State Library of Queensland resources

Download the guide: Resources for researching Indigenous participation in war [PDF 433.6 KB]

State Library of Queensland is located in Brisbane and is the primary custodian of Queensland documentary heritage. The SLQ collections include historical and original items as well as published materials and audio-visual articles pertaining to Queensland history. Within their collections are a broad range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander topics including language, culture, history and genealogy. The collections are physically housed in Brisbane at State Library's South Bank building; however there are online materials, including exhibitions and other documents available for personal and academic research by schools.

The collections hold significant materials relating to WW1; buried in among these items are stories and references to the Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people who were there on the home front and the war front.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in war – resources at State Library of Queensland

The following is a list of websites and other resources that may be useful to communities, schools and researchers for exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in war.

  • OneSearch – online catalogue
    Online access to the State Library's catalogue – Queensland residents can become library members and access online materials, databases, etc.
  • State Library Membership:
    Free membership to Queensland residents – membership card allows for access to online materials; members can also add their own 'tags' to identify materials of interest.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resources at State Library:
    SLQ Portal for resources, collections, etc. relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, histories, cultures and languages.
  • Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs):
    22 IKCs are located in Aboriginal communities and Torres Strait – they serve as a cultural hub and often are the only wifi connection in the community. IKCs develop their local collections and local histories – many are currently compiling profiles of community members who served in WW1.
  • kuril dhagun:
    an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander space based at South Bank – coordinates exhibitions, school visits etc. – kuril dhagun aims to showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in war over the centennial period.
  • John Oxley Library (JOL) Blogs:
    JOL has several blogs, including Indigenous Voices, Queensland’s WW1 Centenary, JOL, etc. - lots of great info/stories, including many that profile Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Digital Stories:
    Collection of online digital stories relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, histories, lifestyles, etc. as part of Q ANZAC 100, profiles and stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander involvement in WW1 will be included.
  • Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation:
    Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation, will commemorate and celebrate our history, capture living memories, and help current and future generations understand Queensland’s experiences during and after the First World War – renewing the First World War and Anzac legacy.
  • Queensland Stories:
    Digital stories from across Queensland, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories.
  • Picture Queensland
    Picture Queensland is an online collection of images that documents Queensland’s people, places and events. This includes historical and contemporary images from across the state – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in war is a key theme.
  • State Library of Queensland's Vimeo Channel
    Lots of digital stories from across Queensland on different themes, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, places, collections, etc.
  • State Library of Queensland Flickr Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation:
    Historical photos from SLQ collections relating to WW1, including Aboriginal soldiers.

State Library collection items

There has been some research activity on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in war by historians and researchers, including David Huggonson, Philippa Scarlett, Rod Pratt, Robert Hall, Garth O’Connell and others as well as initiatives under the auspices of the Australian War Memorial (AWM) or the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). State Library holds many of these published texts and they are excellent references for researchers and families alike.

  • Q 940.40994 SCA Scarlett, P. (2011) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander volunteers for the AIF: the Indigenous response to World War One.
  • P 940.403 pra Pratt, R. (1993) Biographical register of Queensland Aborigines who served in the Great War, 1914-1918.
  • 940.341 2012 Winegard, T. C. (2012) Indigenous peoples of the British dominions and the First World War.
  • J 940.41294 ANZ Green, A. (2012) ANZAC Light Horse & NZ Mounted Rifles in pictures, 1914-1919. Volume 1: a photographic volume compiled from original unit histories of selected Australian Light Horse regiments and New Zealand Mounted Rifles.
  • P 357.1 BAT Bates, I. B. (2003) Queensland mounted units, 1860-1940.
  • Q 940.403 JAC Jackimos, A. (1993) Forgotten heroes : Aborigines at war from the Somme to Vietnam
  • J 940.41294 HAM Hammond, E. W. (1942) History of the 11th Light Horse Regiment, Fourth Light Horse Brigade, Australian Imperial Forces: War 1914-1919.
  • P 940.5404 yug Kombumerri Aboriginal Corporation for Culture (1991) Yugambeh: in defence of our country.
  • CPC Aborigines at War Photographs of Aborigines at War from State Library Copy Print Collection.

State Library online resources

These are accessible through One Search using State Library Membership login.

  • De Groot (1979) “Aborigines in the Australian armed forces in the Great War and the Second World War.” Thesis (B.A. Hons. 1979) from the Department of History, University of Adelaide.
  • Goodall, H. (1987) “Not such a respected soldier ...: the impact of World War I on Aborigines in New South Wales.” In History Teacher, v.21, no.4, Aug 2002: 4-8.
  • Moremon, J. (2002) “Indigenous Australians at war.” In History Teacher, v.40, no.2, Dec 2002: 3-6.
  • Noble, R. (2008) “Identifying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Project.” In Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal, Mar/Apr 2008, v32 (2).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Genealogy at State Library

State Library also has a range of materials in their collections that relate to community and family histories; these are excellent starting points for researching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who served in WW1. These materials can support communities in documenting their local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander history. To support community members, State Library has developed a number of information guides on researching family history as well as identifying potential sources within the collections.

Further details:

Of particular interest to school communities are the following items:

  • Tindale Collection – During 1938 and 1939 Norman Tindale recorded genealogies as part of the Harvard – Adelaide Universities Anthropological Expedition. Tindale created genealogies which could include up to three generations, sometimes recording language names and relevant tribal family. The State Library of Queensland holds copies of these genealogies and portrait photographs from Aboriginal communities at Yarrabah, Cherbourg, Mona Mona, Palm Island and Woorabinda. Tindale also visited two Aboriginal communities in northern New South Wales at Boggabilla and Woodenbong. Further details:
  • Margaret Lawrie Collection – Between 1964 and 1973, Margaret Lawrie recorded many Torres Strait Islander genealogies (family trees) and other cultural information including vocabularies, music and photographs. The material relates to 17 Torres Strait Islander communities. Further details:
  • FAMHIS 929.1 1989 Montague, R. H. (1989) How to trace your military ancestors in Australia and New Zealand.

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