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Children at Ernabella School, 1940. SLSA: PRG 1218/34/1262h

Indigenous Collections

  • Aboriginal
  • First Nations people
  • family history
  • Mountford-Sheard

The State Library of South Australia acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations, and recognises Aboriginal people as traditional custodians and occupants of South Australian land and waters.

People are advised that records will contain names and photographs of Aboriginal people who have since died, which may cause distress to their relatives; discretion should be used when accessing them.

What's inside

UNESCO Australian Memory of the World register

The State Library's archival collection contains a substantial amount of unpublished South Australian material, including material that is relevant to Aboriginal people, including oral histories, including the Mountford-Sheard Collection, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World register. 

View the register


Access the following services by using our Ask Us service:

  • Research into the State Library's Indigenous collections.
  • Providing advice on the State Library's Indigenous collections.
  • Processing, cataloguing and indexing the State Library's Indigenous collections.
  • Raising awareness with enquirers of special access conditions to Indigenous materials.
  • Liaising with communities and enquirers requesting copies or access to the State Library's Indigenous materials.
  • Developing partnerships with the communities and like institutions.
  • Publishing and developing contextual online information on Indigenous collections.
  • Collaborating and participating in Indigenous events and programs.



We work 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.


The State Library has supplied content for a number of community-led publications, exhibitions and databases, enabling Aboriginal Communities to have access, on Country, to material of cultural significance held at the library. 


Image: Aboriginal children in line at Ernabella School. The children are lined up in what appears to be oldest to youngest, with their billy cans placed nearby. SLSA: PRG 1218/34/1262h