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Archives In Brief 43 - Aborigines Welfare Board Photographs, c.1919-66

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A brief overview of the Aborigines Welfare Board (AWB); NRS 30, Photographs, 1919-66 held by State Records. Other records may be identified in A Guide to NSW State Archives relating to Aboriginal People, Archives Investigator, and State Records' other finding aids.

Aborigines Welfare Board

The Aborigines Welfare Board (AWB), and its predecessor the Aborigines Protection Board, was the main NSW State government agency responsible for implementing and administering legislation and policies affecting Aboriginal people. The records of the Board are important because they document activities that had a major impact on the lives of Aboriginal people, in particular the 'Stolen Generations' who were removed from their families and communities.

Archives in Brief 42 - Aborigines Welfare Board, 1883-1969 provides a more detailed introduction to the records of the Board.

The photographs

How many are there?

There are approximately 1000 black and white photographs of Aboriginal people taken between 1919 and 1966. These images are the surviving photographic records of the NSW Aborigines Welfare Board.

Who's in the photographs?

The photographs are a mixture of official and personal subjects. Most of the photographs were taken to document the work of the Aborigines Welfare Board and to promote its policies. The collection includes images of christenings; first communions; weddings; birthdays; Christmas parties; children visiting Sydney for annual summer camps; and people participating in sporting activities, such as football, cricket and swimming. The more personal photographs of people range from formal studio portraits of young Aboriginal women in the 1920's to snapshots in the 1950's and 1960's.

Official photographs include interior and exterior views of housing projects and schools. Also included are photographs of pupils and teachers, station managers and matrons. They also record the visits of Government officials.

A lot of what we know about the images comes from personal and official inscriptions found on the reverse side of some of the photos and from links that have been made with other Aborigines Welfare Board records. Important information is also coming from the memories and experiences of people pictured in the photos or from the confirmation of their families and communities.

All of this valuable detail is available in a photographic database, which enables visitors to our reading room to search for individuals, places and institutions. Many of the photographs are still undated and the people shown unknown.

Where were they taken?

The photographs were taken throughout New South Wales at many reserves and stations. A small number of photographs were taken in Queensland.

Identified places in the photographs

A
Angledool
Arakoon
Armidale
Ashfield

B
Baryugil
Bellbrook
Boggabilla
Bomaderry Home
Bourke
Brewarrina
Browns Flat
Broken Hill
Bulgandramine
Brungle
Burra Dee Dee

C
Cabbage Tree Island
Caledon Bay
Carowra Tank
Casino
Cobargo
Coffs Harbour
Collaroy Camp

Cootamundra Girls Home
Condobolin
Coraki
Cummeragunja

D
Deniliquin

G
Gladesville
Goodooga
Griffith
Guyra

J
Jervis Bay

K
Kempsey
Killara
Kinchela Boys Home

L
Lake Innes
La Perouse
Lennex Head
Lismore
Luna Park

M
Maroubra Methodist
— Youth War Memorial Centre
Mittagong
Moree
Murrin Bridge

N
Nanima (Wellington)
Narran River
Nowendoc (Walcha)

P
Pilliga
Purfleet

Q
Queensland
Quirindi

R
Roseby Park

S
South West Rocks
Strathfield

Swan Hill
Sydney

T
Talbragar
Taree
Taroom, Queensland
Taronga Park Zoo
Tingha
Toomelah

U
Ulgundahi Island
Uralla
Urunga

W
Walhallow
Walgett
Wallaga Lake
Wee Waa
Wellington
Wilcannia
Wollenstonecraft
Woodenbong

Y
Yulgibar

How do I get to see the photographs?

To protect the original photographs only copies of the photographs are available. You can view them on microfilm reels 2796-2797; Aperture Card numbers 8186-9224; and 35 mm viewing contact prints at COD 423, and electronically via a database in the reading room.

Copies of the photographs may be ordered.

Care when viewing the photographs

Some Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities may be distressed by seeing the name or image of a community member who has passed away.

Publishing and using the photographs

To publish any of the images you must have the permission of Aboriginal Affairs NSW.

More information

For more information on State Records relating to Aboriginal people please contact the Manager, Public Access on (02) 9673 1788 or email accman@records.nsw.gov.au.

© State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority, 2003.
This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for most purposes, however some restrictions apply. See our copyright notice or contact us.