Aboriginal resources: a guide to NSW State archives

This Guide consists of a listing and description of records in our collection which relate to Aboriginal people. It is divided into two parts:

  • Part One is a list of records created and used by the Board for the Protection of Aborigines (1883-1940) and the Aborigines Welfare Board (1940-1969). These were the main New South Wales State Government agencies which implemented and administered policy and legislation impacting on Aboriginal people throughout New South Wales. Many of these records are closed to general public access to protect sensitive personal information. Applications to access records of the Boards closed to public access can be made to the Family Records Service at Aboriginal Affairs NSW.
  • Part Two is a list of material created by other New South Wales Government agencies which contains significant mention of Aboriginal people.

This is not an exhaustive list of sources which can be used in tracing Aboriginal family and personal history. References to Aboriginal people are likely to be found throughout the records of various Government agencies in our collection and may be located by means of our online catalogue Archives Investigator, finding aids and indexes.

Scope of the guide

This Guide lists those records in our custody which had been arranged or described as at April 1998. However, there are some records which are in our custody but which have not been included in the Guide because they had yet to be arranged or described. Researchers should ask for assistance from NSW State Archives staff should they require information about records not included in the Guide.

Historical context of the content

The records relating to Aboriginal people, like all the other records in our collection, are a result of Government activity. They are working documents created and used by a large number of public servants in the course of their official duties over a long period of time. It is important to remember that at the time of their creation, they were not intended to be used for the purposes for which they are today, that is for research.

Some of the information contained within the records may be viewed as being offensive to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people because of the context in which they were created. Often the language and opinions expressed in the records may be considered as highly offensive.

The use of these original titles and content descriptions is not meant to offend, but rather to place the records within their historical context.

How to obtain access to records that Closed to Public Access (CPA)

Some of the records listed below contain sensitive personal information and are Closed to Public Access (CPA). Where record series are marked CPA please contact the Family Records Service at the Department of Aboriginal Affairs for permission to access them, then contact us to view the records in our reading room.

Where to look at the records

We operate a reading room where members of the public can view the records in its custody.

There are also a number of Regional Archives Centres throughout New South Wales in which NSW State Archives has placed records of particular interest to researchers in those areas.

Both parts of this Guide list the records by series (records brought or kept together in an identifiable sequence) and give a short description of the records (including date range) to enable researchers to decide whether the material may be relevant to their research. More detailed lists of some of the records are included in the Guide. Where this has not been possible, the lists are available in our reading room.

The Guide also indicates whether the material has been copied onto microform (microfiche or microfilm reel) or photocopied (COD). In these instances only the copied version rather than the original will be issued to clients. Those records copied onto microfilm are available in the reading room.

NSW State Archives is not the only body in New South Wales which holds records relating to Aboriginal people. Particular mention should be made of the Mitchell and Dixson Libraries which form part of the State Library of New South Wales and the National Archives of Australia, Sydney Office.

Part One - Archives of the Aborigines Welfare Board 1883-1969

NRS 2: Minute Books, 1890-1901, 1905-1906, 1911-1969
[4/7108-7127; 4/8544-8548], Reels 2788-2794

Closed to Public Access (CPA) 100 Years under AD 252

Arrangement: Chronological

Indexes: 1890-1945 in front of volumes; 1946-1969 separate volumes (see Indexes to Minute books, 1946-69 below)

The Board for the Protection of Aborigines, later the Aborigines Welfare Board, held weekly meetings from 1890 to 1915, and then monthly meetings until 1969, when the Board was abolished. Minutes of proceedings were kept for each Board meeting and were read and approved at subsequent meetings. The Minutes note members present and record the decisions of the Board.

The early part of this series is in the form of agendas consisting of matters arising from previous meetings, business with other Departments, especially the Police and the Lands Department, and business with the Local Boards. These matters were entered into the Minutes book in preparation for discussion. Some of the early minutes in this series overlap because there was an attempt to have a copy made of several Minute books. Statements of accounts, monthly at first, then more frequently, were prepared for the agenda. By about 1897 these were consuming too much space, and it appears that separate accounting records were kept with only the total expenditure and balance recorded in the agenda.

Following the Aborigines Protection Act 1909 (No. 25), the functions of the Board widened, becoming more inter-departmental, and consequently the minutes become more voluminous. This necessitated the discontinuance of the agenda-type minute around 1915, when the 1909 Act was amended by the Aborigines Protection Amending Act 1915 (No. 2). At this time the Minute books begin to include loose documents, such as typed financial statements, important correspondence, transcripts of Board meetings, and notices of Board members and meetings, as well as a record of attendances, and dates of appointments. After the reconstitution of the Board in 1937, the minutes give the decisions of the Board in point form, followed by a statement of expenditure. Later the minute items usually give a correspondence file number.
Because of their summary nature, Minute books do not give great detail about individuals. However, the mention of that individual may be the only reference to the person in official records. Therefore, careful checking of the Minute books may prove worthwhile to researchers.

NRS 3: Indexes to Minute books, 1946-1969
[4/8549-8551], Reel 1633

Closed to Public Access (CPA) 100 Years under AD 251

These volumes are an alphabetical index to Minute books, 1890-1901, 1905-06, 1911-69 (above). Before 21 May 1946, the Minute books had indexes incorporated within them. The index method is to give the item number, then the page number.

Arrangement: Alphabetical

  • [4/8549] - 21 May 1946-17 November 1953
  • [4/8550] - 15 December 1953-c.16 February 1965
  • [4/8551] - 25 May 1965-29 April 1969

NRS 17322: Local Committee, New Angledool. Minutes of meetings, 15 April 1911-2 October 1918
[5/18423.4], Reel 1634

Closed to Public Access (CPA) 100 Years under AD 440

The Aborigines Protection Act 1909 (No. 25) provided for the appointment of Local Committees (previously Local Boards), who worked in conjunction with the Aborigines Protection Board. These committees were also known as Aboriginal Protection Committees and Local Aborigines Committees.

This volume contains the minutes of the monthly meetings. It also contains a letter from the Board approving appointment of a member to the Local Committee dated 12 August 1918. At the back of the volume is a postage stamp account for 1 December 1914-21 August 1915.

NRS 6: Circular book, 1952-56, 1957
[4/8552], Reel 1633

Closed to Public Access (CPA) 100 Years under AD 249

Arrangement: Numerical and chronological

Index: Roughly alphabetical in front of volume

Inclusive numbers: 574-924, 982

Inclusive dates: 12 November 1952-2 October 1956, 3 October 1957

This volume is comprised of copies of circulars sent by the Board to Area Welfare Officers, Managers of Stations, Supervisors of Reserves, and Officers-in-charge of Police Stations. The subjects of the circulars relate to: policy matters (eg. Disciplinary Action on Stations and Reserves; Assimilation of Aborigines into the General Community-Clarification of Policy; and Duties and Responsibilities of Area Welfare Officers); general welfare matters (eg. Payment of Unemployment and Sickness Benefits to Aborigines); lists of names of people granted certificates of exemption from the provisions of the Aborigines Protection Act and Regulations; requests for information from the stations and reserves (eg. Contract Schedules; dairy livestock; information for the Board's Annual Report). The circulars give the circular number (a single running number), the file number (eg. C8945), date, to whom sent, subject and the signature of the Superintendent. It is indexed in rough alphabetical order at the front of the volume, and the index gives the circular number, the page number of the volume, and the file number.

NRS 11: Applications for certificates of exemption, c.1948-59
[8/3089-3098], Reel 1631-1632

Closed to Public Access (CPA) 100 Years under AD 245

Certificates of exemption were applied for under the provisions of the Aborigines Protection Act and Regulations 1909-43, section 18C (Regulation 56). A certificate of exemption was granted to each applicant who in the opinion of the Aborigines Welfare Board ought to no longer be subject to the provisions of the Aborigines Protection Act and Regulations. Upon being issued with a certificate, a recipient was no longer eligible to receive any benefit, assistance or relief from the Board, and had to undertake to provide a proper home for himself/herself and his/her family. See also Correspondence files, 1949-69.

NRS 17194: Certificates of exemption, 1949-54
[8/3275.1], Reel 1632

Closed to Public Access (CPA) 100 Years under AD 246

A certificate of exemption was granted to each applicant who in the opinion of the Aborigines Welfare Board ought to no longer be subject to the provisions of the Aborigines Protection Act and Regulations. A recipient was no longer eligible to receive any benefit, assistance or relief from the Board, and had to undertake to provide a proper home for himself/herself and his/her family.

These appear to be a duplicate set held by the Board.

Certificate of exemption, no date

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 224

This is a blank certificate.

NRS 17215: Record cards of Aboriginal children, 1953-66
[8/3275.3], Reel 1633

Closed to Public Access (CPA) 100 Years under AD 247

This series is incomplete; there are cards for only six people. This series consists of two separate types of cards. The first, the Aboriginal child record card, details: surname; Christian names (editorial note: this is the language as it is used in the record); if Board assumed control - date and reason; admitted to homes; discharged; education and training; health; conduct and character; training and progress; and if apprenticed date of first appointment. The reverse of these cards details: date and movement (eg. to homes); date and inspection; observations; and general remarks. The second type of card, the Aborigines record card, details: surname; Christian names (editorial note: this is the language as it is used in the record); caste (editorial note: this is the language as it is used in the record); colour shade (editorial note: this is the language as it is used in the record); sex; date of birth; religion; father's surname and Christian names (editorial note: this is the language as it is used in the record); mother's maiden surname and Christian names (editorial note: this is the language as it is used in the record); details of marriage - date, to whom, place (often siblings are listed here); details of children - name, date of birth, place where born; details of death, date, place of burial. Family endowment, character and general habits are also recorded. The reverse of these cards details: general information - occupation and movements and details of employment (this often lists in whose care children have been placed). These cards appear to be the Board's set as some are marked as having copies sent to Kinchela or Cootamundra. There are both cards for most people covered by the series, but not all.

NRS 26: Ward registers, 1916-28
[4/8553-8554], Reel 2793

Closed to Public Access (CPA) 100 Years under AD 242

Arrangement: Chronological and numerical

  • [4/8553] - 18 January 1916-2 June 1923 - Nos. 1-500
  • [4/8554] - 28 June 1924-7 December 1928 - Nos. 501-800

The Board could assume full control and custody of the child of any Aboriginal person if after due inquiry the Board was satisfied that it was in the interest of the moral or physical welfare of the child. These volumes contain the forms filled in when a child was made a ward of the State. They give: the consecutive number of the form; date; name; date and place of birth; religion; reason for assuming control of the child; father's name; occupation and address; mother's name and address; particulars of other relatives including brothers and sisters; other situations; further particulars (where living during childhood and in whose care); to which Home sent; certificate of admission; disposal (editorial note: this is the language as it is used in the record); and signature and office (although the forms are usually unsigned, some are signed by either police or managers of stations or reserves). There are usually some later annotations giving further details. Occasionally correspondence is attached to the form.

