The Library holds a large collection relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. This guide contains selected print works only.

Catalogue search tips

To search for works about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, select the 'Browse alphabetically' option, then 'subjects' . Some examples of Browse/Subjects searches are:

Selected Print Resources

These resources must be requested through the catalogue unless otherwise specified.


The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia 1994
Covers eighteen subject areas, ranging from art to sport and technology. The contents reflect the interests and priorities of Aboriginal people, with the emphasis on biographical information, individual language groups and communities. RFq 994.0049915 E56 (Main Reading Room Reference Collection)
Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia: Culture and Society Through Space and Time 2005
Covers a wide range of aspects of Indigenous life, including society, culture, economics, politics, environment, technology, land ownership and use, visual and performing arts, sport, education, health, and placenames. RFq 305.899150223 M173 (Main Reading Room Reference Collection)
Records of National Cultural Significance: Indigenous Australians: A Report of the Archives Working Group of the Cultural Ministers Council 1997
Contains details and descriptions of records in more than fifty-five institutions Australia-wide.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Commonwealth Records: A Guide to Records in the Australian Archives, ACT Regional Office 1993
Commonwealth records include a lot of information relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This guide aims to make some of this information more accessible. 
Mura Gadi: An Online Guide to Manuscripts, Pictures and Oral Histories in the National Library of Australia Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2004
Provides an index to the online database which contains detailed descriptions of manuscripts, oral histories and pictures held by the Library. Also available online.
Bibliography of the Australian Aborigines and the Native Peoples of Torres Strait to 1959 1963
Contains 10,283 references on Aboriginal history and social change. RF 305.89915 G816 (Main Reading Room Reference Collection)
Annual Bibliography (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Library) 1989 to 1995 (Continues online 1996-2000)
Includes entries for books, chapters, periodical articles, conference papers, manuscripts, theses, sound recordings and photographs. This publication has changed title over the years and each new title has its own record in the catalogue. See the Former Title section of the catalogue record. 
Aboriginal Australia & the Torres Strait Islands: Guide to Indigenous Australia 2001
Lonely Planet guide book. 



Provides a wide-ranging reference to Indigenous Australian art, covering traditional and recent art styles. RFq 700.899915 O98 (Main Reading Room Reference Collection)

Contemporary Aboriginal Art: A Guide to the Rebirth of an Ancient Culture 2001
A guide to Australia's 20 major art-producing communities. Outlines developments in urban areas and provides biographies of major artists.
Aboriginal Artists of the Western Desert: A Biographical Dictionary 1994
Contains detailed profiles of over 500 Western Desert artists. Also annotates the artists as members of specific Aboriginal communities and identifies their Jukurrpa (Dreamings). RF 759.9942 J69 (Main Reading Room Reference Collection)
Aboriginal Artists Dictionary of Biographies: Western Desert, Central Desert and Kimberley Region 2004
Includes a brief biography and relevant exhibition entries for artists who painted from the beginning of the 1970s to the first decade of the 21st century. RF 709.9403 A154 (Main Reading Room Reference Collection)


Australian Dreaming: 40,000 Years of Aboriginal History 2005
Presents the first Aboriginal history of the Australian continent and its people, as told by the Aboriginal story-tellers. Includes contributions from over forty story-tellers, as well as stories gathered from numerous Aboriginal communities.
Many Voices: Reflections on Experiences of Indigenous Child Separation 2002
Includes stories from the Bringing Them Home Oral History Project - of children who were taken from their families, adults who cared for them in institutions and missions, families who took them into their homes, and government officers who enacted official policies. Accompanying sound disc features nine audio excerpts taken directly from the Project interviews.
Survival in Our Own Land: 'Aboriginal' Experiences in 'South Australia' Since 1836 1998
Presents the history of South Australia from the point of view of Aborigines. It contains many stories and statements from Aboriginal people, as well as over 300 photographs and facsimiles, two specially drawn maps, extensive footnotes and a full list of sources. 
Aboriginal Victorians: A History Since 1800 2005
Documents the history of black-white interaction in Victoria to the present. Based on consultation with Aboriginal communities and families, as well as a range of historical research.
Aboriginal Sydney: A Guide to Important Places of the Past and Present 2001
Both a guide book and an alternative social history told through 50 places of significance to Sydney's Indigenous people.


