Aboriginal History Research Unit
The Aboriginal History Research Unit (AHRU) manages access to Western Australian State archives and some privately owned records that are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Indigenous Affairs (DIA). Access to these records is provided for personal and family history, native title and general research purposes.
The majority of the records managed by DIA are administrative files including mission, station and personal records created by various government departments dealing with Aboriginal affairs from 1886 to 1972. The privately owned records are from the South Australian Museum and the University of Sydney. These records are genealogies, journals, photographs and data cards recorded by anthropologists in Western Australia between the 1920s and 1960s. In 2008 DIA acquired the Jan Goodacre Collection; a private collection of records about Aboriginal people purchased by the Commonwealth Government.
Under the State Records Act 2000 public access to records is classified as open or restricted. Due to the personal and sensitive nature of a significant number of DIA’s archives, most are classified as restricted. AHRU assesses access to records at each application according to who the applicant is and their purpose. Records given permanent open status have been assessed as having no information that could be considered confidential to anyone. The South Australian Museum and University of Sydney records are all classified as restricted.
All records are subject to the Copyright Act 1968.
Who can apply for access to records?
AHRU divides applicants for records into four categories: Personal and Family History Applicants, Native Title Researcher Applicants, Mission Residence Dates Applicants and General Researcher Applicants.
Policies for access to records
Personal and Family History and General Researcher Applicants apply for access to DIA’s archived records under the Policy for Access to Restricted Information Managed by the Aboriginal History Research Unit. Native Title Research Applicants apply under DIA’s Native Title Access Policy.
For further information contact the Aboriginal History Research Unit:
Department of Indigenous Affairs
151 Royal Street
EAST PERTH WA 6004
PO Box 3153
EAST PERTH WA 6892
Telephone: 1300 651 077
Fax: (08) 6551 8088