NRS 28: Histories of girls and boys unattached and for whom forms have not been prepared, c.1930-38
[4/8557], Reel 1633

Closed to Public Access (CPA) 100 Years under AD 254

Arrangement: Alphabetical

This volume is an alphabetical register of Aboriginal children who were not wards and therefore were not included in the Ward registers (See Ward registers, 1916-28). The children listed here lived independently of the Board or were placed in institutions such as mental hospitals. Most of the entries are for marriages, and list the names of the partners and the date of marriage. More detail is given if the person was committed to an institution.

NRS 16993: Aboriginal Boys' Training Home, Kinchela. Case papers, 1944-67
[8/3273-3274], Reels 1605-1607

Closed to Public Access (CPA) 100 Years under AD 253

Arrangement: by surname

[8/3273] A-R

[8/3274] R-Z

This series is incomplete. Each of these files relates to a child who resided at the Home. The children ranged in age from approximately 7 to 17 years.>

The files vary in size and content. Many contain correspondence from the Superintendent of Aborigines Welfare dealing with matters such as work placements, requests for holiday leave, the health of wards who had been ill and letters giving praise or criticism about school reports. Some files also contain letters from parents, relatives and former guardians. As well, many of the files contain: Medical Cards which list medical history and treatment; Aborigines Record Cards that provide details of family history; and Aboriginal Child Record Cards that list date and reason admitted to homes, level of education and training, health, conduct and character. Most of the files also hold Progress Reports that were compiled by the home manager at the end of each school term. The file numbers place these records among the Aborigines Welfare Board: Correspondence files, 1949-69 (See Correspondence, 1949-69). They were, however, in alphabetical order by surname when located.

NRS 17323: Returns of Aboriginal people, 1886-87
[5/18423.2], Reel 1649

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 441

These papers were located in the Board's Tabulated expenditure at Aboriginal stations, 1887-88 [7/3641] (See Tabulated expenditure at Aboriginal Stations, 1887-88) and were removed prior to microfilming. They consist of an undated listing of the numbers of Aboriginal people in each district of New South Wales, town by town (noting whether male, female, or children, Aborigine or half caste (editorial note: this is the language as it is used in the record), and the number at school); a Government Stores Department Minute paper (No. 87/3147 of 17 June 1887) which encloses several returns of Aborigines in the Grafton sub-district 1886-87; and a letter from the Police Officer, Grafton, dated 16 February 1887, enclosing a list of names of Aboriginal people recommended for clothing.

NRS 24: Station reports and returns, 1942-48
[4/10743-10749.2], Reels 1635-1640

Closed to Public Access (CPA) 100 Years under AD 243

Arrangement: Alphabetically by station name, then chronologically

These records consist of managers' monthly reports, monthly returns, daily diaries, work sheets and pumping plant returns. The returns provide information on day-to-day life on stations, including work schedules, population numbers, marriages, accommodation, visitors, land cultivation and the conduct of residents.

NRS 8: Special bundles, 1920-57
[9/2406.1-2406.6], Reel 1648

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 223. Exception to the OPA Direction is A43/1747 [9/2406.3] which is Closed to Public Access (CPA)

  • [9/2406.1] 1920-41 - A41/599 Brewarrina Station. Applications by various individuals to lease portions of the station for grazing purposes
  • [9/2406.2] 1940-45 - A51/1079 Appointment of members of the Aborigines Welfare Board
  • [9/2406.3] 1942-44 - A43/1747 File relating to a female Aboriginal ward CPA
  • [9/2406.4] 1948 - A48/652 Consolidation of Kinchela Lower and Kinchela Aboriginal Schools
  • [9/2406.5] 1938-52 - A48/128 Tabulam Aborigines Reserve
  • [9/2406.6] 1952-57 - A55/963 Management of Tabulam Aboriginal Reserve
  • [9/2406.6] 1955-57 - A55/761 Management of Murrin Bridge Aboriginal Reserve

The special bundles are comprised of seven registered files with an 'A' prefix, which possibly may be from the Chief Secretary's correspondence. They deal with specific matters such as the management of reserves, appointments to the Board, and wards.

NRS 5: Copies of letters sent, 26 March 1914-1 December 1927
[4/7128], Reel 1853

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 227

Arrangement: Numerical and chronological

Inclusive numbers: 3-1309

This volume comprises circulars sent by the Aborigines Protection Board relating to its established functions, and is arranged numerically and chronologically. The circulars contain details of action taken by the Board in response to business arising from the minutes and official correspondence, such as regulations laid down by the Colonial Secretary, or the Public Service Board. The circulars are often accompanied by sample forms, such as tenders for supply or census return sheets, which were sent out to be filled in and returned. The circulars were mainly sent to managers and teachers on the reserves, local police, and local committees. There are also copies of circulars received from other Departments for internal circulation by the Board. These were then regarded as Board circulars.

NRS 7: Registers of letters received, 1910-13

Arrangement: Chronological and numerical

Indexes: At front of volumes

  • [7/3644] - 1 September 1910-25 September 1911 10/987-11/1166
  • [7/3645] - 10 October 1912-4 July 1913 12/1304-13/956

These registers record brief details of letters received by the Aborigines Protection Board. They use an annual running number system. Letters were registered in order of receipt, except for later correspondence relating to subject matters already registered which were filed with the previous papers. The registers record who sent the letters, where from, subject, action taken by the Board, and any further correspondence arising from this action. The original registration is recorded in red ink and the further action in black ink. The correspondence was from managers and superintendents of the stations and reserves, local police, and other government departments (eg. Supply, Treasury, Public Instruction, Chief Secretary, and Auditor-General). Volume 7/3645 carries references to cards, which appear to trace the case history of action taken by the Board on matters of significance; these cards do not appear to have survived. Each volume has a subject and person index at the front, which treats each letter separately, with a brief description. The letters themselves do not appear to have survived.

NRS 10: File movement registers, 1948, 1953-58, 1968

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 225

Arrangement: Numerical

  • [4/8562] - 1948 - Nos. A48/1-3152
  • [4/8563] - 1968 - Nos. C68/1-1279
  • [4/8564] - 1953-1958 - Nos. C6001-12000

These registers record the movement of correspondence through the filing system. They give date, current number, numbers of former papers, reference to card (which may indicate the existence at some time of a card index to the correspondence), and 'locations'. 'Locations' indicates whether the file has been filed, or given a new registration number, or sent to another branch or Department. Volume [4/8564] is in very poor condition and consequently many of the entries are incomplete. The registers also contain some annotations made after the transfer to the Aboriginal Services Directorate of the Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare (later Youth and Community Services) (post-1969). These indicate the new file number, which began with a 'D' prefix. (See also Aboriginal Services Branch. Correspondence ('D') files, 1969-81).

NRS 4: Printed copies of Acts and Regulations relating to the protection of Aborigines, 1915-18
[4/8579A, 4/8579B]

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 232

These comprise the Aborigines Protection Act 1909 (No. 25), as amended by the Aborigines Protection Amending Act 1915 (No. 2) and the Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act 1918 (No. 7); the Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act 1918 (No. 7); and the Regulations under the Aborigines Protection Act 1909, as published in the New South Wales Government Gazette No. 97 of 2 June 1915. Volume [4/8579B] is a duplicate copy of volume [4/8579A].

NRS 12: Common Seal of the Aborigines Welfare Board, no date

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 229
This embossing seal was the official Seal of the Board and was affixed to all official documents.

NRS 13: Tabulated expenditure at Aboriginal stations, 1887-90
[7/3640-3641], Reel 2847

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 220

Arrangement: Alphabetical by name of station, then chronological

Indexes: At front of volumes

  • [7/3640] - 1889-1890
  • [7/3641] - 1887-1888

These volumes show the expenditure of the Board on the upkeep of its stations, and also act as a form of census of the Aboriginal people on the stations. They are arranged alphabetically by name of station, then chronologically, and are divided into two tables, A and B. Table A gives: the monthly total of Aboriginal people in the district, with divisions according to age and sex, and whether full-blood or half-caste (editorial note: this is the language as it is used in the record); the number of Aboriginal people receiving rations, clothing, etc.; and the total amount of money spent. Table B shows: date; special disbursements (particulars and amount); total amount disbursed; and remarks.

Each volume has an index at the front. Volume 7/3641 also contains some loose correspondence; the index for 1888; an undated listing of the numbers of Aboriginal people in each district of New South Wales, town by town, noting whether male, female, or children, Aborigine or half-caste (editorial note: this is the language as it is used in the record), and the number at school; a Government Stores Department Minute Paper (No. 87/4147 of 17 June 1887), which encloses several Returns of Aborigines in the Grafton sub-district 1886-87; and a letter from the Police Officer, Grafton dated 16 February 1887, enclosing a list of names of Aboriginals recommended for clothing.

NRS 14: Ledger, 1891-97
[2/8351], Reel 2847

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 236

Arrangement: Chronological

Index: At front of volume

This volume is a record of the financial workings of the Board, both at Head Office and in relation to the Mission Stations. These Stations were administered by the Aborigines Protection Association, a private body until 1893, when responsibility for their administration was taken over by the Board. There are two main parts to this ledger. The first gives various financial details under different headings. They include: Subscriptions promised; Donations in kind; Government Grants; Donations; Salaries; Rents; Incidentals; Printing; Trust Account. There are then similar headings for each of the Mission Stations (Cumeroogunja, Warangesda, and Brewarrina). There is also a page for Donations for La Perouse. The second part gives details of the Cash Accounts of the Association, detailing income and expenditure under the headings: General; Cumeroogunja; Warangesda; Brewarrina. At the end of the volume are details of trust accounts for individual Aboriginals; and at the very end, a list of people for whom Collecting Cards were issued.

NRS 17141: Ledgers (Trust Account), c.1897-1922
[4/8558-8559], Reel 1612

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 237

Arrangement: Alphabetical by name of person

Indexes: In front of volumes

  • [4/8558] - c.1897-1921
  • [4/8559] - 1921-22

NRS 16: Registers of expenditure of the Board, 1898-1905, 1922-24
[7/3642-3643], Reel 1851

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 239

Arrangement: Chronological in each section

  • [7/3642] - 1898-1905
  • [7/3643] - 1922-24

These two volumes illustrate the financial activities of the Aborigines Protection Board both before and after the Aborigines Protection Act 1909. Volume [7/3642] (1898-1905) gives date, name of claimant, place, supply, amount, how paid, date of payment, abstract number, and remarks for entries in particular subject areas. There are five subject areas for the period to 1900: Salary (of the Board's Secretary); Home for Aborigines on the Clarence River; Produce Account (seed, wheat, supply of sports gear, etc.), Maintenance of the Mission Stations (Cumeroogunja, Warrangesda, and Brewarrina); Maintenance of Old and Infirm Aborigines (a misleading division as most entries are extraordinary, such as supply of cricket material, repairs to ploughs, dinghies, etc.). By 1900 a division for expenditure on Aborigines on the Richmond River area was added, as was a division for Postage Stamps in 1903. In 1905 a section on Rail Fares for Aborigines was added.