Handbook of Australian Languages 1979-2000

Includes short grammatical sketches of Australian languages in five volumes: v. 1. Introduction, Guugu Yimidhirr, Pitta-Pitta, Gumbaynggir, Yaygir -- v. 2. Wargamay, The Mpakwithi Dialect of Anguthimri, Watjarri, Margaany and Gunya, Tasmanian -- v. 3. Djapu, A Yolngu Dialect, Yukulta, Uradhi, Nyawaygi -- v. 4. Aboriginal Language of Melbourne and Other Grammatical Sketches -- v. 5. Grammatical Sketches of Bunuba, Ndjebbana and Kugu Nganhcara. Each grammar is written in a standard format and includes a sample text (where available) and vocabulary list. RF 499.15 H236 (Main Reading Room Reference Collection)

Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development  2002 - Surveys the way in which Aboriginal languages vary typologically and presents a profile of this long-established linguistic area. Contains an index to languages and language groups.

Aboriginal English: A Cultural Study 1996 - Demonstrates some of the ways in which Aboriginal people over the past two hundred years have made the English language their own. RF 427.99403 A788 (Main Reading Room Reference Collection)

Macquarie Aboriginal Words: A Dictionary of Words from Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages 1994 - Describes characteristics of 17 Australian languages and relationship to kinship systems. RF 499.15 M173 (Main Reading Room Reference Collection)

Australian Aboriginal Words in English: Their Origin and Meaning 1992 - Lists Aboriginal words used today from many Aboriginal languages.

OZBIB: A Linguistic Bibliography of Aboriginal Australia and the Torres Strait Islands 1999 - Aims to provide a full bibliographical listing of all published material on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and linguistics, plus relevant theses and dissertations.


Indigenous Legal Issues: Commentary and Materials 2003
Explores the legal issues arising from the co-existence in Australia of distinct societies with distinct laws – the various Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, and the non-Indigenous. 
Our Culture Our Future: Report on Australian Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights 1998
Report outlining practical reform proposals for the improved recognition and protection of Indigenous cultural and intellectual property. 
Recognising Aboriginal Title: The Mabo Case and Indigenous Resistance to English-Settler Colonialism 2006
A comprehensive study of the Mabo case, its background and consequences. Examines the legal and ideological foundations of European imperialism and their eventual challenge by the global forces of decolonization. 


Black Words, White Page: Aboriginal Literature 1929-1988 2004
Contains the literary achievements of leading Aborigines such as Jack Davis, Kevin Gilbert, Mudrooroo Narogin, Oodgeroo Noonuccai and Bobbi Skyes, and provides an insight into the socio-political contexts in contemporary Black literature.

Place names

Aboriginal Place Names 2000
Contains thousands of Aboriginal meanings, plus many new entries for places that have recently been given Aboriginal names. RF 919.4003 R323 (Main Reading Room Reference Collection).
The Land is a Map: Placenames of Indigenous Origin in Australia c2002
Includes conference papers from a range of contributors. Also contains index of place and placenames and index of languages and language groups.
Ngambri Ancestral Names: For Geographical Places and Features in the Australian Capital Territory and Surrounds 2005
Includes summary of names already representing or resembling original Aboriginal names in the ACT; summary of confirmed original Aboriginal names of areas and geographical features in the ACT not currently or correctly in use; confirmation of names, thought to be Aboriginal, used for geographical areas or features in the ACT region in the 19th century that were not the original names for those areas; and summary of areas requiring further research. Request through the catalogue or use the Maps Reading Room Reference Collection MAPGZ ACT 2005.
Dictionary of Aboriginal Placenames of Victoria 2002
Contains over 3400 placenames from 35 Victorian Aboriginal languages. RF 919.45003 C593 (Main Reading Room Reference Collecion)


The Religions of Oceania 1995
Includes Aboriginal religious beliefs and practices. RF 200.99 S971 (Main Reading Room Reference Collecion)

See also: