Accessing the Tindale Collection
Aboriginal people are advised that the Norman Tindale Collection contains the names and images of deceased people and elements of secret, sacred tradition. The inclusion of words, terms or descriptions used throughout the records reflects the social attitudes
of the time.
The South Australian Museum is the custodian of the Tindale Collection, with the AHWA division at the DLGSC holding copies of the Western Australian component under a Custodial Agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, only direct descendants or those with written approval from communities or families can view the genealogies.
To access Tindale records, applicants can select the ‘Request more information’ option when browsing the online index. Applicants can also apply by completing a hardcopy Family History or General Research form available from the Aboriginal History Research Services page. The form should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org,
along with a photocopy of identification. Alternatively, you may wish to make an appointment to see one of the AHWA team members who are available to assist with request.
Native Title researchers can request to view the records for purposes related to the resolution of native title claims pursuant to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) only. Please see the native title researcher page for information on how to apply. These inclusions have been established using departmental records.
The genealogies compiled by Tindale and his associates are, more often than not, acknowledged as being accurate. However, a small number of misinterpretations may exist. When conducting family history research it is important to read information critically
and refer to multiple sources.
Aboriginal names and spelling
An ancestor may have used or been known by many names throughout their life (e.g. they may have been known by a traditional name, kinship name, nickname or a European name). Their name may have also changed with marriage, partnerships, adoption or fostering.
Often names were changed by employers or missionaries, or when a child was removed to a foster home or training institution.
In viewing the index, it is important to remember that at the time of Tindale’s work in WA, many people in remote locations did not have a surname, and while the recorders endeavoured to be as accurate as possible, some unexpected variations in
the spellings of names may exist.