In Volume [7/3643] (1922-24) there are, as well as those divisions enumerated above, the following: a Floating advance section concerned with the Mission Stations; Internal Board expenditure (travel expenses, wages etc); payments to Government departments. There are additional sections, in no specific order, for local suppliers. There is also a section for expenditure by individuals (eg. managers of stations) for coffins, toys, fireworks, dental work etc.

NRS 17: Cash books, 1911-14, 1920-23, 1925-34
[3/5896-5901], Reels 1854-1855

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 235

Arrangement: Chronological

  • [3/5896] - 1 January 1911-29 September 1914 (Reel 1854)
  • [3/5897] - 1 July 1920-29 September 1923 (Reel 1854)
  • [3/5898] - 1 April 1925-23 April 1929 (Reel 1854)
  • [3/5899] - 23 April 1929-28 February 1934 (Reel 1855)
  • [3/5900] - 17 March 1933-30 April 1934 (Reel 1855)
  • [3/5901] - 1 March 1934-30 April 1934 (Reel 1855)

These record the income and expenditure of the Head Office of the Aborigines Protection Board. Each double-page is divided into two parts: the left hand being the Debit side, and the right-hand being the Credit side. The Debit side gives the following information: date, nature of payment (ie. cheque or bank draft), from whom payment was made, reason for payment, which account the money went into (general account, produce account, trust account, and later public moneys account), and banking total. The Credit side gives date, number of cheque, (and later) number of receipt issued, to whom payment was made, reason for payment, type of account, and banking total. The two columns are balanced each financial year.

From 1925 the Debit column is labelled the `Cash' column, and the Credit `Contra'. The same categories apply from this date, but with slightly different wording: the Debit column being specifically for the receipt of money, and the Credit for disbursement. 3/5900 seem to be an audit volume: it has, clipped to its pages, typed sheets of schedules of cheques and vouchers drawn in support of, or against, advances of money. These give the date, name of person or company to whom the cheque or voucher is made out, number of cheque or voucher, and amount.

NRS 18: Records of expenditure, 1912-22
[3/5893-5895], Reel 1852

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 238

Arrangement: - Alphabetical and chronological

Index: [3/5893] has an index at the back

  • [3/5893] 1912-16
  • [3/5894] 1917-19
  • [3/5895] 1920-22

These volumes record all expenditure made by the Aborigines Protection Board, both at the Head Office in Sydney, and at the stations and reserves. They give consecutive number, name of station or camp, date of service, service (eg. salaries, payment to stores for rations, meat etc.), amount, how paid, date of payment, and abstract number. Arrangement is alphabetical by name of person, company or station or reserve, and then chronological.

NRS 19: Salary register, 1917-23

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 240

Arrangement: Chronological

This record may contain personal information and is therefore restricted. Permission to access this record must first be obtained from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. After permission has been obtained, please contact the Archives Authority for the current location (City or Kingswood) of this record.

This register records the details of the salaries of Aborigines Protection Board staff at the Head Office, and of the managers, matrons and other staff of the various stations and reserves. It gives position, name, annual salary and any increments, and the amounts of the monthly payments and their totals. The employees at Head Office are listed first, then the other employees at the stations and reserves, which are listed alphabetically. Further into the volume details are also given of staff contributions to the State Superannuation Fund. There is also loose correspondence regarding the salaries and wages of particular people employed by the Board at Wallaga Lake, Cootamundra and Singleton (Board In-Letter No. 19/2403 of 1 December 1919).

NRS 20: Salary registers (Trust Accounts), 1922-34

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 222

Arrangement: Alphabetical

Indexes: Miscellaneous index in volume [4/8561]

  • [4/8560] 1922-c.1932 A-Z
  • [4/8561] 1922-34 Sheet number list, A-Z, Miscellaneous (with separate index)

These volumes record payments into and out of employers' accounts and employees' trust accounts. They record the employment history of Aboriginal people working for people other than the Board. They are arranged alphabetically by the name of the employee, and each sheet is divided into four sections. The first gives sheet number, and name of employee. The second gives name and address of employer, dates the employee commenced and finished employment, and the reason. There is enough space for the names of five employers. The third section is headed 'Employer's account with A.P. Board' and gives period, rate for week, amount due, amount paid, and receipt number. The fourth section is headed `Employee's Trust Account' and gives in the Debit column, date of payment, amount, and C.B. folio; the Credit column gives date received, amount, and receipt number. Volume 4/8561 includes payments to the Board for advances of money, rental of cottages and leases of reserves.

Volume [4/8561] includes a list in sheet number order with the names of all employees given in both volumes. However the sheets have been filed alphabetically. There is a separate index to the Miscellaneous section which is not in alphabetical order.

NRS 21: Appropriation ledger, 1 July 1929-30 April 1933

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 234

Arrangement: Chronological

This volume appears to be a breakdown of the expenditure of the Aborigines Protection Board into individual components, under various headings. Each heading has an amount written underneath it. The headings are: date; abstract number; Treasury debit; Treasury credit; Salaries; Allowances; Workers' Compensation Act Premiums; Provision of Board for Staff; Rent; Travel and Removal Expenses; Maintenance of Motor Vehicles; Postage and Telegraph; Maintenance of old and infirm Aborigines; Maintenance of Aborigine Stations; Erections, improvements, and additions to buildings; Fares of Aborigines and escorts (editorial note: this is the language as it is used in the record); Cost of providing escorts; Maintenance of Homes; Plant, machinery and repairs; Wages of casual farm hands; Fodder and farriery; Purchase of live stock; Sale store goods; Minor expenses; Provision of water supply at Burra Bee Dee. There are some other illegible headings. Pasted at the front of the volume is a Treasury circular dated December 1930 with instructions regarding exchange on remittances.

NRS 22: Receipt books (Walgett), 1967-69

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 221

Arrangement: Chronological

  • Nos. 30001-30200 25 May 1967-13 January 1968
  • Nos. 31801-32000 10 August 1967-10 April 1969
  • Nos. 37201-37400 13 January 1968-19 September 1968
  • Nos. 39801-40000 19 September 1968-12 February 1969

These four volumes comprise the triplicate copies of receipts issued at Walgett, mainly for the payment of rents on cottages, but also for miscellaneous items. They give the date, name of the tenant, and the address of the cottage (or the miscellaneous item).

Receipts, c.1967 [8/3275.4]

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 226

These receipts detail location, date, from whom money received, amount, what money was for, cottage number if money for rent and signature of officer entering details.

NRS 23: Register of Aboriginal reserves, 1875-1904
[2/8349], Reel 2847

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 233

Arrangement: Chronological and numerical

Index: At front of volume

This register records Aboriginal reserves, using a double-page layout. The left-hand side shows a hand-drawn map of the locality, and records the number of the reserve, date of notification, scale of the map, parish, county, and locality. The Report on the right-hand side gives a geographical description of the reserve, and records the following details: area of the reserve in acres; whether the area is grassed, cultivated, or cleared, and whether good for hunting and fishing; whether occupied, and if so, by whom.

These preliminary descriptions are followed by further reports entered at later dates, which describe any improvements or problems. Many reports include clippings from the New South Wales Government Gazette, showing notification dates and, where applicable, revocation dates. Not all entries for reserves have maps, and many have only Gazette clippings. These reserves were gazetted by the Department of Lands, and were governed by the Crown Lands Act 1884 which enacted that specific areas were not to be sold until the proportion decided upon for Aboriginal use was utilised.

A useful book for information on reserves is: Aboriginal Reserves in N.S.W., A Land Rights Research Aid: A Listing from Archival Material of Former Aboriginal Reserves together with Information required to access them. Prepared by A. McGuiggan. (New South Wales Ministry for Aboriginal Affairs: Occasional paper; No. 4), The Ministry, Sydney, c.1983. This volume includes reference to folio numbers in [2/8349] and [4/10590-10591].

See also The records of the Aboriginal Services Branch, Department of Youth and Community Services (See Registers of Aboriginal Reserves, 21 February 1912-25 October 1973) for a continuation of this series.

NRS 25: Particulars of Aboriginal stations and reserves, 1962-63

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 231

Arrangement: Alphabetical by reserve

This volume gives the following particulars of Aboriginal stations and reserves: area; distance from and names of the nearest town, doctor, hospital, and schools (primary and high); population - 'full bloods, half castes, and lesser castes' (editorial note: this is the language as it is used in the record); buildings (staff residences, administrative buildings and Aborigines cottages) with details of their number, approximate date when built, number in good condition or otherwise, and number with gardens; whether rent is charged for cottages or not, and if so, the amount; electricity and water supply, and sanitation facilities of the different types of buildings; fencing and roads; whether the reserve is cultivated or not and whether there is any livestock; social activity (Social Club; Parents and Citizens; Progress Association; Aboriginal Church; other); and the number of people attending the various kinds of schools.

The stations or reserves covered are Armidale, Ashford, Balranald, Baryulgil, Bellbrook, Boggabilla, Brewarrina, Brungle, Burnt Bridge, Burra Bee Dee, Cabbage Tree Island, Caroona, Coffs Harbour, Collarenebri, Condobolin, Coonabarabran, Coraki, Cowra, Cumeroogunga, Deniliquin, Foster, Griffith, Gulargambone, Guyra, Jervis Bay (Wreck Bay), Karuah, La Perouse, Moree, Mungindi, Murrin Bridge, Nambucca Heads, Nanima, Peak Hill, Quambone, Roseby Park, Tabulam, Talbragan, Taree, Tinghor, Uralla, Walcha (Summervale), Walgett (reserve), Walgett (station), Wallaga Lake, Wilcannia, and Woodenbong.

