ANU Archives renews MoU with AIATSIS

26 Feb 2024

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) and the Australian National University (ANU) have renewed their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) about access to archives for Indigenous people seeking to trace family origins. The MoU covers the relationship between the Family History Unit at AIATSIS and the Noel Butlin Archives Centre at ANU, providing for priority attention to any requests, exchange of information, and training visits. 

The Family History Unit provides users with resources to assist with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family history research. With its extensive collection of historical photographs, documents and other records dating from the 1820s, the Noel Butlin Archives collection may hold resources to assist Aboriginal researchers wanting to find out more about their family’s history.

Key features of the collection include business and labour records from Australian companies, trade unions, industry bodies and professional organisations. The Noel Butlin Archives Centre holds records from large companies such as the Australian Agricultural Company, Dalgety's, and CSR Ltd (Colonial Sugar Refining Company) as well as smaller businesses such as individual pastoral stations. In some cases, records of employment and membership can help locate a person. The subject guide Indigenous Australians provides information to assist researchers to find relevant records.

To date records from the Noel Butlin Archives Centre have been used for reparations schemes and stolen wages cases.

The ANU looks forward to a visit from AIATSIS staff in the coming month to share information and view some of the pastoral station records and maps from the rich collections of the NBAC.