Engage with WA Indigenous people through historical documents, movies, oral histories and photographs. 

Access Storylines

Storylines is an Indigenous online archive managed and hosted by the State Library of Western Australia.  

The Storylines archive provides for the digital return of photos and other materials directly to Aboriginal families, communities, and people. It is also helping to identify many of the photographs in the J.S. Battye Collection at the State Library, as many of these photographs have been donated without Aboriginal knowledge.  Thousands of photographs have been identified and digitally repatriated since the archive’s inception in 2013. 

The Storylines archives uses the Keeping Culture knowledge management system. Which is a web-based archive that allows objects, people, places, stories, plant, animals and technology to be tagged and linked within the system to create vast knowledge profiles which reflect the many languages, stories and perspectives of Aboriginal Western Australians. Storylines is uniquely capable of adhering to cultural protocols and supports all media types including video and audio. 

Storylines has become a central point for Aboriginal peoples who wish to access the State Library's extensive heritage collections, and a safe place to store records of people, place, and history. Material, which is identified as sensitive, secret or sacred can be restricted or removed in a flexible and responsive way. The database currently has more than 6,500 people identified and over 12,000 photographs.  

How to get involved

The State Library hosts sessions with people and organisations to identify aspects of these collections. Information about these sessions can be found on the events page. The Library& is also interested in working with community groups to provide training and access to the archive, and can provide one-on-one or small group sessions for group or individual visiting the State Library.

If you are interested in discussing the possibility of including your photographs, images, movies or music in the database please contact the project team at storylines@slwa.wa.gov.au.,

Using and being part of Storylines

The Archive allows users from all around the state to engage with Aboriginal stories, language, perspectives, and history. There are also two community-run databases in Mowanjum and Broome, Wurnan Storylines, and the Mangara Yawuru Storylines. These instances are run by the community according to their own needs and protocols.

The Storylines database has more than 12,000 photographs from around the state, as well as a number of oral histories, family trees, historical documents and other media files. Items on Storylines are sorted by different criteria including people, places, collections, and language groups. There are more than 3,800 people identified in the system.

Access to Storylines can be from a laptop or desktop computer or even a smartphone or tablet with internet access and using a standard web browser.

Once you have read the cultural warning click 'Continue' to load the login page. You can use the Guest Login button to jump straight into the database as a guest user - allowing you to search, view and print any material in the system which is not currently restricted.

You will also be able to leave annotations: stories or memories you would like to share with other users of the system, or information about photos or other items in the database.

Last updated on 22 September 2021