NRS 29: Tenancy agreements, 1953-67
[4/8565.3], Reel 1634

Closed to Public Access (CPA) 100 Years under AD 244

Arrangement: By reserve

These comprise copies of agreements made between the Aborigines Welfare Board and Aboriginal people for tenancies of houses belonging to the Board on or near Aboriginal reserves. They give the name and address of the tenant, the date of the agreement, the date of the beginning of the rental period, the date of the signing and sealing of the document, the rental and the amount of the deposit. There are two schedules, of which the first gives the address of the premises (usually the number of the cottage on the reserve), and the second gives an inventory of the fittings and fixtures. The agreement is signed by two members of the Board, the tenant, and the supervisor of the reserve; and it is sealed with the Common Seal of the Aborigines Welfare Board. The agreements relate to Bellbrook (15 June 1963), Greenhills, Kempsey (3 June 1958-4 October 1965), Wallaga Lake (15 December 1953-22 June 1966), Wellington (5 June 1963-31 March 1967) and Yass (21 March 1955-1 December 1965).

NRS 30: Photographs, c.1924-61
[4/8566-8578], Reels 2976-2977 (for viewing); Aperture Cards 8186-9224 (for reproduction prints); COD 423 (for viewing contact prints)

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 241

  • [4/8566] 2796 8186-8377 Female State Wards [¹]
  • [4/8567] 2796 8378-8493 c.1924-33
  • [4/8568] 2796 8494-8553 c.1924-33
  • [4/8569] 2796 8554-8619 Unsorted
  • [4/8570] 2796 8620-8716
  • [4/8571] 2796 8717-8804
  • [4/8572] 2796 8805-8910
  • [4/8573] 2796 8911-8950
  • [4/8574] 2797 8951-9072
  • [4/8575] 2797 9073-9122
  • [4/8576] 2797 9123-9143
  • [4/8577] 2797 9144-9175
  • [4/8578] 2797 9176-9224 Stations and reserves, c.1934 [²]

These comprise a mixture of official and personal photographs. The photographs of an official nature show reserves, stations, homes and schools with interior and exterior views of accommodation and housing projects; pupils and teachers; station managers; and matrons. They also record the visits of Government officials.

The photographs of people range from formal studio portraits (mainly female wards in the 1920s) to snapshots in the 1950s and 1960s. They show Aboriginal children and adults participating in many activities, such as football, basketball, cricket, swimming, gardening; attending school, christenings, first communions, weddings, birthday and Christmas parties; on excursions; gatherings of families and friends; and visiting Luna Park. The female wards were often photographed in their domestic service uniforms, sometimes with their employers or employers' children; some are photographed in studio portraits.

The photographs were taken all over New South Wales at many reserves and stations, such as Purfleet (Taree), Walgett, Caroona (Quirindi), Condobolin, Burra Bee Dee, Namina (Wellington), Tingha, Boggabilla, Bomaderry Children's Home, Bimbadeen Girls Home at Cootamundra and Kinchela Boys Training Home. A small number of photographs taken in Queensland are also included. Many of the photographs are undated and unidentified.

Please note that the original photographs are restricted for conservation reasons. Viewing positive microfilm copies of the photographs are on Reels 2796-2797; negatives for reproduction at Aperture Card numbers 8186-9224; and 35 mm viewing contact prints at COD 423. A partial listing of the photographs is available in the reading room.

1 (Bimbadeen Girls Home at Cootamundra)

2 Purfleet (Taree), Walgett, Caroona (Quirindi), Condobolin, Burra Bee Dee, Brungle, Nanima (Wellington), Kinchela Boys' Training Home, Boggabilla

Part Two - Agencies relating to Aboriginal People

The following is a list of selected records which contain significant mention of Aboriginal people. The list is not exhaustive. It is therefore recommended that researchers examine the archives of each government department or agency in our collection which may be relevant to their enquiry. For example, the records of the Department of Corrective Services or Department of Health may contain valuable information about Aboriginal persons in the custody or care of those agencies notably in the records of prisons and psychiatric institutions. References to Aboriginal people are likely to be found throughout the records of various government agencies in our collection and may be located by means of the guides, finding aids and indexes available in the reading room.

Each government agency has its own restrictions on access to its records. Where each record series is restricted this has been noted. Please contact us for current details of people to contact for permission to view restricted records.

Aboriginal Lands Trust

The Aboriginal Lands Trust was established for the purpose of vesting in the Aboriginal people the title to lands classified as Aboriginal Reserves in New South Wales. The Lands Trust was incorporated by the Aborigines (Amendment) Act 1973 (No. 35), which provided that members of the Trust would be members of the Aboriginal Advisory Council, be of Aboriginal descent and be elected for a term of three years. The Trust was abolished by the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (No. 42) and the properties of the Trust were transferred to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs pending their transfer to relevant Aboriginal Land Councils. Because of a legal dispute a property in Penshurst was not transferred but was rented to tenants, and in May 1988 a quantity of records of the former NSW Aboriginal Lands Trust was discovered in the property by a tenant.

Working papers, 1974-c.1982

These are loose papers arranged in no discernible order and include correspondence; annual reports; governmental policy papers regarding Aboriginal welfare; newsletters and other publications; press clippings and press releases; Trust officers' reports; building contracts; maps, plans and specifications relating to reserves; brochures; job applications; petitions; agendas and minutes of meetings and conferences; research papers and addresses; accounts and receipts.

Time Sheets and pay slips, 1976

These are sheets which record hours worked and tasks performed by employees of the Trust, mainly Aboriginal day labourers. Included are signed pay slips.

Aboriginal Lands Trust Members files, 1974-76

These files contain correspondence relating to matters concerning members of the Aboriginal Lands Trust, including attendance at meetings and reimbursement of costs incurred.

Employees - General File, 1975-77

This file contains papers and correspondence relating to the employment of 'handymen' on reserves and includes descriptions of duties, sickness benefits and leave entitlements.

Trust officers' reports, 1975-c.1978

These reports provide information about conditions on Land Trust reserves. They were compiled by regional officers of the Aboriginal Lands Trust after each inspection.

Record of rent payments received, 1978-80, 1982-83

These cards and loose sheets are a record of payments received for properties on reserves held by the Trust. They record the name and address of the tenant, reserve, date and amount of rent due, and amount received.

Correspondence with Trust officers, 1975-77

These papers consist of copies of correspondence received by Trust officers and most concern remuneration for work related expenses. There is a file for each Trust officer.

Aborigines Protectorate, Port Phillip

George Augustus Robinson (1788-1866) was appointed to the position of Chief Protector of Aborigines at Port Phillip (administered by the Colonial Secretary) in 1838. He had had extensive though unsuccessful experience with the Aboriginal people in Van Diemen's Land, including a settlement at Flinders Island. He spent nearly 11 years at Port Phillip until the Protectorate was abolished on 31 December 1849.

NRS 1: Semi-official papers of Mr. G.A. Robinson, Chief Protector of Aborigines, 1822-59

[4/21.1-4/21.8; SR Document No. 64] [4/21.7] has been copied as COD 272
These papers comprise printed returns, testimonials, Acts and Regulations, various missionary publications, and Aboriginal language vocabularies and grammars, relating to New South Wales, Van Diemen's Land, Victoria and South Australia.

Auditor General

Statements of expenditure, 1824-25

This volume contains various papers relating to expenditure. It includes records of individual payments made on behalf of government bodies, including the Native Institution.

Reports of Inspectors of Public Accounts, 1907-30

These records are concerned with the auditing of accounts. The majority of the files cover all New South Wales government agencies located in a particular town. The following list is extracted from the full list of files (See Archives Office of New South Wales Information Leaflet No. 23. Auditor General Reports of Inspectors of Public Accounts 1907-1930).

Item Year No. Subject

[10/10357] 1918 814 Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Station

[10/10374] 1915 29 Aborigines Protection Board

[10/10375] 1913 119 Warangesda Aboriginal Station

[10/10385] 1920 1257 Aborigines Protection Board

[10/10393] 1921 693 Aborigines Protection Board

[10/10398] 1921 55 Warangesda Aboriginal Station

[10/10398] 1923 195 Aborigines Protection Board

[10/10400] 1924 259 Aborigines Protection Board

[10/10406] 1913 154 Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Station

[10/10413] 1926 678 Aborigines Protection Board

[10/10416] 1928 117 Aborigines Protection Board

[10/10423] 1912 976 Aborigines Protection Board

[10/10423] 1919503 Aborigines Protection Board

[10/10427] 1918 983 Aboriginal Station Roseby Park

[10/10428] 1922 25 Terry Hie Hie Aboriginal Station

[10/10429] 1925 115 Aborigines Protection Board

[10/10430] 1927 213 Aboriginal Station, Carowra Tank

[10/10431] 1927 1 Aborigines Protection Board

[10/10431] 1928 21 Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Station

[10/10432] 1913 37 Aborigines Protection Board

Clergy and School Lands Corporation

The Corporation was established in 1826 and finally dissolved in 1833. It was to receive a seventh in value and extent of all the lands in each county in New South Wales. Out of this land the Corporation was to be responsible for the payment of salaries of clergy, catechists and schoolmasters, and for the building and maintenance of churches, schools, and ministers' residences. The Native Institution was a school for Aboriginal children at Blacktown and was administered by the Corporation. It was a successor to the Native Institution, Parramatta which was established in 1814 and closed in 1822.

Letters received from the Master of the Native Institution, 1826-29

[4/345 part]
This volume contains correspondence from William Hall, Master of the Native Institution, to the Committee of the Corporation Office, Sydney. The correspondence concerns the children of the Institution (ie. education, runaways, a death); items required for the Institution; a list of articles belonging to the Institution; and problems with the cattle on the property. There is also correspondence regarding New Zealand natives on the property.

Returns of stores received and Issued at the Native Institution, 1826-29

[4/345 part]
Returns, submitted to the Corporation at intervals of several months, showing quantities of feed (for animals), clothing, blankets, soap, domestic utensils and various implements received at the Native Institution and supplied to the inmates. Weekly amounts and quarterly totals are shown. Each return is signed by William Hall, the Master of the Institution.

Inventory of documents and accounts relative to the Male Orphan School, the Female Orphan School, the Public Schools, and the Aboriginal Native Institution, 1826-27

This is an inventory of documents and accounts relating to the Male and Female Orphan Schools, the Public Schools and the Aboriginal Native Institution prepared for the Colonial Secretary's Office, 1826-27. There is a letter to the Colonial Secretary from the Clerk of the Corporation, dated 7 December 1826, requesting the minute books, accounts and other documents relating to the Orphan School estates. This letter is followed by a copy of the Inventory. The Inventory lists: a) accounts, 1800-25; b) letters, 1818-25, arranged alphabetically by surname, with date and summary of contents; c) deeds, inventories, returns and other documents. This lists such items as: drafts of agreements; tenders; returns of cattle and livestock on the property; indentures of apprenticeships of orphans; and an inventory of goods. There is a listing of the Minute books. There is also a list of documents relative to the formation of the Institution. The list is in chronological order and a summary of the documents is given.

