Information institutions have been fearful of being reprimanded, thus deny access to everything or remove items which they deemed offensive, which are not.  Wantima does not want to do this.

I want people to see what is in the repositories of information institutions and make up their own decisions.

Wantima will not seek cultural clearance for material that is readily available on open access in information institutions and which has been viewed in the public domain and freely available digital via online platforms.

WARNING … If you are concerned or are fearful of breaking your cultural belief, then do not continue.

I have viewed material as an Aboriginal person and do not find the images offensive.

  1. State Library of Queensland
    • Bwgcolman CPC Summary (open access)
    • Photographic Albums
  2. Fryer Library
  3. Queensland State Archives
  4. Townsville Library
  5. Community and Personal Histories

Please note that images are in a pdf format and of low resolution, so if you want to use an image for publication or family album, please contact the relevant institution.

State Library of Queensland

There are a multitude of albums and copy print collection that are not online but available if you enter into the library, as you can order these material to view.

Palm Island Copy Print Collection.

Bwgcolman CPC Summary.  Available on open access in John Oxley Library, 233 images available, with 28 available online, but 18 not view-able because of cultural clearance.

Albums – Accession Numbers

2911 Charles and Elsa Chauvel Photographs and Papers 1911 (Click on title to view pdf).

A large collection of Newspaper clippings, personal papers, photographs, negatives, glass plates, posters and brochures relating to the lives and careers of Charles and Elsa Chauvel. Includes material relating to the Chauvel films,  “Uncivilised” 1936,  which was filmed in Palm Island There is also material relating to their television series “Walkabout”. Link to digital item:

2969 John Tyrie Papers and Photographs 1919 (Click on title to view pdf)

Family papers including photographs of mining in Mt Isa and Townsville and also photographs of Aborigines in North Queensland, possibly Palm Island. Image of Aboriginal males with traditional body artwork, females dressed carrying supplies on head.  States Palm Island on catalogue but I don’t think so.   Link to record:  Link to digital item:

4831 Postcard Collection (Click on title to view pdf)

Two photographs which are of a beach view.  Negative Number: 4831-0001-0021  (ref: Negative Number : 26310 & 136868). Link to digital item: (Awaiting Cultural Clearance)

5798 Royal Geographical Society of Queensland Photographs 1894  (Click on title to view pdf)

One large mounted black and white photograph of the beach at Palm Island, North Queensland. Box 14226 O/S: Link to this record:

6030 API_94 Plass Photograph Album 1931-1932 (Click on title to view pdf)

Album titled My Trip to Australia. Trip started from home in El Paso, Texas, USA in 1931 for Mount Isa Mines Ltd, Mount Isa, Queensland. Numerous Indigenous images, but only three pertaining to Palm IslandLink to this record:

6247 North Qld Trip 1929 (Click on Title to view pdf)

Photographs of Sydney, the Brisbane River, Brisbane, and, particularly the Barrier Reef, Magnetic Island, Palm Island, Kuranda and the Cairns region. The album includes a number of photographs of a Palm Island corroboree and other photographs of local Aborigines. There is an emphasis on beach and river scenes. In a string-bound album and captioned in white ink. All photographs 11 x 6 cm. There are a total of 118 in the album.  Link to this record:

6268 J Kenneth Brown Photograph Albums 1937 (Click on Title to view pdf) (Awaiting Cultural Clearance) [available online]

Images is coloured with a girl balancing on a wooden fence.  No Negative – Not marked on catalogue under Palm Island but the writing at the bottom of this image states Trees and Shade on Palm Island N.Q.Link to digital item:  Link to record:

6944 Ipswich and Brisbane display photographs (Click on Title to view pdf)

Boats landing at Palm Island, Queensland, ca. 1940.  Same Palm Island images held in 28172 Queensland Tourist Photographs.  These The original images was discarded after scanning as they were old exhibition copy prints. The scans are available on Picture Queensland, under Negative Number:  6944-0001-0033. Link to digital item:

7489 Tindale Genealogical Collection (7489 Tindale Photographic Index)  or (7489 Tindale Photo images).

Theses photographs are people with names attached.  I was going to get these images approved by Palm Island Council, but there was no restriction on these images. I opened Cherbourg photographs via “Cherbourg” facebook and had a lot of people view the images with no complaints.

View Index first to see if you family is in this collection and if so then view photographs.

For more information view the State Library Tindale site at

7828 Culmer Family   (Click on Title to view pdf)

Only one Indigenous image in this album of the Palm Island dancers in a stage shot (Awaiting Cultural Clearance).  Negative 82495. Link to this record:

7922 Palm Island Photographs 1929 (Click on Title to view pdf)

Two photographs of Palm Island.  Negatives Number: 181577.  Link to this record:

28089 Hamish Cairns Palm Island Photographs 2008 (Click on Title to view pdf) [available online]

Great collection of over 350 images which can be viewed online, therefore I have only chosen a few of my favourite to show the variety of images for Palm Island.  Link to digital item:

28172 Queensland Tourist Photographs 1940  (Click on Title to view pdf)

Six monochrome photographs mounted on card board depicting (1) Tourists landing at Palm Island, N.Q.; (2) On Cook Highway, Cairns to Port Douglas, N.Q.; (3) Daydream Island, Whitsunday Passage, N.Q.; (4) Bribie Passage at Donnybrook; (5) Albert River Gorge, Lamington National Park; (6) Scene at Currumbin. Possibly used for display in Queensland Railway Carriages. Same image as 6944 Ipswich and Brisbane display photographs. Link to this record:

