Western Australian State Government archives
Records created by the Western Australian State Government are archived at the State Records Office (SRO) under the State Records Act 2000 (SRA). Under this Act each government department manages access to the records that they or their preceding departments have created. The Department of Indigenous Affairs (DIA) manages access to approximately 16,000 archived files. These files are the records of various government departments that managed Aboriginal affairs between 1886 and 1972.
The content of these files include:
- administrative matters of the various government departments dealing with Aboriginal affairs;
- records relating to missions and stations;
- a small proportion (600) of the personal files kept by previous government departments on individuals and families (the majority of personal files are managed by the Department for Child Protection (DCP)); and
- Personal History Cards: these cards summarise the personal files and were recorded as each of the personal files were created.
All state archived files are listed on the State Records Office of Western Australia’s website.
South Australian Museum Records
The Department of Indigenous Affairs holds copies of South Australian Museum (SAM) records that are relevant to Western Australia. These are the:
- Norman Tindale genealogies;
- Norman Tindale photographs;
- Norman Tindale journals;
- Joseph Birdsell/Norman Tindale anthropological, sociological and ACER data cards; and
- Joseph Birdsell genealogies.
These records were created by anthropologists Norman Tindale and Joseph Birdsell who conducted fieldwork in various parts of Western Australia between the 1930s and 1960s. Their records from this fieldwork were later donated to SAM.
DIA has an agreement with SAM to manage access to copies of these records in Western Australia.
SAM’s records are valued for their detail and their local and cultural content. They are useful to all applicant groups.
University of Sydney Records (Elkin genealogies – Kimberley Region)
The Elkin genealogies were created by anthropologist A.P. (Adolphus Peter) Elkin during fieldwork in the Kimberley region in 1928. In 2009 the owners of the genealogies, the University of Sydney, provided copies to DIA for the purpose of family history research.
The Jan Goodacre Collection
The Jan Goodacre Collection is a collection of records about Aboriginal people in Western Australia. It was developed over a 30 year period by Jan Goodacre, who had a personal interest in Aboriginal genealogy and history.
In 2005, the Commonwealth Government purchased the collection through the Department of Health and Ageing for the primary purpose of helping Aboriginal people to connect to family members lost during the period of government policies that separated Aboriginal families. The collection is held by the Western Australian State Government through DIA. Link-Up, a Commonwealth Government service also holds the collection to support their service in helping Aboriginal families to trace and re-connect with lost family members.
Included in the collection are birth, death and marriage records organised into written genealogies, photographs, cemetery records, funeral director records, books and military records. The collection is indexed in a detailed catalogue produced by the Department of Child Protection.