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Finding Indigenous Images

The WA Pictorial Collection

The Battye Library Pictorial Collection aims to depict all aspects of Western Australia's social history. A significant part of our collection represents Australian Indigenous people and the land.

Cultural Sensitivity Warning: 

Many items in our pictorial and film collections contain images of deceased Aboriginal people which may cause sadness and distress, and in some cases may offend against strongly held cultural traditions. 

Restrictions are placed on culturally sensitive material and also some archive records to protect the privacy of individuals.

Please also be aware that archival principles dictate that the original titles given to photographs must be used when cataloguing these images. It is regretted that many of these original titles may cause offence. These are a reflection of past practices only, and do not reflect the attitudes of the State Library of Western Australia.

Finding Indigenous Images

There are two ways to find images in the Pictorial Collection:

Using the State Library's Online Catalogue

By selecting PICTURES as a material type from our catalogue search screen, you can focus your keyword search on the pictorial collection. Keyword searches using the names of stations, towns, regions, missions, and family and community names are most likely to lead you to relevant photographic collections. 

Here are some examples of significant Indigenous collections:

  • Western Australian Aboriginal Affairs Authority - BA368/5
  • A O Neville collection of photographs - 733B
  • Badjaling/Winmar collection of photographs -BA1400
  • Aboriginal People of Western Australia - 5288B
Viewing Images Online

Many images in our collection have been digitised and are available for you to view online. These are distinguishable on the search result screen through the location of online image. Following the link will open the record in full, which includes a thumbnail of the image. Clicking the thumbnail will enlarge the image. These images can be used for personal use only. To use images for publications, please refer to our Pictorial Order Service.

Using the Card Catalogue

The majority of images we hold have been photocopied and bound together in volumes that are housed within the Battye Library. These can be searched using the card catalogue. The card catalogue, located across from the bound volumes of photocopied images, is an index to the bound volumes. The cards are arranged alphabetically and catalogued by place name, personal name, or subject.

Where images and collections are restricted, permission will need to be sought from the original donor or Indigenous community representatives before the images in the collection can be viewed.

For more information on the Pictorial Collection see:

Finding Indigenous films from the State Library Catalogue

The best way to search for films about or by Aboriginal people from our catalogue is by doing a key word search while selecting VIDEOS, FILMS as material type. To do a broad search for Indigenous films, try a keyword search for aborig*, remembering to limit your material type to Videos and Films.

For more general information on the Western Australian Film Archive see Finding Films and DVD's.


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Page last updated: Monday 13 August 2012

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