State Library of South Australia

Indigenous Collections

The Library has a significant and developing amount of specialist material relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, which can be found by searching the Library catalogue.

Published collections

Published material can be found by searching the Library catalogue using keyword or subject. In addition, Library staff have compiled a series of Library Guides that bring together the most useful resources on a series of selected topics.

Archival material

The State Library's archival collection contains a substantial amount of unpublished South Australian material, including material that is relevant to Aboriginal people. This includes Oral Histories. Examples of our archival holdings are the records of the Point McLeay Aboriginal Mission (SRG 698), the Aboriginal Education Foundation of S.A (SRG 102) and the Council of Aboriginal Women of South Australia Oral History project (OH 664)

The Mountford-Sheard Collection (PRG 1218) is a unique and significant collection of materials created by ethnologist Charles Pearcy Mountford during the 1930s to 60s. The collection covers a selection of Aboriginal communities from South and Central Australia and the Northern Territory. In 2008 the collection was inscribed on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World register. Work is currently taking place to further assess, describe and digitise this collection to enable easier and more appropriate access. Access is through staff only - enquiries to the Information Desk.

Pictorial images

The Library Catalogue contains pictorial and other images of Aboriginal Australians held by the Library. These images can be found by searching the State Library catalogue. People are advised that these records will contain names and photographs of Aboriginal people who have since died. This may cause distress to their relatives; discretion should be used when viewing them.

Partnerships and digital repatriation

Ara Irititja

The Library works cooperatively with Ara Irititja, the Social History Unit of the Pitjantjatjara Council, to describe and digitise images and other material relevant to the Pitjantjatjara communities of Central Australia. Access to this material is then provided through a mobile community database.

Community databases

Similarly, the Library has supplied content for community databases which have being developed under guidance from the Northern Territory Library. Through the development of Knowledge Centres, these communities host databases which enable them to digitally record, store and access materials relevant to their community.

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