Clerk of the Peace

later Solicitor for Public Prosecutions

later Director of Public Prosecutions

Depositions of the trial of Charles Kilmeister and others (Myall Creek Massacre), 1838

[4/9090] Reel 1857, COD 392
This volume of depositions relates to those tried for the massacre of Aboriginal people at Henry Dangar's Myall Creek Station, Patricks Plains, in April 1838. The trial took place between September and November 1838 in the Supreme Court. The volume includes the depositions of witnesses to the Massacre, including that of William Hobbs. It includes lists of those tried giving details of their arrival in the Colony (most as convicts) and any previous crimes committed and punishments received. Included are affidavits and correspondence from the Assistant Protector of Aborigines, the Colonial Secretary, the Principal Superintendent of Convicts and others.

Papers and depositions, Supreme Court Sydney and on Circuit relating to the trial of Jimmy Governor, 1900

This volume of papers and depositions relates to the trial of Jimmy Governor for murder in the Central Criminal Court at Darlinghurst in November 1900. The papers include: reports of the inquests on the bodies of Kiernan Fitzpatrick (died 26 July 1900) and Joe Governor (died 31 October 1900); police reports; informations and depositions of witnesses; a photograph of the deceased Joe Governor; the New South Wales Government Gazette, Friday 5 October 1900 (p.7832), which summoned Jimmy and Joe Governor to surrender (2 copies); the proclamation declaring them outlaws printed in the Supplement to the New South Wales Government Gazette, Tuesday 23 October 1900 (2 copies); information re the case Regina v. Jacky Porter and Ethel Governor held at Dubbo Circuit Court on 2 October 1900; a list of exhibits and the report of the Government Analyst in the case Regina v. Jacky Underwood; sketch plans of the Mawbey's dwelling at Breelong and of the Mawbey's Settlement Lease at Breelong showing the locations where the wounded and deceased were found; and a record of the statement made by Jimmy Governor at Wingham on 29 September 1900.

Colonial Secretary

later Chief Secretary

later Services

The material listed in this section originated in the offices of the Secretary to the Governor, 1788-1820, the Colonial Secretary, 1821-1900, and the Chief Secretary from 1901. The ministerial title of Colonial Secretary was changed to that of Chief Secretary on 1 April 1959 by the Ministers of the Crown Act 1959 (No. 4). Between 3 January 1975 and 23 January 1976 the department was titled the Department of Services; between 23 January 1976 and 14 May 1976, the Chief Secretary's Department; on 14 May 1976 its title reverted to Department of Services. The Department of Services was abolished in July 1982. The Chief Secretary's Department was revived in 1988 and abolished again in 1995.

The Colonial Secretary's Office looked after a wide range of matters. Besides the functions specifically assigned to the Colonial Secretary, he was responsible for all matters of internal arrangement not confided in any other Minister; as well as being responsible for the supervision and control of many other Departments (eg. Clerks of Petty Sessions, Auditor General, Inspector General of Police and Police magistrates, etc.).

Until the creation of the Aborigines Protection Board (which was also under the control of the Colonial Secretary) the Colonial Secretary's Office had overall responsibility for official relations with the Aboriginal people. It is therefore strongly recommended that persons undertaking Aboriginal family and personal history make a thorough search of the Colonial Secretary's correspondence. (An unpublished Guide to the Colonial Secretary's Correspondence, 1788-1982 is available in the reading room.)

The following is a selected list of records created by the Colonial Secretary's Office.

Letters received. 1829

This bundle of letters contains returns of Aboriginal people in various districts sent to the Colonial Secretary by Benches of Magistrates. This was in response to a circular sent to the Magistrates by the Colonial Secretary on 31 March 1827 requesting details of Aboriginal people for the 1828 Census of New South Wales. The returns comprise either a statistical return or names of Aboriginal people in each area.

Letters received. 1835 - Aborigines, 1833-35
[4/2219.1], Reel 3706

Letters received. 1836 - Aborigines


Letters received. 1839 - Aborigines


Letters received. 1840 - Aborigines

[4/2479.1] Reel 1927

Letters received. 1849 - Aborigines

[4/2831.1, 4/1141.2]
After this date, there are no more annual bundles of letters relating to Aboriginal people. Invasion to Embassy Land in Aboriginal Politics in New South Wales, 1770-1972 by Heather Goodall has a list of those bundles found most useful in this later period.

Copies of Letters to Magistrates, Police etc, 1826-56

[4/3825-3859], Reels 2807-2818
From 1827 to 1846 the Commandants of the Mounted Police are addressed, after which these letters are in Copies of Letters to Mounted Police, 1846-50. From 1845 Letters to the Commissioner of Police are included. After 1846 letters to Magistrates beyond the settled districts are in Copies of Letters to Magistrates beyond the settled districts, 1847-55. After 9 March 1855 letters to these officials are once again entered, without any distinction, in the same book as letters to magistrates within the settled districts. The letters, besides being concerned with the police function of apprehending criminals, including bushrangers, contain the instructions to magistrates for carrying out the general administrative business of Government.

Copies of Letters to Magistrates beyond the settled districts, 1847-55

[4/3860-62, 4/3858 part], Reels 2817-2819
The letters in the series are concerned with such matters as conflict with Aboriginal people; the 'protection' of Aboriginal people; appointment of clerks, constables and other officials; the court house, lock-up and other buildings; and licensing. The letters to the Commandant of the Native Police deal with supplies of arms and rations to them and various incidents with Aboriginal people. Matters before these dates are in Copies of Letters to Mounted Police, 1846-50.

Copies of Letters to Mounted Police, 1846-50

[4/3863], Reel 2819
The letters are concerned with appointments to the force, rations and arms supplied, conflict with Aboriginal people, escort of prisoners, robberies and bushrangers, and barracks and quarters. From 1827 to 1846 see Copies of Letters to Magistrates, Police etc, 1826-56.

Special bundles. Aboriginal or Native Institution, Parramatta. Letters and accounts, 1814-23

[4/7498] Reel 1933

Special bundles. London Missionary Society - re Aboriginal reserve at Lake Macquarie, 1825-45

[SZ 1000]

Special bundles. London Missionary Society - re Rev. Threlkeld's Aboriginal Mission, c.1827

This correspondence concerns the London Missionary Society's wish to retain the 10,000 acres originally allocated as an Aboriginal Reserve at Lake Macquarie. There is mention of emoluments given to the Rev. Lancelot Edward Threlkeld by the Colonial Government. There are also two copies of the Rev. Threlkeld's publication An Australian Spelling Book in the Language Spoken by the Aborigines, printed in 1836. The copies of Threlkeld's publication are located in [SZ 1000].

Special bundles. Aboriginal Outrages, 1830-31 [2/8020.4]

Special bundles. Blankets for Aborigines, 1832

[4/7092], digitised copy available

Special bundles. Aborigines - Papers, including returns of Aborigines taken at Bathurst, Windsor, Strathallan, Janevalle and Brownlowshire, 1833-35

[4/2219.1], Reel 3706

Special bundles. Aborigines - Papers dealing with issue of blankets etc. and including returns of the native population in the various districts, 1833-35

[4/6666B.3], Reel 3706, digitised copy available

Special bundles. Extracts of Proceedings of the Executive Council, including those relating to Major Mitchell's attack on the Aborigines during his expedition in 1836, 1835-38


Special bundles. Aborigines and Native Police, 1835-44


Special bundles. Aborigines - Distribution of blankets, 1838-43
[4/1133.3], Reel 3706, digitised copy available

Special bundles. Aborigines - Chief Protector's Report of expedition to the Westward, 1842


Special bundles. Journal of Assistant Protector Thomas' proceedings at Aboriginal Station, River Loddon, for quarter ended February 1845


Special bundles. Reports respecting collisions between Aborigines and the Police at Port Phillip, 1846


Special bundles. Reserves for Aborigines, 1848-49


Special bundles. Wide Bay District - letters from Commissioners of Crown Lands, the Commandant of the Native Police, and the Government Resident, Moreton Bay, 1849-57


Special bundles. Annual reports on state of the Aborigines in the various districts, 1851-53
1851 - [4/1146.4]
1852 - [4/7153]
1853 - [4/713.2]

Special bundles. Return of the distribution of Native Police on 31 December 1854


Special bundles. Returns of the Civil Establishment - Native Police, 1854-57

[4/720.1 part]

Special bundles. Native Police, Moreton Bay, 1855-58


Special bundles. Estimate of the expense of the Native Police Force, 1857


Special bundles. Reports from Rev. W. Ridley on Aboriginal language and customs, 1871-75


The Rev. William Ridley was a Presbyterian minister who devoted much of his time to studying Aboriginal languages. This bundle contains correspondence between Ridley, the Colonial Secretary and others relating to Aboriginal languages. It includes examples of the Thurawal and Mudthung (or Thurumba) languages including stories (such as 'The Spirit of the Fig Tree' and 'The Story of Bundoola') with translations into English. Also included are notes on Australian Aboriginal languages and traditions (with comparative vocabularies). A copy of the Report of the Select Committee of the [Victorian] Legislative Council on The Aborigines (printed in Melbourne, 1859) contains examples of the Aboriginal language of two Melbourne tribes.

Special bundles. Petition re death sentence passed on Aboriginals named Alfred, Alexander and Metcalf and Charles E. Wilkinson, 1879


Aborigines' Protection - Report of the Public Service Board, 16 August 1938


This volume appears to be the original typescript of the report by the Public Service Board on Aborigines' protection. The report was tabled in the Legislative Assembly by the Chief Secretary on 2 May 1940 in connection with the Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Bill.

Bills files, 1919-82

[12/4276.1] 1963 Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Bill
[12/4276.2] 1968 Aborigines Bill

These files relate to the preparation of Parliamentary Bills. They may contain copies of the bills, Ministers' speeches, press statements, background papers, registered correspondence, copies of Hansard and prepared answers for possible questions asked in Parliament.

Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825

As a Bicentennial Project, we indexed and published on microform, the surviving Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825. The Index entries provide a short summary of each document in chronological order under each heading. The summary is followed by microfilm reel or microfiche numbers, reference numbers and page numbers.
* See the records listed under "Aborigines" in the Index to the Colonial Secretary's papers, 1788-1825

Commissioners of Crown Lands

Commissioners of Crown Lands were established for the purpose of supervising Crown Lands outside the settled districts of the Colony and were first appointed under the provisions of Act 7 Will. IV No. 4 (1836). This Act provided for the issue of licences for the depasturing of sheep and cattle on unoccupied Crown land and Commissioners were appointed to police these regulations. These provisions were amplified by Acts 2 Vic. No. 19 (1838) and 2 Vic. No. 27 (1839) the latter of which established a Border Police under the control of the various Commissioners, to police the regulations. The Act also charged the Commissioners with assessing an annual levy on sheep and cattle.

