Koorie Victoria and State Library of Victoria collections

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


Through the Library’s Newspaper Collection you can trace a history of contact, increasing conflict and resistance between Aboriginal people and European settlers.  Later, reporting on the Victorian mission and reserve system and the government inquiries into their operation describe lives framed by coercion and restriction. Reported also were protests and action taken by Aboriginal people against their treatment.

From the 1930’s, Aboriginal issues joined the political mainstream and newspapers provided opportunity for voices of advocates to be heard. 

Unmediated Aboriginal voices increasingly appear in newspapers, and (largely from the 1970’s, in the Library’s collections) - Aboriginal groups fighting for rights to services, land and language produced their journals and magazines.

More contemporary reportage of Indigenous issues is available through our hard copy and online collections.

Library staff have complied guides to using our newspaper collection:

Full text newspapers

Newspapers freely available

  • Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program - this National Library project is digitizing Australian newspapers, from 1803 to the 1950’s.
  • Google News Archive - the Google News Archive harvests other organizations digitizing projects, including some of the papers from the National Library project above.  Most papers included are American – however, The Age (Melbourne, 1854-  ) is included.
  • The Australian Abo Call: the voice of the Aborigines No.1 April 1938 - No.6 September 1938.
    Edited by Jack Patten, co-founder of the Aborigines Progressive Association, began publication after the Day of Mourning protest held on the 26th January 1938.
  • Dawn and New dawn - published by the New South Wales Aborigines Welfare Board between 1952 and 1975.
  • Koori history website - newspaper archive - selected articles - from 1929 to current day, links to fulltext.
  • National Indigenous Times - archive searchable and available from March 2002. In addition a page of links arranged under subject headings. Also available in the Library.
  • Koori mail - AIATSIS hosts a complete online archive of the Koori Mail. Also available in the Library.

The following are available online at the Library, and offsite to Victorian registered users.

Indexes to historical newspapers

Online indexes

  • Australiana index - This staff compiled index includes references to newspaper and journal articles and chapters in books.  Biography and Local History Indexes are available in the Information Centre and Family History and Newspapers Room. There are a variety of card indexes currently available in the Arts Reading Room.
  • Aboriginal history newspaper archive - selected articles - from 1929 to current day, links to fulltext.

Hard copy indexes

These indexes are available in hard copy – book or cards or microfilm. The nature of entries varies from brief description, to headline, or a page reference. Most of the papers indexed are available on film in the Newspapers & Family History Reading Rooms.

  • Argus (Melbourne) 1846 - 1869, 1910-1949, 1950-1951. Fulltext newspaper is also available online.
  • Port Phillip Gazette (Melbourne) 1838-1845 (Cooper Index)
  • Port Phillip Herald (Melbourne) 1840-1845 (Cooper Index)
  • The Age (Melbourne) 1868-1878, 1892-1899, 1962-1973, 1982-1992
  • The Advocate (Melbourne) 1868-1990
  • The Herald (Melbourne) 1926-1970
  • The Sun (Melbourne) 1929-November 1970
  • Sydney Gazette (Sydney) 1803-1842
  • The Australian (Sydney) 1824-1842
  • Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney) 1842-1845
  • The Atlas: Sydney weekly 1845-1849

Cuttings, scrapbooks, pictures

  • Kenyon Historical Press Cuttings 1908-1942 - these files contain cuttings of Australian biographical and historical articles, from newspapers such as the Age, Argus, Australasian, Sydney mail, Herald and Pastoralists’ review.|
  • Index to Illustrations of Aborigines in Illustrated Newspapers of Colonial Australia - this article in the La Trobe journal covers illustrations published between 1853 and 1896, and from a range of illustrated papers.  There is a companion article in the same issue.

Indexes to current newspapers

Online indexes

  • The Australian Indigenous Index - Indexes the Koori Mail, Lismore, along with references to biographical information from various magazines including: Our Aim (1907–1961), Dawn (1952–1969), New Dawn (1970–1975) and Identity (1971–1982).
  • Australian newspaper indexes - This listing includes some regional papers as well as major dailies.


Online news, radio and television

  • National Indigenous Television - operating since 2007, provides content and employment opportunities for Indigenous people in the sector. Available over free to air, satellite and pay-tv networks.
  • NIRS - National Indigenous Radio Service - streaming and MP3 files of bulletins available.
  • Living Black - SBS national Indigenous current affairs and news programs. Archived stories browsable by state, podcasts, RSS feeds.
  • ABC Indigenous - home page with links to Message stick, Awaye! and Speaking out. Also links to programmes of interest across ABC network
  • Strong Spirit - 3CR. Streaming and podcasts available.
  • 3KND - Indigenous owned and operated radio station, based in Melbourne.
  • News and media - from Indigenous.gov.au

Imparja Television

A remote possibility is the story of Imparja Televison and Indigenous broadcasting in remote Australia, established by the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association in Alice Springs in the 1980's. 

Our collections include additional material on broadcasting including some recordings of television programs, reports and links to web sites.