In the Library
The National Library of Australia holds many items relating to missions and reserves, including:
- Newspaper press clippings relating to various missions and reserves dating from 1960 to 1992.
Please ask library staff for access to press clippings.
- Archives and publications (i.e. newsletters) of select missions. If you know the name of the Aboriginal mission or church, try searching the catalogue.
- Published biographies and autobiographies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who lived on missions and reserves, and at children's homes.
- Published biographies of missionaries, or of people who worked on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander missions.
- The Bringing Them Home Project is a collection of interviews relating to individuals involved or affected by the child removal process.
The Library holds the letters, diaries and logbooks of select Aboriginal missions as part of its manuscript collection. Manuscripts are a valuable resource as they may provide information about Aboriginal communities, families, individuals, languages, customs, photographs, recordings etc. Please be advised, some manuscripts require permission from the donor before they can be viewed.
The following manuscripts with genealogical information have online finding aids:
The Daisy Bates manuscript collection (MS 365 - Box 4) features genealogical information about Indigenous Australians in Western Australia (compiled between 1904-12). Names of people within the genealogies from the following places have been indexed:
- Albany / King George Sound (SW WA SI50-11, SI50-15)
- Bajinhurrba / Cossack (WA West Pilbara SF50-03)
- Birdan / Onslow (WA West Pilbara SF50-05)
- Busselton map area (SW WA SI50-05)
- Coral Bay (WA West Pilbara SF49-16)
- Esperance (SE WA SI51-06)
- Fraser Range (SE WA SI51-02)
- Janyjinya / Mount Edgar (WA East Pilbara SF51-05)
- Kalgoorlie map area (SE WA Goldfields SH51-09)
- Kellerberrin (SW WA SH50-15)
- Kojonup (SW WA SI50-07)
- Mount Barker (SW WA SI50-11)
- Ravensthorpe (SE WA SI51-05)
- Norseman (SE WA Goldfields SI51-02)
- Northam (SW WA SH50-14)
- Southern Cross (SW WA SH50-16)
- Williams (SW WA SI50-06)
York (Avon River SW WA SH50-14)
N.B. Geographical areas are based on places recorded in the AIATSIS Place Name Thesaurus.
Please contact us using the Ask a Librarian service if you require further information about the above listed genealogies. Additional genealogies contained in the Library's Manuscripts collection will be added to this guide as names are indexed.
Additional manuscripts containing genealogical information can also be found in the Library's Australian Indigenous Language Resources research guide.
The Australian Inland Mission manuscript collections
One of the largest collections in the National Library, with over 500 manuscript boxes of material, is the archives of the Australian Inland Mission. This collection is made up of the papers of numerous individuals and organisations. View further information on this collection and the individual manuscript collection which comprise it on our dedicated collection webpage.
Other Archives and Record Offices
AIATSIS has a list of missions and reserves for each State and Territory, as well as advice on how to locate records. You can access the AIASTIS guide to finding mission and reserve records online.
Aboriginal mission and reserve records may contain information about individuals and families. When searching for an Aboriginal mission or reserve, you will need to know if it was a government reserve or church based mission (or both). If it was a government based reserve then you should contact one of the relevant state records offices listed below.
Commonwealth, State and Territory Archives
- National Archives of Australia - with State/Territory offices
- State Archives and Records NSW
- Northern Territory Archives Service
- Queensland State Archives
- State Records of South Australia
- LINC Tasmania
- Public Record Office Victoria
- State Records Office of Western Australia
Many collections relating to missions and reserves are held in libraries, museums and archives. For original records relating to missions and reserves (such as missionary logs, journals and letters) held in Libraries and some archives, you can try searching Trove using the name of the mission under the "Diaries, Letters & Archives" tab.
Find and Connect
Find and Connect helps you locate records relating to children's homes, orphanages, and of children placed into institutionalised care. The Find and Connect website does not provide access to personal records, however it can help you identify where personal records are held, particularly when these records are held in church archives. Find and Connect also offers a counselling and support service.
The Noel Butlin Archives Centre
The Noel Butlin Archives Centre is located within the Menzies Library at the Australian National University in Canberra. It collects the papers of industry and professional organisations, including the papers of missionaries, as well as pastoral records (many Aboriginal people were employed by early pastoral companies). You can contact the Noel Butlin Archives Centre to see if they have any records relevant to your family history.