Orders in Council of 1847 issued under the authority of the Imperial Act 9 & 10 Vic. c.104 (1847) provided for the issue of leases for periods up to fourteen years in place of the annual licences. In 1849 a Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands was appointed, to whom the local Commissioners were directly responsible instead of to the Colonial Secretary as was previously the case. In most cases the Commissioners of Crown Lands were the only government officials in their areas. Consequently the correspondence has many references to Aboriginal people and especially to the often violent contact between Europeans and Aboriginal people.

Albert District. Copies of letters received, 1862


Letter dated 17 August 1862 from Edward Sharp, Commissioner of Crown Lands, Albert District, to the Chief Commissioner. Accompanying the letter is a sheet of translations apparently from an Aboriginal dialect to English.

NRS 1377, Gwydir District. Copies of letters sent to the Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands, 1849-56

[2/1951, 2/7634], Reels 3123-3124

Mainly requests for information and assistance; requisitions for clothing and equipment; and reports on Aboriginal people and the goldfields.

Gwydir District. Letters received, 1850-52


These letters include: requisitions for blankets for Aborigines in the District of Gwydir dated 5 May 1852 and for blankets and tomahawks dated 1 December 1852; accounts for medical attendance on Aborigines and arrangements for the appointment of a medical attendant dated 1851 and 1852; circulars requesting annual reports on the state of the Aborigines to be furnished; Letter no. 50/673 (Circular No. 209) regarding proposed reserves of Crown lands for the use of Aborigines; and, Circular No. 349 calling for a report on the state of Aboriginal reserves.

Community Services



After the Aborigines Welfare Board was abolished in 1969, its functions and some of its records were transferred to the Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare (later Youth and Community Services), which created the Directorate of Aboriginal Welfare to deal with these matters. Correspondence files from the Board were re-registered by the Directorate with a 'D' prefix. Consequently many of the files in Aboriginal Services Branch. Correspondence ('D') files, 1969-81 date from circa 1924. In 1975 the Commonwealth Government took over many of the functions and records of the Directorate of Aboriginal Welfare, which then became the Aboriginal Services Branch. There are also individual files in Youth and Community Services correspondence relating to Aboriginal people, other than those in the files of the Branch. In 1988 the Department's name was changed to Family and Community Services, then to Community Services in 1995 and back to Family and Community Services in 2011.

Aboriginal Services Branch. Correspondence ('D') files, 1969-81

[12/2921-2922; 12/4035-4095; 12/4158-4165; 12/4453-4575.1]

These files contain correspondence relating to various subjects including Commonwealth Capital Fund loans, policy matters, interdepartmental committees, reserves, education, Aboriginal co-operative societies, health, drought relief, Aboriginal languages, racism, employment and housing. The information in these files dates from circa 1941 and are related to the Board's correspondence files (See Correspondence files, 1949-69).

Card index to Youth and Community Services - Aboriginal Services Branch correspondence, c.1969-81


Arrangement: Alphabetical
This is a card index to the surviving Correspondence 'D' files, 1969-81 in our collection at [12/2921-2922], [12/4035-4095], [12/4158-4165], [12/4453-4575.1]. The index is divided into two sequences - place name and subject. Each card records the registration number and a summary. Subject headings include: Aboriginal relics; Boomerangs, manufacture of; Complaints; Demolition of cottages; Education; Pension warranty accounts; Poverty; Training Schemes for Women; and Workshops.

Miscellaneous correspondence files, 1964-79

[7/4621-4633, 12/2909, 12/1704-1705]

These files contain information on the following matters: the Society for the Advancement of Aboriginal Children; school attendance of Aboriginal children; an Aboriginal mission settlement; services for Aboriginals provided by the Department; Far South Coast Aborigine Conference; allowances paid to foster parents of Aboriginal wards; health inspections of numerous stations and reserves; ministerial representations by the Bega Valley Aborigines Advancement Society; holiday placements; and Aboriginal Secondary Grants Scheme policy and accounting records.

Special Bundles. 'Endeavour Project' File, 1969-70

[7/8965, SR Plan No. 1715]

The 'Endeavour Project' was a project to erect 28 houses and a community centre for Aboriginal people at La Perouse.

Registers of Aboriginal reserves, 21 February 1912-25 October 1973

These registers consist of maps of reserves pasted into two volumes. They give the reserve number; date of notification (which ranges from 15 June 1875 to 17 November 1971); area in acres; county and parish; and the revocation date, where applicable (which ranges from 21 February 1912 to 5 September 1969). Extracts from the New South Wales Government Gazette relating to the notification and/or revocation, correspondence relating to the reserves and references to the Board's correspondence files ('C' files) are occasionally included. These volumes appear to be part of the same series as the Board's Register of Aboriginal Reserves, 1884-1904 (See Register of Aboriginal Reserves, 1875-1904).

Property register - Aboriginal reserves, 14 February 1947-31 March 1970


This register contains standard forms giving the property or reserve name and location, details of any dwellings erected (contractor's name, date, cost, and correspondence file ('C') number). Some forms give the tenant's name, occupation, year of birth, monthly payment or rental and period of repayment. There is an alphabetical index in the front, arranged by town name.

Property cards - Reserves, 1961-76


These cards are arranged alphabetically by the name of the town in which the Aboriginal reserve is located. In cases involving individual dwellings, there is a card for each one. The front of the cards is headed 'Rates and Charges' and records: property name; site details (address and dimensions); Aboriginal reserve number, with date of New South Wales Government Gazette notification and/or revocation; valuations received from the Valuer-General; improvements such as the date of construction of house, the capital cost of construction, kerb and guttering; lettings and disposal (eg. date, tenant's name and rental). The reverse side of the card is headed 'Payments Made' and details the amount paid in rates and for services such as water, sewerage, sanitary and garbage collections for each year. Some cards are annotated with the date a particular reserve was transferred to the Aboriginal Lands Trust in 1975.

Home loans register, 7 October 1969-26 September 1975


This volume records details of home loans granted in the same numerical sequence as that used on the advices to the Housing Commission. It shows the 'D' (Directorate) file number, the client's full name and address, the date the loan commenced, the amount of the loan and the terms.

Exhibits presented before the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, 1945-92

[10/48469-48471.1, 6/21568-21569]

In response to growing public concern the Commonwealth Government established a Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in October 1987. After hearing evidence in each State the Commission handed its final report to the Government on 30 March 1991.

This series consists of records from the then Department of Family and Community Services which were presented as exhibits before the Royal Commission. The records include family case work files, institutional files, state ward 'B' files, institutional 'B' files, personnel files of staff, institutional incident reports and staff institutional procedure manuals.

Corrective Services

formerly PRISONS

NRS 2166: Darlinghurst Gaol. Diary of officer doing duty over Jimmy Governor, 6 November 1900-12 January 1901

[6/1029], Reel 1843

Jimmy Governor was received into Darlinghurst Gaol on 23 November 1900 and was executed on 18 January 1901.

NRS 2163: Darlinghurst Gaol. Condemned prisoners daily record, 1892-1903


Arrangement: Chronological
This volume contains a daily record of condemned prisoners showing: name, religion, date placed in condemned cell and put in irons. Then follows the daily record showing date, name of day warder, names of night warders, occurrences during the day. It includes entries for a number of prisoners including Jimmy Governor and details of his daily visitors (pages 42-43). There is an index at the front of the volume.

Courts of Petty Sessions

The following series contain the names (English and/or Indigenous) of numerous Aboriginal people and also include such details as tribal designation, probable age, whether married and number of children. Occasionally family relationships and women and children's names are given.

Armidale. Register of issue of blankets to Aborigines, 1890-1904

[5/3769 (part)]

Gloucester. Record of rations issued to Aborigines, 1889-91

[3/17986 (part)]

NRS 3026: Gosford (Brisbane Water). Returns of Aboriginal blacks, 1838-41
[4/5525 part, pp. 130-131, 195, 247], Reel 895

Invermein (Scone). Letter from William Hobbs to Police Magistrate concerning the Myall Creek Massacre, 9 July 1838

[SZ 1053]

This is a letter from William Hobbs, the Overseer at Henry Dangar's Myall Creek Station, to the Police Magistrate at Invermein (Scone), dated 9 July 1838, concerning the massacre of Aboriginal people at the Myall Creek Station in June 1838.

NRS 3204: Muswellbrook. Bench book, 1838-43

[4/5601], Reel 671

Bench Books contain minutes of proceedings of the bench, noting date and place of meeting, magistrates present, details of party or parties, charge or course and summary of evidence. This bench book contains depositions taken by E.D. Day during his investigation of the Myall Creek massacre.

Crown Solicitor's Office

Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Legal files, 1987-91 [6/16941-17029]
These files consist of photocopies of correspondence, submissions and exhibits relating to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody involving New South Wales Aboriginal people.


NRS 4536, Despatches, enclosures and general correspondence from Superintendent and Commissary of North Australia, 19 October 1847-12 January 1848


The despatches are from Superintendent Barney and Commissary Darling to Governor FitzRoy. They are concerned with such matters as servants, appointments, the wreck of the Lord Auckland at Port Curtis, attacks by Aboriginal people, and include requests for building materials and other supplies, a report of exploration including a sketch of the Boyne River reports of the progress and difficulties of the settlement and finally of the arrangement for abandoning the Colony. The Governor usually noted his decision on the despatch.

NRS 4518: Despatches to the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary, 13 February 1790-6 July 1797, 4 February 1822-18 November 1825, 1 March 1827-7 October 1836, 21 December 1878-24 June 1887, 4 June 1894-30 September 1897

[4/1634-1642, 4/1645-1650, 7/1748], Reels 684, 697
These are despatches to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Under Secretary and occasionally other officials in England. The enclosures sometimes accompany the despatch or are located separately. Included are ordinary numbered despatches, 'separate' and confidential despatches. The volumes for 1790-97 (4/1634-1635) are the actual duplicate despatches bound, the remainder are letter books containing copies of the originals.

Copies of letters to officials and private individuals, 20 March 1823-16 November 1833, 25 January 1855-25 March 1890, 15 April 1904-28 June 1911

[4/1639, 4/1655-1670, 7/4122]

Copies of letters covering a variety of subjects including land grants, cultivation, convicts and assigned servants, church property, various regulations, applications for appointments and salary increases, commissariat stores, Aboriginal affairs, exploration, bushrangers, and court sentences. The earlier volumes refer also to Van Diemen's Land, the Lieutenant Governor there being one of the chief recipients. The later volumes deal with rather different matters - Norfolk Island, disturbances in New Zealand, Executive and Legislative Council, Polynesian labour trade, and guano.


