Aboriginal history

Working in partnership with Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders to connect people to their Aboriginal ancestry, promote reconciliation and celebrate the richness of our shared history.

Online indexes and special projects

Access historical records and information relating to Aboriginal Western Australians.

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Research services

Richard Wallery-Stack with a didgeridoo

Aboriginal History Research Services

Helping Aboriginal families with ancestral information through professional researchers, advice for native title and general research.

A history image of Aboriginal women peeling potatoes

Family history

Need help with your Aboriginal family history research? We may hold information in our collections about you or your direct ancestors.

Two Aboriginal men and an Aboriginal women in front of a tent

General research

This is a site for authors, academics, students, government agencies and people doing community history research or anyone with an interest in Aboriginal history in WA.

Bushland

Native title

Native title researchers can request access to records to gather evidence relevant to a native title claim.

Wadjemup online database

Map of Wadjemup prepared by surveyor A.J. Lewis with later amendments, c.1909. S2168, cons5698, item 1493, State Records Office of WA

A history of Aboriginal incarceration at Rottnest Prison

A reconciliation project acknowledging the prison history between 1900-1931, with new research discoveries and historical photographs. Launching in November. Watch this space for regular updates and progress.

Publications and projects

Gnarla Boodja Mili Mili (Our Country on Paper)

Gnarla Boodja Mili Mili (Our Country on Paper)

Map
An online interactive map acknowledging the names of Noongar places throughout the Perth CBD area, also known as Boorlo or Burrell in the Noongar language.
Moore River Native Settlement Centenary Photographic Collection cover

Moore River Native Settlement and Mogumber Cemetery Centenary

Book
Moore River Native Settlement Centenary photographic collection​
No Less Worthy cover

No Less Worthy

Book
A publication acknowledging the significant contribution of WA Aboriginal volunteers to the World War One effort.

Right Wrongs

Toolkit
'67 Referendum – WA 50 years on.
They Served With Honour cover

They Served With Honour

Book
Untold Stories of Western Australian Aboriginal Servicemen at Gallipoli.

News

State Government commences historic Rottnest Island Wadjemup Project

Jun 2, 2020, 14:01 PM by Andrea Prestini
A project to reconcile the history of Aboriginal people's imprisonment at Rottnest Island is one step closer, with the development of a cultural authority process to lead State-wide Aboriginal community engagement.
The Wadjemup Project, named after the Noongar name for Rottnest Island, will be one of Australia's first large-scale and genuine acts of recognition related to the impacts of colonisation on Aboriginal people.  
 
It will focus on how best to commemorate the Aboriginal men and boys who are buried on the island, and the use of the old prison building at the historic Thomson Bay settlement known as the Quod.
 
Rottnest Island was used as a place of incarceration, segregation and forced labour for Aboriginal men and boys from across Western Australia from 1838 to 1931.
 
More than 4,000 Aboriginal people from all over WA were forcibly taken there and almost 400 men and boys, who died while imprisoned, were buried in unmarked graves on the Island.
 
The Whadjuk Noongar people are putting in place cultural authority protocols to lead engagement with other Noongar and Aboriginal people across WA.
 

All Aboriginal people recognise that Wadjemup is part of Whadjuk Noongar traditional country, and consistent with Aboriginal customary protocol, it is proper that Whadjuk people lead community engagement for reconciling the island's history.

Read the full media statement.

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Page reviewed 25 September 2020