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Aboriginal missions in South Australia: South Australia

Guide to resources relating to the history of Aboriginal missions in South Australia including records created by these missions.


AIATSIS. South Australian Protector's reports can be browsed by year. Keyword searching within each report can locate relevant information.

Find and connect and Finding your own way both provide guidance for people looking for information about children's homes in South Australia.


The State Library has a number of electronic resources that are useful for finding articles relating to Aboriginal Australia. Some of these can only be accessed within the library and others can also be accessed from home by becoming a Home Access User. Learn more on our eResources page.

Selected South Australian newspapers, published prior to 1955, have been digitised as part of the National Library of Australia’s Trove website, and this is an excellent source of information about South Australian missions.

Further newspaper articles may be identified by using the following, Newspaper index : references to Aborigines in Adelaide newspapers, 1836-1940, 1989.

Background and resources

Getting started

The following list of resources comprises books written about the history of Aboriginal missions in South Australia statewide.

Histories of many Aboriginal missions have been brought together on the other tabs of this Library Guide. To find further resources about these, or missions not covered by the Library Guide, try searching with this subject heading in the State Library catalogue:

Aboriginal Australians - Missions - South Australia 

Or conduct a keyword search using the following terms:

Aborigin* and mission*
Aborigin* and (Geographical location)
(Name of mission) eg. Colebrook

Aboriginal missions in South Australia, 2003

Bird, Carmel (ed). The stolen children: their stories: including extracts from the Report of the National Inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their families, 1998.

Burger, R. J. Our aboriginal missions.

George, Karen. Finding your own way : a guide to records of children's homes in South Australia, 2005.

Gerard, A.E. United Aborigines' Mission (of Australia): an outline of the history of the mission particularly in South Australia, 1950.

Guide to records of Indigenous Australians in the Lutheran Archives, Adelaide, SA,1999.

Harris, John W. One blood: 200 years of Aboriginal encounter with Christianity: a story of hope, 1994.

Mortlock Library of South Australiana. Guide to archival records held in the Mortlock Library of South Australiana relating to Aboriginal people. Adelaide: The Library, 1989.

National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families (Australia). Bringing them home: report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families, 1997 and online.

Public Record Office of South Australia. Guide to records relating to Aboriginal people, 1988-1991.

Raynes, Cameron. A little flour and a few blankets: an administrative history of Aboriginal affairs in South Australia, 1834-2000, 2002.

Survival in our own land: 'Aboriginal' experiences in 'South Australia' since 1836, 1988.

Swain, Tony and Rose, Deborah Bird (eds). Aboriginal Australians and Christian missions: ethnographic and historical studies, 1988.

United Aborigines Mission (SA.). Annual report of United Aborigines' Mission. (This has been indexed, to see records enter the title in the source field of the Library catalogue.)