Indigenous Law Resources database receives major update

The Indigenous Law Resources database, a new online collection of Indigenous legal resources, received a major update in November 2016.

The new database, which provides free access to important legal materials relating to Indigenous issues, is the result of a joint project of the ILC and AustLII, the Australasian Legal Information Institute.

Indigenous research and perspectives are still often neglected in mainstream library collections. A priority of the project was to collate and digitise rare, vulnerable and hard to access key material, drawing upon personal collections, key agencies and specialist libraries.

The majority of documents in the Indigenous Law Resources database are materials that have been made available online for the first time.

To date the database contains more than 1200 documents, dating from 1768 to 2016. This includes parliamentary papers, government reports, policy documents and other legal material related to important litigation. There is also a collection of documents related to Indigenous civil society and representative organisations. Thematic areas covered include:

  • 19th century laws and policies affecting Indigenous Peoples in the settlement and ‘killing times’ period
  • land rights and native title
  • discrimination, including a collection of significant pastoral and industrial award cases
  • cultural heritage
  • intellectual property law, including material from the personal collection of Colin Golvan QC
  • unpublished materials from the collection of Hal Wootten AC QC relating to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
  • treaty or makarrata
  • self-representation, including a comprehensive collection of ATSIC speeches, annual reports and other documents.

The database is available at:

The database was redeveloped in 2015 and 2016 by Megan Davis (ILC Director), Kathy Bowrey, Philip Chung, Simone Degeling (2015) and Sean Brennan (2016). Primary research and administration was conducted by Stijn Denayer and Tim Burston (2015), with liaison and support provided by ILC Research Directors, Kyllie Cripps and Leon Terrill, and also Pam Freeland, Manager, Humanities, Creative Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW Library.

The project was made possible thanks to the financial support provided by two UNSW Major Research Equipment Infrastructure Initiative (MREII) Grants in 2015 and 2016, and previous assistance from the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and the Australian Research Council.


In April 2016, the Indigenous Law Bulletin published an article about the project and the new database. The article can be found here.

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