Dancers from Balgo, Southern Kimberley, perform in Perth
at the Indian Ocean Arts Festival, 1979
The Photographic Collections
The Berndt Museum has a photographic collection with more than 35,000 images. These include photographs, negatives and colour slides. The collection consists of many small collections which have been donated to the Museum by their collectors, and several larger key collections, which include the RM and CH Berndt Collection, the Akerman Collection, the AO Neville Collection, the P Lucich Collection, and others.
The Berndt Museum respects the inherent intellectual and moral rights of all artistic creators, and makes every effort to contact the relevant copyright holders and and their communities before displaying or making artistic works available for third party reproduction.
All requests for photographic images, whether of objects held by the Museum or historical images, must be made on the prescribed form, which is available for download.
Download Application Form for Aboriginal Community and Individual requests
Download Application Form for Private Study requests
Download Application Form for Publishing requests
Livingston West, Chairman, Ngaanyatrjarra Community Council, inspects photo albums being repatriated to the community as part of the Bringing The Photographs Home project.
Some highlights of the photographic collection can be seen in the Virtual Tour.
List of Collections
The principal collections are as follows.
||Moore River |
||Moore River |
||Moore River |
|| Eastern Goldfields|
||Central Australia |
||Mowanjum and Kalumburu |
||Western Australia |
||Moore River |
||Anna Plains |
||La Grange |
||Ernabella and Amata |
* A.O. Neville was the Chief Protector of Aborigines between 1915 and 1953. Station owners, missionaries and welfare workers from all over Western Australia sent him their photographs to use in his public talks.
’Bringing the Photographs Home’
PURPOSE OF PROJECT
In the Berndt Museum’s photographic collection there are approximately 15,000 photographs that relate to Western Australia’s past. These archival photographs are from government and mission settlements and pastoral stations from 1920 to 1970.
Until the commencement of this ATSIC-funded project, these photographs were available only as contact proofs on small file cards, which were difficult to access. A small fraction of the records were computerised and usable photographic prints were not available.
Today, the entirety of the photographic collection has been added to the Museum’s computerised data base, and a portion of the archival negatives have been digitally scanned in preparation for the second phase of the project, both as part of the ATSIC project.
The Stolen Generation deserve the opportunity for people to reconnect to their families, even if it is only in photographic form. Sometimes, a photograph is the only record of their forebears. Not only is it important for the older generations to identify their family history, but it is also crucial that this information is passed to younger generations, which is imperative for reclaiming and forming identity.
The project is based at the Berndt Museum of Anthropology at the University of Western Australia, Nedlands, where the Photographic Collection is housed.
• To complete the transfer of digitised images to the Museum’s Photographic Database;
• To prepare prints from the digitised images and to return photographs to the Stolen Generations and information about them to relevant families and communities;
• To document the return of this information for inclusion in a planned national travelling exhibition to publicise the Photographic Project.
This project, "Bringing the Photographs Home" is ATSIC’s response to the "Bringing Them Home" Report and is in its second phase. The objectives and activities of this project are to:
• Inform Aboriginal communities about the Photographic Project in particular and the work of the Museum and the nature of its collection in general;
• Provide copies of relevant photographs held by the Museum to individuals and communities requesting them, to assist in the healing process of community recovery from the impact of the Stolen Generations Report; and
• Improve the level of documentation associated with these photographs in order to assist subsequent requests for assistance from Aboriginal community members.
A launch of the Project was held at the Museum mid-way through June 2000. The launch was opened by Commissioner Preston Thomas and attended by Mr Alf Taylor and Ms Marlene Jackamarra as guest speakers. Since then, copies of photographic materials have been repatriated to communities in the SouthWest of the state, the Kimberley and, shortly, to the Yamatji people of the Murchison/Gascoyne. Other communities in the Western Desert and Pilbara will follow. As a whole the project as been successful with wide ranging interest with participants requesting follow up visits.
A future project will focus on the digitisation of the Museum’s extensive sound recording collection, mostly assembled by Ronald and Catherine Berndt, but also including the work of other fieldworkers. Little of this material has been registered: the project will digitise and annotate these recordings for repatriation to communities. A pilot project, relating to both the photographic and sound collections, returned materials to the people of Gloulburn Island (N.T.), where the Community School acts as a repository.