Epidemiology and Health Services Evaluation Branch - Aboriginal Health Unit. Aboriginal Births Collection, 1978-90


These papers record Aboriginal births. The Collection was started in 1978 and discontinued in 1986 after the NSW Midwives' Data Collection was established, although there are records in this Collection up to 1990. Each form records mother's and baby's names; town and date of birth; sex; weight; birth length; details about the birth; health details about the mother and baby; antenatal and post natal details.

Epidemiology and Health Services Evaluation Branch - Aboriginal Health Unit. Aboriginal Mortality Collection, 1978-92


These papers record Aboriginal deaths. The Collection was started in 1978. In 1980 recording of Aboriginality on death registrations commenced but the decision to discontinue this Collection was not made until 1993. Each form records: name; identifying number; centre; date of death; place of residence; place and cause of death; date of birth; age; sex, and details about health and lifestyle.


The following files relate to persons of Aboriginal descent (ie. where an approved Certificate of Aboriginality has been sighted). The files contain the original application and assessment for housing assistance, correspondence between the Department of Housing and the tenant, miscellaneous accounts and reports of inspecting officers. Indexes to these files are held by the Department.

NRS 5222 and NRS 5223, Aboriginal applicant tenancy files (ST and T files), 1947-93

[10/41213-41289, 14/1413-1497, 14/11030-11053A, 14/14819-14828, 14/15307-15314]

These files were formerly known as Special Tenancy files (ST files), however since 1987 they have been given a T (Tenancy) prefix.

Aboriginal applicant tenancy files (TN files), 1960-92

[14/4829.1, 14/15306.2]
The TN prefix refers to the Newcastle area office.


NRS 8496: Aboriginal names and meanings, compiled c.1930

[2/8488], Reel 2243
This material consists of miscellaneous lists of Aboriginal words and their English meanings, compiled on a geographical basis. It includes words from Sydney and surrounding districts, the north and south districts of New South Wales and some words from the States of Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania. The bundle includes a map showing Aboriginal tribal areas in New South Wales. Some lists appear to be the result of research by officers of the Department of Lands, others are copies from printed books, for example, The Australian Race by E. M. Curr (1886), and newspaper articles.

Applications for land and reservation of land, 1877, 1880

[2/1138, 7/6404]

  • [2/1138] - File: 77/9843 - Name: Yarboro, Richard Bolway and Merriman
  • [7/6404] - File: 80/4240 - Name: William Benson

These records form part of the correspondence of the Miscellaneous Branch and Ministerial Branch of the Lands Department. The files relate to the reservation from sale of land for the use of Aboriginal people under the Crown Lands Alienation Act 1861. The reservations were gazetted in the New South Wales Government Gazette.

Tenure Branch. Files re grants and transfers of land to the Aboriginal Lands Trust of New South Wales, 1873-1981


These files relate to the issue of Crown grants for Aboriginal reserves to the Aboriginal Lands Trust under section 17 (a) of the Aborigines Act 1969 (No. 7); the transfer of the land to the Aboriginal Lands Trust, and proposed additional land for Aboriginals. Land districts referred to include Tumut, Nowra, Dubbo and Bellingen.

Two of the files were previously Land Board Office files. It seems likely that these files were brought together to form a special bundle relating to land of the Aboriginal Lands Trust.

NRS 8507, East Maitland Local Land Board Office. Papers re Aboriginal reserve in the vicinity of Taree, 1906-15


Mineral Resources

formerly MINES

NRS 9987: Special files. Aboriginal rock carvings around Sydney, 1896-1922



NRS 11484: Kempsey Station. Reports of crimes committed, 25 May 1899-15 June 1904

This includes details relating to Joe and Jimmy Governor.

New Angledool Station. Copies of reports, 31 December 1924-15 December 1946


This folder of papers consists of copies of a variety of reports kept by the Police Constable at New Angledool Police Station. The reports include: Population returns, 1924-26, 1933-46; Annual reports to Superintendent of Police, Dubbo, 1940-42; Particulars of station & patrol, 6 May 1938-16 Jan 1946; and Commonwealth Bureau of Census & Statistics Form: Aboriginals, 1934-41.

Walgett Station. Record of clothing and rations issued to Aborigines, 1900-40 


NRS 10923: Special bundles. Papers re Joe and Jimmy Governor, 1900-13

[SR Document 79, 4/8581-8583]

NRS 10923: Special bundles. Supply of liquor to Aborigines, 1960


Premier's Department

NRS 12061: Special bundles. Official Papers forwarded to Sir Joseph Carruthers (part), 1895-1907

[2/8396 part]

These papers comprise copies of police reports and related papers forwarded to Carruthers when he was Secretary of Lands, August 1894-95 and Premier and Colonial Treasurer, August 1904-October 1907. They include papers relating to the case Regina v. George (an Aboriginal).

See Justice Department Letter No. 95/5927 of 26 April 1895 re 'George (an Aboriginal) convicted of rape', pages 333-350 within this bundle.

NRS 12060, Letters received, 1927-62

[9/1957, 12/8749-8750], Reels 1862-1863

  • [9/1957] A27/915 Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association - Reel 1863
  • [12/8749-8750] A62/1515 Includes File Nos. A36/404, A36/1028, A37/193, B38/956, A40/200, A38/931, B38/1716 - Reel 1862-63

The Premier's Letters received included matters relating to Aboriginal people. Two selected files of note are File A27/915, relating to the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association (AAPA); and File A37/193, relating to A.P. Elkin and C. Kelly.

All files relating to Aboriginal people from 1936 to 1962 were 'aggregated' into File A62/1515, a special bundle, during deliberations arising from Aboriginal-Australian Fellowship (AAF) pressure to reform the Aborigines Welfare Act in 1961-62. Particularly useful files include: File A36/404 and File A36/1028 - William Cooper's Correspondence; File A37/193, File B38/956 and File A40/200 - Burnt Bridge Correspondence, Aborigines Progressive Association (APA) campaign, related non-Aboriginal correspondence, inter-departmental comment, 1937-42; File A38/931 and File B38/1716 - Cumeragunja Strike.

NRS 12072: Bicentennial Secretariat. General correspondence/representation files, 1980-88


File number 88/519 contains a discussion paper on Aboriginal Bicentennial objectives. It was produced by the Aboriginal Development Commission in 1983.

Public Service Board

NRS 1063: Special bundles. Report and Recommendations of the Public Service Board on Aborigines protection, 1940


This Public Service Board report was ordered by the Parliament of New South Wales to be printed on 4 April 1940. The Chief Secretary wrote to the Chairman of the Public Service Board in 1939 stating that he was concerned about 'the protection and development of the aborigine population of this State.' It was deemed advisable that the whole question, particularly the existing administrative arrangements should be reviewed and the Public Service Board was asked to arrange an investigation.

The Public Service Board consulted with the Aborigines Protection Board and its staff and with individual members of that Board. Visits were made to 16 reserves and stations by Public Service Board members and to another nine by Public Service Inspectors.
The recommendations made in the Report include: amendment of the Aborigines Protection Act; changes to Aborigines Protection Board membership; provision of additional funds to improve buildings, schools and rations and increase Aborigines Protection Board staff numbers; education and training for people on the reserves; and establishment of a complete record of all Aboriginal people subject to the jurisdiction of the Aborigines Protection Board.

One of the appendices is a list of Trust Accounts - Endowees' balances. It gives the name of the person and the credit or debit amount.

NRS 1063, Special bundles. Proceedings, Minutes of Evidence and Exhibits of the Select Committee on the Administration of the Aborigines Protection Board, 1938


This is a printed copy of the proceedings of the Select Committee, minutes of evidence and exhibits. It was decided by the Legislative Assembly in 1937 that a Select Committee should be appointed to inquire into and report upon the general administration of the Aborigines Protection Board. Much of the evidence relates to conditions at Brewarrina and Cumeroogunga.

School Education


formerly EDUCATION


NRS 3829, School files, 1876-1979

* See the list of Aboriginal School Files

Open to Public Access (OPA) under AD 206 and AD 207

These files give the following information: applications for the establishment of schools; the school's progress and physical provision; and teachers. Although Aboriginal Schools were part of the State education system, there were several differences in their treatment by the Department in the provision of supplies and appointment of teachers. On the majority of the Aboriginal stations the manager was also the teacher; when a manager was appointed by the Board, he was also automatically employed as a teacher. On some reserves, schools were under the charge of a teacher or teacher-matron under the control of the then Department of Public Instruction. This teacher had no real responsibility to the Board for the general conduct of the reserves, which were largely left to be supervised by the local Police.

The dates given on page 56 for each school do not reflect the exact dates of documents in the file. For the dates individual schools were opened and closed and any changes of name see Government Schools of New South Wales 1848 to 1993. 4th ed. Dept. of School Education Library, [Parramatta], 1993.

NRS 3931, School records

* See the list of Aboriginal School Records

In addition to the School files above, each school creates a number of different records about its operations, staff and pupils. These records include:

Admission registers
These are a record of admission of children to school. They record: name; age; religious denomination; date of leaving last school; name, residence and occupation of parent or guardian; date of admission to each division and date of leaving school.

Examination books
These record pupils' examination results. They provide: name; age; examination results for reading, composition, spelling, writing, arithmetic and other subjects; total marks and place in grade.

Observation books
These consist of inspectors' general observations on the operations of the school. They do not generally contain mention of individual pupils.

Programme and lesson registers
These consist of the lessons and curriculum which was followed by various classes in a school. They cover the whole range of subjects taught to a particular class such as arithmetic, social studies and written expression.

Punishment books
These consist of details of punishments meted out to pupils. They provide: name; age; nature of offence; amount of punishment; instrument of punishment; date of punishment and by whom inflicted.

Visitors' books
These record the names of any visitors and any remarks by the visitor such as 'incidental visit', 'ordinary inspection', or 'very pleasant afternoon'.

Note: For correspondence on the exclusion of Aboriginal children from Singleton Public School c.1918-19 See Singleton 1917-28 [5/17630B].

Supreme Court

NRS 13696: Miscellaneous correspondence relating to Aborigines, 1797, 1804-06, 1814-16, 1824-40

[5/1161], ​COD 294A, pp. 1-377; COD 294B, pp. 378-867

This is correspondence, mainly of an official nature, relating to customs and habits of Aboriginal people, accounts of investigations instituted into atrocities committed by and against Aboriginal people, the establishment and maintenance of native institutions and church missions (at Wellington Valley, Port Phillip and in New Zealand), and memoranda, notes and draft process concerning causes involving Aboriginal people (as defendants) in the Supreme Court. The bundle contains two main 'groups' of correspondence:

  1. Correspondence between Robert Scott (Justice of the Peace at Patrick's Plains from 1836) and various officials and private persons concerning relations between Aboriginal people and European settlers on the Hunter River.
  2. Correspondence and notes of Mr. Justice Burton concerning
    1. a draft bill 'for amelioration and protection of the Aboriginal natives of this colony' (mainly letters received from private persons concerning tribal customs and mores and recollections of relations with Aboriginal people in the past);
    2. causes involving Aboriginal people to be heard before the Supreme Court;
    3. notes relating to the admissibility of Aboriginal people's evidence.

