We provide many opportunities to welcome Indigenous visitors.

Koorie Heritage Trust's Family History service

19 November 2015

koorie heritage trust and national library staff members

L-R: Samara King, Nicolette Suttor, Jodie Dowd, Margaret Bates, Lionel Bamblett, Lorraine Lacey, Jenny Bates and Shannon Sutton.
Photo taken by Ian Smith.

The Library was recently visited by staff members from the Koorie Heritage Trust's Family History service. Jenny, Margaret and Lionel were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the Library before setting to work searching for Aboriginal family history in the Library's collection of manuscripts, photographs and microfilm.

The Koorie Heritage Trust Family History Service helps Victorian members of the Stolen Generation, Koories in custody and members of the Koorie Community to research their family history. You can read more about their work on their website and Facebook page.

MINmin Nexus

30 July 2014

On Wednesday the 30th of July the Library hosted the second MINmin Nexus meeting. MINmin Nexus is a network founded by the National Museum of Australia, which aims to bring together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff from Canberra’s Federal Cultural Agencies. Representatives from the National Film and Sound Archives, the National Archives of Australia, AIATSIS, the National Museum, the National Library and the Australian War Memorial attended.

The MINmin Nexus network discussed what their respective agencies did for NAIDOC Week, followed by a tour of Stacks, Oral History and Manuscripts.


6 to 13 July 2014

As part of the NAIDOC Week celebrations, Library staff were offered a special opportunity to view, read and listen to materials from our collections documenting Australian Indigenous history, culture and experience. Indigenous staff and collection managers selected materials from our rich and wide ranging collections and shared their expertise and interest at this fascinating ‘white gloves’ event.

Yakanarra book launch

16 September 2013

The Library was privileged to host the launch of Yakanarrajangka Kunyarrwarnti [Yakanarra Dogs] and Wangki Yakanarrajangka [A Yakanarra Day] written and illustrated by students of Yakanarra School. The Yakanarra Community is located in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The students and their teachers enjoyed their visit and were pleased that their books are now held in the National Library collection.

Performance and book talk: Karl Neuenfeldt and Seaman Dan

8 July 2013

Photos by Lannon Harley

In collaboration with AIATSIS and Aboriginal Studies Press, the Library hosted authors Seaman Dan and Dr Karl Neuenfeldt who discussed their book Steady Steady: The Life and Music of Seaman Dan.  Seaman Dan is an ARIA award-winning Torres Strait Islander singer-songwriter who performed some of his beautiful songs to a spellbound audience. He is one of Australia’s oldest active recording artists with a national and international reputation. Steady Steady combines social history, musical analysis and archival and contemporary photographs in celebration of Seaman Dan’s remarkable life and unique musical skills. Recordings of music made by Uncle Seaman and other Torres Strait Island musicians are an important part of the Library's Oral History and Folklore Collection.

Jessie Mabo

6 February 2012

Jessie Mabo and Terri Janke looking at the Eddie Koiki Mabo papers permanently exhibited in the Treasures Gallery of the Library. Jessie Mabo, one of Eddie Koiki Mabo's daughters, returned to the Library to speak about her father and his battle for Indigenous Land Rights.

Pitjantjatjara women visit the Library

3 June 2010

Indigenous communities regularly visit the Library to look at cultural records. Here, looking at albums from the Pictures Collection, are members of the Larrakia, Pitjantjatjara and Yolngu communities. The senior Pitjantjatjara women, Sally Anga Scales, Josephine Mick and Paniny Mick, can be seen from left to right in this photograph. They visited the Library with Iluwanti Ken and Julia Burke, Ara Irititja project officer, to inspect items relating to their country.

Support for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation

The Library supports Indigenous Literacy Day and has also held other fundraising events for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.  In 2009 AFL legend Kevin Sheedy, champion sprinter Patrick Johnson and the ABC’s sports commentator, Tim Gavel, visited the Library for a special film screening of September, directed by Peter Carstairs. 

In 2013 the Library’s very own choir sang Bad Swimtime (Listen to Your Mamma), a song by Michael Rohanek inspired by the ILF book The Naked Boy and the Crocodile.

Community Heritage Grants

Community Heritage Grants provide funding every year to community organisations, including Indigenous groups, to assist with the preservation of significant collections of material. Among the 78 grants awarded in 2013, successful applicants included the Warlpiri Media Association in the Northern Territory, the Outback Gondwana Foundation and the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council for the Menmuny Museum Collection in Queensland and the Wangka Maya Pilbara Language Centre in Western Australia.

Treasure Explorer learning portal

Young Australians can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of histories, traditions and holistic world views through the study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. In the learning portal and schools’ Treasure Explorer, the Library’s Education team present the stories of individuals and communities from around Australia, including pre-European traditions and cultures, remarkable individuals such as Eddie Koiki Mabo, and historic events such as the Bringing Them Home Oral History Project. This website is open for use by everyone, everywhere.