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Commonwealth Government Records about the Northern Territory


Aboriginal births, marriages and deaths in the Northern Territory

During the course of its administration of Aboriginal welfare in the Northern Territory, the Commonwealth gathered information about Aboriginal births, deaths and marriages and about the location of Aboriginal people. Some records were kept from the 1920s, but more detailed records were maintained from the 1950s. An Aboriginal Population Register section was established within the Welfare Branch to gather this information.

A number of the detailed records maintained are listed below. Unless otherwise stated, the records were maintained by the Native Affairs Branch to 1955, then the Welfare Branch to 1970, then the Welfare Division to 1972, then the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

Note that a series of approximately 60,000 cards maintained by the Aboriginal Population Register section is now located with the Northern Territory Registrar-General's Office. The information contained varies but can include a person's name, year and place of birth, parents and siblings.

Selected records of Aboriginal births, marriages, deaths and population
GENERAL
National Archives, Darwin
Register of Aboriginal deaths and births, 1901–70 E1573
Cards containing personal information on the Aboriginal population of the Northern Territory, 1957–93 E1579
BIRTHS
National Archives, Darwin
Register of Aboriginal births, 1953–74 E889
Department of Health – register of births – Aboriginal people, 1954–57 E880
Births journal, 1971–73 E890
Chronological register of Aboriginal births, 1974–79 E891
Northern Territory Archives Service
Reference digitised copy of register of births and deaths relating to Aboriginal people in Milingimbi, 1934–83 NTRS3404
District Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Central Australia – Folders of forms of information of births (natives) and related papers, 1950–63 F825
MARRIAGES
National Archives, Darwin
Department of Health – register of Aboriginal marriages, 1944–78 E1353
DEATHS
National Archives, Darwin
Deaths register, 1953–70 E885
Department of Health Register of deaths, Aboriginal people, 1953–57 E888
Register of Aboriginal deceased estate files, 1963–76 E943
Aboriginal deceased estate files, 1963–ongoing E917
Deaths register, 1969–70 E883
Deaths book, 1969–77 E887
Weekly deaths register, 1973–74 E886
Certificate of burial books, 1974–77 E1414
Northern Territory Archives Service
Reference digitised copy of register of births and deaths relating to Aboriginal people in Milingimbi, 1934–83 NTRS3404
District Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages, Central Australia Folders of forms of information of deaths (natives) and related papers, 1950–63 F827
POPULATION
National Archives, Darwin
Welfare branch – Aboriginal half-caste population records – alphabetical series, 1925–56 F984
Police branch – Aboriginal population census – alphabetical by location series, 1931–35 E1493
Welfare branch – Alphabetical census register, 1955 E935
Welfare branch – census register – by location, 1955 E936
Administrator – register of wards – Northern Territory of Australia Gazette, number 19B, 13 May 1957 E1543
Welfare branch – census files – by location, 1960–ongoing E944

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Chapter 8
Aboriginal People of the Northern Territory