Aboriginal Services

State Records provides services for Aboriginal people in the spirit of Reconciliation and in recognition of individuals’ right of access to their own personal information.

Records relating to Aboriginal people

As the official custodian of records created by State and Local government agencies within South Australia, State Records holds a wealth of material documenting the written history and experience of Aboriginal people in the state. These records provide valuable insight in to:

  • Native Title

  • Aboriginal heritage

  • Reconciliation, and

  • family and community history.

These records can also help members of the Stolen Generations identify and become reunified with family members they were separated from, as a result of past government policies.

Accessing records in the collection

Access to records in our collection is determined by the agency responsible for the records. The responsible agency is accountable for determining whether their records should be openly available or subject to access restrictions, which may be required to preserve confidentiality or privacy.

Researchers wishing to view records subject to access restrictions may apply to the agency responsible for approval. State Records’ role is to advise researchers of the appropriate contact within a responsible agency.

State Records' Aboriginal Access Team

The Aboriginal Access Team provides the following services:

  • searches for and sourcing records on behalf of researchers

  • advice on the process for obtaining permission to access records, where the agency responsible has imposed restrictions

  • copies of relevant records free of charge for SA Link-Up clients who were previously separated from family members and are seeking information for reunification purposes.

  • the development of resources to enable quicker and easier to access records relating to Aboriginal people

  • co-ordinating visits by groups of researchers to State Records’ repository and Research Centre (by appointment)

  • referring researchers to other sources of records relating to Aboriginal people

Bringing Them Home Report

Bringing Them Home - Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families (April 1997)  recognised the crucial role records play in the process of reconciliation. Key recommendations in the Report include:

Recommendation 21

That no records relating to Aboriginal individuals, families or community or to children, Aboriginal or otherwise, removed from their families for any reason, whether held by Government or non-Government agencies, be destroyed.

Recommendation 22a

That all Government record agencies be funded as a matter of urgency by the relevant Government to preserve and index records relating to Aboriginal individuals, families, and/or communities and records relating to all children, Aboriginal or otherwise, removed from their families for any reason.

Recommendation 22b

That indexes and other finding aids be developed and managed in a way that protects the privacy of individuals and, in particular, prevents the compilation of dossiers.

Recommendation 23

That the Commonwealth and each State and Territory Government establish and fund a Records Task Force constituted by representatives from Government and Church and other non-government agencies and Aboriginal user services.

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