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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains images, voices and names of deceased persons.

Return of material to Indigenous communities

We recognise the value of material in the AIATSIS Collection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations.

Our return of material to Indigenous communities (ROMTIC) program allows for up to 20 copies of collection items to be provided for personal use, free of charge every financial year. The ROMTIC program It is not intended for individuals or organisations who are producing something for profit.

Returning materials from the AIATSIS Collection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and communities allows improved access to our Collection and helps individuals reconnect with their family history, cultures and knowledge.

Our Collection includes art and object, books, manuscript and printed materials, film and video, languages, photographs and sound all dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories.

The Collection reflects both continuity and change in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Australia

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals are entitled to obtain digital or hard copies of up to 20 items relating to their family, community or cultures free of charge each financial year. Further requests for additional items can be made in future financial years.

    Items could be things such as photographs, audio files, moving image files or up to 50 pages of a manuscript or book. A collection may include hundreds or thousands of items, up to 20 individual items need to be selected that are most relevant per request. 

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations include, but are not limited to, art centres, language centres, cultural centres or cultural groups.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations can request up to three collections depending on the size and the access conditions of the collection. Each request will be assessed on a case by case basis. 

    AIATSIS does not currently have the capacity or resourcing to fulfil large requests by organisations. 

  • Access conditions and copyright

    Collection material requested under the ROMTIC program is subject to access conditions and the Copyright Act. Access conditions apply to all clients, including individuals and organisations requesting material under the ROMTIC program.

    We acknowledge this process may be difficult for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as this material is often representing them, their family, kinship, clan or community.

    Individuals or organisations who have been sent copies of material from the AIATSIS Collection are not legally allowed to make further copies of materials or distribute them further. 

    Anyone who wishes to obtain copies of material in the AIATSIS Collection, must contact the Collection Access Unit.

  • Requesting material

    Non-Indigenous people who are acting on behalf of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person or organisation need to specify their relationship to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person or organisation.

    When engaging with an Access Officer it is important that a client doesn’t assume that the Access Officer is aware of their specific family or community location, history or story. It is not possible for Access Officers to be familiar with all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups and heritage. Access Officers ensure that when processing requests they acknowledge and respect the complex values, beliefs and practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.