Tindale Genealogical Collection

Over many years anthropologist and entomologist Norman Tindale recorded genealogies of Aboriginal people. From 1928 he began visiting Aboriginal people living on missions and government stations, participated in the 1938-1939 Harvard-Adelaide Universities Anthropological Expedition, and by the end of the 1960s had photographed thousands of Aboriginal people, collected significant cultural material and recorded a large number of genealogies (family trees).

Tindale created genealogies of aboriginal families for up to three generations, sometimes recording languages spoken and other tribal information. All his original research is held at the South Australian Museum.

SLQ has copies of genealogical information and photographs from the Tindale Genealogical Collection for the Queensland Aboriginal communities of Yarrabah, Cherbourg, Mona Mona, Palm Island, Woorabinda, Bentinck Island, Doomadgee and Mornington Island, as well as two northern New South Wales communities at Boggabilla and Woodenbong.

Name index

We have also created an online index of names recorded in the genealogies, available through the State Library's One Search catalogue. Although anyone can search the index, because much of the information is private or sensitive, there are restrictions on who can access the full family tree information and photographs.

  • Find access conditions and more information for the Tindale Genealogical Collection.
  • Search the name index in One Search, the library catalogue -select  "SLQ Family History Indexes" from the drop down list next to the Search button.
  • Complete the online Tindale enquiry form.


The Tindale Genealogical Collection is a great resource for researching Aboriginal family history, however it does contain some inaccuracies. Most of these are due to the limited time Tindale had to cross check the information he obtained in the field against other sources or return to the mission to re-check previously collected information. Information from this collection should not be your only source for family history research.

Further information

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