NRS 13705: Memoranda selected from 'Twenty Four Years of Missionary Engagements in the South Sea Islands and Australia', by Lancelot Edward Threlkeld, Missionary to the Aborigines, New South Wales. Presented to Judge Burton by the author, September 1838 


NRS 13484: Criminal Jurisdiction. Returns of Aboriginal natives tried before the Supreme Court, 1832-38, 1846-48

[4/2129.3 part]
The returns record the name, date and crime for Aboriginal natives tried before the Supreme Court, 1832-36 and 1846-48.

NRS 5872, Judges' Notebooks. Dowling, C.J.: Proceedings of the Supreme Court of N.S.W., 8-15 November 1838, 1 February 1839, 2 September 1839 


This volume (number 156) contains Chief Justice Dowling's notes on the first trial of those involved in the Myall Creek Massacre.

NRS 5730, Judges' Notebooks. Burton, J. Criminal Sessions, 12 November-10 December 1838 


This volume (number 39) contains Judge Burton's notes on the second trial of those involved in the Myall Creek Massacre.

Surveyor General

NRS 13870: Map, 'Darling River No. 4', 28 February 1851

[SR Map 6009]

This map shows the location of a 'native fishery' on the Darling River. It was transmitted to the Surveyor General with a letter dated 28 February 1851. It bears the Surveyor General's number W.16.1322.

NRS 13751: Letters received, 1856 (Letter No. 56/12399)


These papers consist of three letters sent by the Commissioner of Crown Lands at Lower Darling to the Surveyor General concerning outrages committed by Aborigines at the Manara Hills. The letters are registered as numbers 56/10543 (with enclosure) and 56/12399 and were filed together at the latter number. These letters were handed over to NSW State Archives by the Mitchell Library, which had received them from the Surveying Museum, Department of Mapping and Surveying, Brisbane.

NRS 13955: Requisitions for blankets, 1859, 1866

[2/1724 part]

This bundle comprises two requisitions for blankets for Aboriginal people in the districts of Macleay River (1859) and Warialda (1866). Individuals are not named.

Useful addresses

For more information on NSW State archives relating to Aboriginal people please contact the Manager, Public Access on (02) 9673 1788 or email collections@mhnsw.au.

New South Wales

The following list of agencies and organisations may be of assistance. This list is not exhaustive.

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)

Acton House, Marcus Clarke Street CANBERRA ACT 2600
Postal Address
GPO Box 553, CANBERRA ACT 2601
Telephone: (02) 6246 1111 Fax: (02) 6249 7310
AIATSIS has an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Biographical Index (ABI) available to search online. The ABI is a personal name index to published material held in the AIATSIS Library.

Crown Solicitor's Office

Level 15, Goodsell Building
8-12 Chifley Square SYDNEY NSW 2000
Postal Address
GPO Box 25, SYDNEY NSW 2001
Telephone: (02) 9228 7437 Fax: (02) 9233 1760

Aboriginal Affairs NSW

Level 13, Tower B, Centennial Plaza
280 Elizabeth Street Surry Hills NSW 2010
Telephone (toll free): 1800 019 998 Fax: (02) 9262 2690
Telephone: (02) 9219 0700

Family Records Service

Aboriginal Affairs NSW
Office of Communities
Level 3, 35 Bridge Street Sydney NSW 2000
Telephone (toll free): 1800 019 998

Department of Education and Training

Historical Collections Officer
Level 8, Signature Tower
2-10 Wentworth Street PARRAMATTA NSW 2150
Postal Address
PO Box 6000, PARRAMATTA NSW 2124
Telephone: (02) 9561 1820 Fax: (02) 9561 1248

NSW Ministry of Health

Records Management Unit
73 Miller Street, NORTH SYDNEY NSW 2060
Postal Address
Locked Bag 961, NORTH SYDNEY NSW 2059
Telephone: (02) 9391 9076 Fax: (02) 9391 9101

Department of Housing

Records Management Unit
23-31 Moore Street LIVERPOOL NSW 2170
Postal Address
PO Box 466, LIVERPOOL NSW 2170
Telephone: (02) 9821 6111 Fax: (02) 9821 6900

Department of Land and Water Conservation

23-33 Bridge Street SYDNEY NSW 2000
Postal Address
PO Box 39, SYDNEY NSW 2001
Telephone: (02) 9228 6359 Fax: (02) 9228 6455

Link-Up NSW Aboriginal Corporation

PO Box 93, Lawson NSW 2783
Telephone: 1800 624 332 or (02) 4758 1011
Fax: (02) 4759 2607
Email: linkup@nsw.link-up.org.au
Website: www.linkupnsw.org.au
Link-Up (NSW) Aboriginal Corporation was founded around 1980 to assist all Aboriginal people who have been fostered, adopted or raised in institutions to reconnect with their family.

Local Courts Director's Office

Level 1, Downing Centre
143-147 Liverpool Street SYDNEY NSW 2000
Telephone: (02) 9287 7420 Fax: (02) 9287 7900

Parliament House

Macquarie Street Sydney NSW 2000
Telephone: (02) 9230 2615 Fax: (02) 9230 3015

Department of Premier and Cabinet

Level 39, Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place, Sydney NSW 2000
Postal Address
GPO Box 5341, SYDNEY NSW 2001
Telephone: (02) 9228 5555 Fax: (02) 9231 1110

Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

Level 1, 191-199 Thomas Street
Haymarket, SYDNEY NSW 2000
Postal Address
GPO Box 30, SYDNEY NSW 2001
Telephone: (02) 9243 8521 Fax: (02) 9243 8640
Adoptions Enquiries: (02) 9243 8688

Society of Australian Genealogists

Richmond Villa
120 Kent Street SYDNEY NSW 2000
Telephone: (02) 9247 3953 Fax: (02) 9241 4872

State Library of New South Wales

Macquarie Street SYDNEY NSW 2000
Telephone: (02) 9273 1414 Fax: (02) 9273 1255
The State Library of NSW has an index to material held at the State Library relating to Aboriginal people called InfoKoori.

Australian Capital Territory

National Archives of Australia

Bringing Them Home Name Index enquiries
PO Box 7425, Canberra BC ACT 2610
Telephone: (02) 6212 3900
Freecall: 1300 886 881
Fax: 1300 886 882 or (02) 6212 3999
Email: ref@naa.gov.au
Website: www.naa.gov.au

Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)

Family History Unit
GPO Box 553, Canberra ACT 2601
Freecall: 1800 730 129
Fax: (02) 6261 4287
Email: family@aiatsis.gov.au
Website: http://aiatsis.gov.au/research/finding-your-family

Australian War Memorial

GPO Box 345, Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: (02) 6243 4211
Fax: (02) 6243 4325
Website: www.awm.gov.au/

Noel Butlin Archives Centre

ANU Archives Program, Division of Information
Building 2, Menzies Library
Australian National University Canberra ACT 0200
Telephone: (02) 6125 2219
Fax: (02) 6125 0140
Email: butlin.archives@anu.edu.au
Website: www.archives.anu.edu.au/nbac/html/index.php

Northern Territory

Northern Territory Archives Service

PO Box 874, Darwin NT 0801
Telephone: (08) 8924 7677
Fax: (08) 8924 7660
Email: nt.archives@nt.gov.au
Website: www.nt.gov.au/nreta/ntas/collection/index.html


Queensland State Archives

PO Box 1397, Sunnyhills QLD 4109
Telephone: (07) 3131 7777
Fax: (07) 3131 7764
Email: info@archives.qld.gov.au
Website: www.archives.qld.gov.au

Department of Communities and Personal Histories
PO Box 15397, Brisbane City East QLD 4001
Telephone: (07) 3404 3622
Freecall: 1800 650 230

South Australia

State Records of South Australia

Aboriginal Access Team
GPO Box 1072, Adelaide SA 5001
Telephone: (08) 8343 6820 or (08) 8204 8798
Fax: (08) 8204 8777
Email: srsaAboriginalSevices@saugov.sa.gov.au
Website: www.archives.sa.gov.au


Archives Office of Tasmania

77 Murray St, Hobart TAS 7000
Telephone: (03) 6233 7488
Fax: (03) 6233 7471
Email: archives.tasmania@education.ta.gov.au
Website: www.archives.tas.gov.au


Public Records Office Victoria

Koori Records Unit
Victorian Archives Centre
PO Box 2100, North Melbourne VIC 3051
Telephone: (03) 9348 5600
Freecall: 1800 657 452
Fax: (03) 9348 5656
Email: ask.prov@prov.vic.gov.au
Website: www.prov.vic.gov.au

Western Australia

Family Information Records Bureau

Family and Children's Services
189 Royal St, East Perth WA 6004
Telephone: (08) 9222 2777
Freecall: 1800 000 277
Fax: (08) 9222 2767
Website: www.community.wa.gov.au/fcs/_content/aboriginal_family/index.htm

State Records Office of Western Australia

Aboriginal Family History
Alexander Library Building
James St West Entrance
Perth Cultural Centre, Perth WA 6000
Telephone: (08) 9427 3360
Fax: (08) 9427 3368
Email: sro@sro.wa.gov.au
Website: http://www.sro.wa.gov.au/archive-collection/collection/aboriginal-records/aboriginal-family-history

Department of Indigenous Affairs

Aboriginal Family History Information Services
Level 1, 197 St George's Tce, Perth WA 6000
Telephone: (08) 9235 8075
Website: www.dia.wa.gov.au

This content was first published in May 1998 as the Guide to NSW State archives relating to Aboriginal people
The State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales
Sydney NSW, Australia.
ISBN 0 7310 1737 4 First published 1998.

Coomaditchie Lagoon

Coomaditchie: The Art of Place

The works of the Coomaditchie artists speak of life in and around the settlement of Coomaditchie, its history, ecology and local Dreaming stories

The mission, Lorraine Brown, 2007

Coomaditchie: Of place

These works record the extraordinary arc the artists of Coomaditchie have travelled over more than three decades

Dragonflies, Meahala Langlo-Brown, 2022

Coomaditchie: Lagoon stories

These panels detail the ecological life in and around Coomaditchie Lagoon

Digital scan of sculptural panel

Cast in cast out: recasting fragments of memory

An in-depth look at Dennis Golding's experiences and childhood memories of growing up in ‘The Block’