Koorie Heritage – Koorie Index of Names Project
Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) holds many records containing information about Aboriginal people and their history in Victoria. In 2007 PROV commenced the Koorie Index of Names (KIN) indexing project as a response to recommendations in the wilam naling report of 2006. The report urged PROV to ‘undertake an indexing project of all relevant Victorian records in its custody to produce an Indigenous name index.’
The KIN project is being led by the Koorie Records Unit (KRU) with indexing support provided by the PROV Volunteers Program. The KIN project aims to improve access to records containing information about Aboriginal people held by PROV, which will not only assist Aboriginal people to find information about themselves, but also about their families and their country.
What information does KIN contain?
- Names of Aboriginal people
- Names of non-Aboriginal people related to or associated with Aboriginal people
- Names of missions and institutions where Aboriginal people were placed
- Places where Aboriginal people have lived or visited
The index itself does not contain personal information about the people named. To see this information researchers will need to actually order the records concerned for viewing in the reading room of the Victorian Archives Centre (VAC) at 99 Shiel Street North Melbourne.
PROV, VPRS 5714/P0, Unit 2508, Allotment 26
To find out more about Percy Pepper, see our publication Footprints that tells the story of Lucy and Percy Pepper’s life through the records held by PROV and National Archives of Australia.
For further information please refer to the KRU webpage http://prov.vic.gov.au/community-programs/koorie-records-unit
Cultural sensitivity warning
Researchers are warned that the files may contain distressing or offensive information and images of deceased people. The files were created by government officials many years ago and are written in the language of the day. They can be culturally insensitive.
What records are being indexed?
The KIN project is indexing records across PROV’s collection that have specific relevance to Victorian Aboriginal people. Records identified as having a high degree of relevance to Victorian Aboriginal people will be indexed in phase one of the KIN project. Other records containing information about Aboriginal people will be reviewed and indexed on a case by case basis.
Some of the records identified as being of high relevance in PROV’s collection are:
VPRS 1694 Correspondence Files, 1867 – 1946 [Board for the Protection of Aborigines 1889–1931]
See also: National Archives of Australia series B313 for other files in this series.
VPRS 10768 Register and Index of Inward Correspondence, 1909 – 1939 [Board for the Protection of Aborigines 1909–1941]. For an earlier register consult National Archives of Australia series B328.
VPRS 926 Letter Book Coranderrk [Board for the Protection of Aborigines 1898–1924].
VPRS 90 Daybook of the Native Police Corps, Narre Warren, 1845–1853. Available on microfilm at the Victorian Archives Centre.
VPRS 11 Inward Unregistered Correspondence to the Chief Protector of Aborigines – Reports and Returns, 1847–1851. Available online.
VPRS 10 Inward Registered Correspondence to the Superintendent of Port Phillip District, relating to Aboriginal Affairs, 1839–1851. Available online.
Most of the above records were created between 1839 to 1946, with more extensive holdings from the period 1839 to 1859. The records were created by government agencies managing Aboriginal people residing on Victorian Aboriginal mission stations. These records contain a wide range of information about Aboriginal people, such as medical and education reports, correspondence, employment details, meeting minutes, annual reports, police reports, the issuing of provisions, clothing and rations, and records of the movement of Aboriginal people across Victoria.
Accessing the KIN database
The KIN database is available through the reading room at the Victorian Archives Centre at 99 Shiel Street North Melbourne. The reading room is open from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday (except for public holidays). No appointment is necessary to access the KIN database. See http://prov.vic.gov.au/research/plan-your-visit for an online map showing the location of the Victorian Archives Centre in North Melbourne.
Searching the KIN database
You may not know many details about the person you are researching, but the more background information you have, the easier it will be for you to determine if there are relevant references to the person or family you are seeking. The following kinds of details can assist you to locate people on the KIN database:
- Name of the person you are researching: including any variations in the spelling of given names, nicknames, or Aboriginal traditional names
- Family connections: the name of any parents, brothers, sisters or other relatives
- Language group, country or homeland: sometimes used to identify people
- Places: where the person was born, lived, worked, or was sent to
- Significant dates or ages: date of birth, age at events, or date of death of the person
- Time periods: the year or period the person was in a certain place or area, such as the period they lived on an Aboriginal mission station
- Significant events that may have occurred in the person’s life, such as being evacuated because of Aboriginal mission closures or war
Viewing records at PROV
Records ordered on PROV’s online catalogue at www.access.prov.vic.gov.au are delivered to the VAC reading room Monday to Friday at the following times: 10.00 am and 2.00 pm.
Records are held in the VAC reading room for up to 10 working days before being returned to the repository. Separate areas are available for researchers who wish to view the records in private – just ask our staff.
The Victorian Archives Centre is located at 99 Shiel Street, North Melbourne. See http://prov.vic.gov.au/research/plan-your-visit for an online map showing the location of the Victorian Archives Centre in North Melbourne.
The KRU can provide advice and assistance to researchers wishing to access the KIN database.
To find out more about the KRU, subscribe to our electronic newsletter (email subscription request to firstname.lastname@example.org) and visit our webpage http://prov.vic.gov.au/community-programs/koorie-records-unit.
For more information about researching Aboriginal records at PROV see PROVguide 65 Aboriginal Records at PROV.