28376 MV Manoora n visit to Palm Island 1938 (Click on Title to view pdf)

Ten black and white photographs taken while sailing up the coast of Queensland and going ashore by motor launch and row boat at Palm Island. Eight of the images are taken at Palm Island and include the local people dancing to entertain the visitors.  Link to this record:

28998 Cast Members of the Charles Chauvel Film Uncivilised 1936  (Click on Title to view pdf)

Eight black and white photographs taken during a studio party on the film set of “Uncivilised”.  This is the only image with Indigenous people. Link to this record:

29369 Paramount Week’ on Palm Island Photograph 1931  (Click on Title to view pdf)

One black and white photograph depicting a group of indigenous and white people in front of a wooden building with a sign above its entrance which reads: ‘Palm Island Aboriginal Settlement joins in the Paramount Week Celebrations, 1931’.  Link to this record:

29833 Colour Transparencies of Palm Island  (Click on Title to view pdf)

28 Colour transparencies taken on trips around Queensland including Lake Barrine, Port Douglas, Redcliffe and Palm Island. Only Six relate to Palm Island.  Link to this record:

30163 SS Wandana off Palm Island  (Click on Title to view pdf)

Photograph of S.S. Wandana, with Palm Island in the background. The Wandana, a passenger/cargo vessel, was built by Mackie & Thomson Govan, Glasgow, in 1913. In 1931 it was purchased by John Burke (Queensland) Pty Ltd. It was scrapped in Brisbane in 1953.  Link to this record:

30377 Many Peaks Hospital Photographs 1910  (Click on Title to view pdf)

Collection contains four large photographs related Many Peaks Hospital, ca. 1910-1915. The collection also includes a small album containing colour and black and white postcards of North Queensland views, an original photograph of Palm Island (below).  Link to this record:

30437 Julia Koppe 1968  (Click on Title to view pdf)

A large collection of negatives, slides and photographs mostly depicting Aboriginal children on Palm Island. These images were assembled and largely photographed by Julia Koppe. Many of the photographs relate to Julia Koppe’s research into education of Aboriginal children, largely as lead researcher of the Queensland Department of Education’s Van Leer Project. Images depict children both in educational settings and at play. A large amount of the photographs are close-up portraits of children. There are also some images of scenery around Palm Island. Given that the Van Leer Project also focussed on Cherbourg as well as Palm Island, there are likely to be some photographs of that community as well. There are also some personal images, unrelated to Julia Koppe’s research work. This collection includes a large custom-made carry case for this photographic material.  Link to this record:

30476 Palm Island Dance Team Educational Unit  (Click on Title to view pdf)

This collection is in the form of a proposal for an education unit focused on a Palm Island aboriginal youth dance team. Included are a manual giving instructions and objectives for the unit, captioned colour photographs of the dancers, indexed colour slides of the team, and general information about the team and Palm Island. The manual refers to an accompanying video that is not included in this collection.   Link to this record:

30656 Robert n Rosina Muller photographs  (Click on Title to view pdf)

Photographs taken by Robert and Rosina Muller while travelling in Queensland. There are only two images in this collection pertaining to Palm Island.  Link to this record:

30690 Palm Island photographs and slides 1954-1959   (Click on Title to view pdf)

Elaine Alexander, the photographer, was employed by the Queensland Education Department from approximately 1921 up until 1960. During this time she served as a teacher at Palm Island from 1954 to 1959. She died in 1989.  Link to this record:

31493 Palm Island Centenary Commemoration Photographs 2018   (Click on Title to view pdf) [available online]

2018 marks the centenary of the first placement of people on Palm Island commemorated with events that acknowledge the past, accept the present, and plan for the future – a centennial commemoration of the community’s connection to Palm Island.

Palm Island, also known as Great Palm Island, or by the Aboriginal name Bwgcolman, is a tropical island with a resident community of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The island is 50 kilometres East of Ingham and 65 kilometres north-west of Townsville, on the east coast of Queensland.  Unrestricted access.  Record Link:  Digital Link:


Fryer Library

The Fryer Memorial Library of Australian Literature was founded in 1927 in honour of John Denis Fryer. For over 90 years, we have been collecting a rich store of unique cultural material, supporting students and researchers in their research projects and hosting events for our community of scholars. Find out how our library go to

Seven photographs of corroboree, Palm Island, Queensland, May 1925

Spurgin, Gwendolyn E. M. (1925). Seven photographs of corroboree, Palm Island, Queensland, May 1925. Album, ca. 1927-ca. 1930, F3718, page 5.

Please note:  that there are over twenty images in this album which are viewable via Fryer Library – Palm Island.


Queensland State Archives

Queensland Archives hold a large amount of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander personal history.  They have an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander site,  but are not a very friendly organisation to use, thus Community and Personal Histories are needed as interpreters of their records.

Queensland State Archives – State Archives search result.


Townsville Library

Townville Library are willing to assist Aboriginal people.  I have visited their library and found it fascinating and informative so if you are from Palm Island visit them and view their Townsville Library. 


Community and Personal Histories

Community and Personal Histories section which have councillors to assist you with navigating the Queensland State Archives Records.

Community and Personal Histories, have an office in the Public Search Room at Queensland State Archives. The office is staffed most days, however, it is a good idea to phone on 07 3273 3949 before travelling to the Public Search Room at Runcorn. Alternatively, you may call 1800 650 230 for assistance.

Address:  1 William St, Brisbane City QLD 4000  (07) 3404 8375

The Community and Personal Histories has images, but they are not on open access… nor have they provided permission to place their images online.