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Research Guides

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


The first edition of Tracking Family resulted from two records forums held in Alice Springs and Darwin in 2003. These forums were jointly organised by the Darwin office of the National Archives of Australia and the Northern Territory Archives Service.

They brought together organisations that hold records and family history information which may be useful for Indigenous researchers doing link-up and family history research in the Northern Territory. The organisations represented included:

  • Commonwealth and Northern Territory government agencies holding records and information or providing services to the Indigenous community
  • church organisations that ran homes and missions
  • Aboriginal community organisations
  • organisations that have an interest in genealogical and historical information.

The guide drew together the information about record holdings, access arrangements and contact details gathered at the forums and subsequently. Its purpose was to provide information about the location of records that would assist Indigenous people to link up with family and community.

The first edition was published in 2006 and was welcomed particularly by the organisations and people involved in the forums. It was distributed to these organisations and also to Link-Up and other Indigenous organisations, state archives and libraries, and national cultural institutions.

The National Archives' Northern Territory Aboriginal Advisory Group, which includes representatives of the Northern Territory Link-Up organisations and community, recommended that the National Archives prepare a new edition of the guide to include additional information about records and access, and updated contact details.

The National Archives would like to thank all those organisations and individuals who contributed to the two forums that resulted in the first edition. This current edition of the guide builds on that foundation. Our thanks also go to those who provided new or updated information for Chapters 3 and 5. We would like to thank those who provided information for new entries, including the State Library of South Australia (Suzy Russell), State Records of South Australia (Amanda Sentence) and Uniting Communities (Gawain Letheby). Nunkuwarring Yunti Inc. also provided assistance.

Members of the National Archives' Northern Territory Aboriginal Advisory Group – Margaret Furber, Kathy Mills, Rick Jones and Frank Spry – provided valuable assistance, together with Evelyn Perkins of the Northern Territory Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation. Without the help of all these people, this guide would not have been possible.

The National Archives acknowledges the work of the Find & Connect project, and the research undertaken by the historians who prepared the material relating to the Northern Territory – Gary George, Karen George and Megg Kelham. Find & Connect: a resource for Forgotten Australians, former child migrants and anyone interested in the history of child welfare in Australia was developed as one component of the Australian Government's Find & Connect services and projects.

The web resource provides histories of children's homes and related organisations, and includes links to source material. Information in the list of homes and missions in Chapter 4 of this guide has been checked against the historical information in Find & Connect.

Comments or updated information should be forwarded to:

Assistant Director
Indigenous Unit
National Archives of Australia
PO Box 7425
Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610