papers, when available.
  • Indigenous languages and arts programs - administered by the Commonwealth Department of Communication and the Arts, along with the Indigenous Repatriation Program.
  • Koorie archiving: trust and technology: building an archival system for Indigenous oral memory - the final report for this project, it sets out recommendations for developing changed frameworks for the ways in which archival collections are held and used, while acknowledging the power many of these collections hold in the lives of Indigenous people. In addition, the report recommends a reorientation for the research community - seeing the Indigenous community as partners rather than subjects in their research.
  • Koorie Archiving System (KAS) Project - an outcome of the Trust and Technology project, this project will create a shared, collaborative archival space to bring together and make accessible records relating to Koorie communities and individuals, including written records, oral testimony, photographs, audio and video recordings from government, community and personal sources. Koorie people will be able to add their records and stories and link them to related government records. They will also be able to annotate, interpret, correct, or provide context for information content sourced from official records.
  • Monash Indigenous Studies Centre - research includes anthropology, social sciences, language and indigenous rights and history.
  • Information Technologies and Indigenous Communities - published in 2013, after a conference held in July 2010 focusing on the opportunities presented by new digital technologies for recording and sharing community resources.
  • Archives and Indigenous Human Rights - Interdisciplinary Workshop - presentations and sound files from this workshop held in October 2010. Speakers addressed the issues of archival records and human, intellectual and cultural property rights.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Data Archive - a national, trusted repository for research data relating to Indigenous communities.

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

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.