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Research Guides


Tracking Family: A Guide to Aboriginal Records Relating to the Northern Territory


5.17: Northern Territory Archives Service

The Northern Territory Archives Service has offices and reading rooms in Darwin and Alice Springs, and is responsible for:

  • providing the community with access to the archives of the Northern Territory
  • collecting and preserving government and community archives.

The Northern Territory Archives Service is co-located with the National Archives of Australia in Darwin and shares a public reading room in the Northern Territory Archives Centre.

Records held

The archives collection consists of three broad categories:

  • Northern Territory Government archives
  • community archives
  • oral history archives.

Archival records that may be of particular interest for Aboriginal family research are:

Government records

  • Police journals from the late 1800s
  • Police correspondence
  • Court files, includes Supreme and Magistrates Courts, coroners and probate records
  • Inward correspondence to the Government Resident 1870–1911
  • Land tenure records
  • Health records
  • Darwin City Town Council records

Community records

  • Mission records – including records of:
    • the Church Missionary Society of Australia, North Australia Committee – for further information see entry for the Church Missionary Society
    • the Uniting Church in Australia, Northern Synod – for further information see entry for the Uniting Church in Australia, Northern Synod.
  • Photographic collections – these images may be part of government or community collections within the archives' holdings. Contact the Northern Territory Archives Service for details about searching image collections. Copies of images can be ordered for a fee.

Oral history records

The Northern Territory Archives Service has more than 2300 sound recordings of interviews in its collection, including oral histories of Aboriginal people. A printed transcript is available for many of these interviews.

Some of the people interviewed have also deposited documents or photographs to complement, and be preserved together with, their spoken memories. Contact the Northern Territory Archives Service for details about who has been interviewed.

Finding Records

The Northern Territory Archives Service collections can be searched via Archives Navigator. As archives are continually being added to the system, please check the List of Holdings for a complete list of series held by the Northern Territory Archives Service, including inherited Commonwealth series.

There is also a range of information leaflets on the website. These include:

  • Images in the Northern Territory Archives Service Collections
  • Missions Records Held at the Northern Territory Archives Service
  • Oral History Unit
  • Researching your Aboriginal Family History at the Northern Territory Archives Service.

Access

Government records

Most government records are available for public inspection 30 years after they have been created. A small quantity of government archives may be closed for periods longer than 30 years because of the sensitive or personal nature of their content. A Protocol on Access to Northern Territory Government Records by Aboriginal People Researching Their Families was signed in 1997. For more information about the protocol and the related access request form, see Appendix 2.

Community and personal records (including oral history interviews)

Most of these records are available for public inspection immediately, although a minority may have some access restrictions placed on them. The conditions of access to these records are determined by the donor or, in the case of oral history interviews, by the person interviewed. Staff can provide advice on access arrangements.

Contact details

Darwin

Reference Services
Northern Territory Archives Service
Northern Territory Archives Centre
Kelsey Crescent
Millner NT 0810

GPO Box 874
Darwin NT 0801

Tel: (08) 8924 7677
Fax: (08) 8924 7660
Email: ntac@nt.gov.au

Website: www.artsandmuseums.nt.gov.au/ntas
Archives Navigator: www.artsandmuseums.nt.gov.au/ntas/research/collection/navigatorintro

Alice Springs

Reference Services
Northern Territory Archives Service
58 Hartley Street
Alice Springs NT 0870

PO Box 8225
Alice Springs NT 0871

Tel: (08) 8951 5669
Fax: (08) 8951 5232
Email: ntac@nt.gov.au

Website: www.artsandmuseums.nt.gov.au/ntas
Archives Navigator: www.artsandmuseums.nt.gov.au/ntas/research/collection/navigatorintro


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Chapter 5
Institutions holding records