Metal collars - various artists. Koorie Heritage Trust Foyer. Jamie Murcia 2015.

Our Purpose

Knowing who you are and where you come from is an essential part of identity and pride for Koorie people. Koorie people have been dispossessed of this knowledge through the policies and practices of past governments, including the taking away of children from family and Community. The main purpose of our Koorie Family History Service is to provide members of the Stolen Generations and their descendants with knowledge of their family tree, family history, culture and Community. We view our role as an important part of building pride and creating a sense of wellbeing in the Koorie Community.

For information regarding our Koorie Family History Service and the application process, please telephone 03 8662 6329 and ask for the Koorie Family History Service or email familyhistory@koorieheritagetrust.com. All information that you provide will be treated in the strictest confidence.


Our Work

Through our Koorie Family History Service, we provide confidential client-based genealogy research. We assist members of the Stolen Generations, Koories in custody and members of the Koorie Community to trace their family history and access records including:

  • Create family trees for members of the Stolen Generations, Koories in custody and members of the Koorie Community
  • Access personal records on behalf of clients from government and non-government agencies
  • Search government archives for information on family members
  • Gain copies of written material that relates to an individual’s family tree and helps to create a sense of their family history
  • Provide cultural information
  • Referrals to support providers
  • Provide family history advice for people searching for their heritage if we are unable to take them on as clients

As part of our work, we have built an extensive database of Koorie family trees and genealogy information. This confidential family tree database is a valuable tool, which our researchers use to assist Koorie clients searching for family, cultural and historical knowledge. We strive to ensure family trees are as accurate as possible.

We have an “open door” policy and will do our best to assist you subject to our program guidelines. If we are unable to take you on as a client, we will provide you with search advice and referrals.


Our Clients

However:

  • We can only provide you with a family tree if you meet the criteria and complete our application process.
  • We are unable to take you on as a client if you are under 18.
  • We are not authorised to provide confirmation of Aboriginality. Information about the criteria and process involved can be found on the AIATSIS website.

Stolen Generations

Our Koorie Family History Service was established in 2001 from recommendations of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families presented in the 1997 Bringing Them Home report. The Service was created specifically to assist members of the Stolen Generations and their families to access family history records and cultural information. Our first priority is therefore to help Stolen Generations clients and their families.

We have a broad understanding of the term “Stolen Generations” as we believe it encompasses Koorie people who may not officially be termed “stolen” but have been removed or separated from their Koorie family and therefore from their culture, heritage and identity. This also includes Koorie people whose parents or grandparents have been taken from their families, as their links to culture, heritage and identity have been affected.


Koories in custody

“There is a clear correlation between the breakdown of Aboriginal families, involvement of children in the protection and care system, and subsequent contact with the justice system.” (Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement, 1999)

Another priority group for us is Koories in custody. We provide a service to Koories in gaols and juvenile detention centres as many Koories do not have links to their culture and history. These clients cannot undertake family history research without someone on the outside acting on their behalf.


Koorie community

Our Koorie Family History Service has been funded to assist the Koorie Community to find links to family, culture and heritage. This is especially important as Koorie people and Communities often exist at a level of disadvantage disproportionate to the rest of the Australian community, or live in rural areas where service provision is not as extensive as it may be in metropolitan areas.

Working to assist individual members of the Koorie Community also assists us in the ongoing development of our confidential database of family trees and genealogy information. This in turn, assists our researchers in producing family trees for members of the Stolen Generations, who are still searching for their family.


Contact us

For more information regarding the application process, please telephone 03 8662 6329 and ask for the Koorie Family History Service or email familyhistory@koorieheritagetrust.com. All information that you provide will be treated in the strictest confidence.