About the collections

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) develops, maintains and preserves well-documented collections and provide the best possible access to our collection items to pass knowledge to current and future generations. 

Our collection promotes a unique understanding of Indigenous Australians, past and present, and many items cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Many of our collection items are the result of our fieldwork and film production activities, and donations from Indigenous Australians have steadily helped the collections grow.

Read more about the significance of our collection

One of our founders, W E H Stanner, was the main initial contributor to our collections. His maps, sketches, notes, diaries, photographs, audio recordings and publications are still heavily utilised by researchers and visitors alike.


Art and Artefacts collection including over 500 artworks and 400 artefacts.

Books and printed material amounting to over 175,680 titles, including over 1,800 reference texts, 3,740 serials titles, and over 16,000 books.

Film collection containing more than 5,000 video titles and 830 film titles (over 6.5 million feet of motion picture film).

The Australian Indigenous Languages Collection contains over 4,400 titles and has been placed on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register.

manuscript and rare books collection with over 11,000 manuscript titles, 2,700 rare books, 2,200 rare pamphlets and almost 1,700 rare serial titles with 14,650 issues. 

Pictorial collection of over 650,000 photographs relating to Indigenous Australia, dating from the late 1800s to the present day. 

Approximately 40,000 hours of Sound, most of which is unique and unpublished. 

Last reviewed: 10 Feb 2017