Borroloola

The town of Borroloola, 50km from the mouth of the McArthur River in the Gulf of Carpentaria, was proclaimed on 10 September 1885. 

Borroloola is in the traditional lands of the Yanyuwa, Mara, Karawa and Kurandji people. 

An understanding of the town’s geographical location can demonstrate the remote nature of the town – it is situated 1,000kms south east from Darwin on the Northern Territory (NT) side of the Queensland border.

Borroloola is a small town with a colourful past. The often wild and eccentric nature of the town and its inhabitants has been romanticised by popular authors such as Ernestine Hill, Douglas Lockwood, Bill Harney and Ted Egan.

The Yanyuwa people divide the contact history of the region into the following six sections – macassan time, "wild times", police times, welfare times, land right times and tourist times. (Richard Baker, Land is Life, 1999).

Borroloola 's population is now approximately 700 people, with the majority of these being Aboriginal. Although it remains a service centre for surrounding pastoral properties, the town's main industries are now tourism and mining.

The series of records listed here may not all be available on open public access. Northern Territory Archives Service (NTAS) staff will advise you about access.

For up to date information consult the NTAS List of Holdings or List of Government and Community Records Relating to Borroloola (29.1 kb). Oral histories are not included in this list. 

Contact the NTAS for more information.

Personal archives

The personal records are listed according to the surname of the person who created or deposited the records with the NTAS. 

The series listed in this category are mostly personal papers and photographs.

The oral history records are listed against the name of the person who has been interviewed. The interviews are in the format of tapes, cds and transcripts.

The list of personal archives are as follows:

BAIRD, Evelyn
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 154

BIRT, Gordon R.
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 13
NTRS 270 Personal records, autobiography and photographs featuring police life and work throughout the NT 1929-1980
NTRS 1518 Photographic copyprints of Darwin, Katherine and Timber Creek

BLITNER, Gerry
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 17, TS 160

BOWIE, Sydney
NTRS 575 Photographic copyprints of NT Advisory Council and Police Cadetsc.1918-1966

BRIDGLAND, Raymond Reece
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 164

CAIN, William Henry (Bill)
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 170

DAMASO, Babe
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 185

DARCY, George (Wagga)
NTRS 219 Oral history interview TP 602
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 644

DAVIES, J E
NTRS 234 CP 779-790 Photographic copyprints of Alexandria Station and Borroloola 1928
NTRS 1426 Photographic copyprints of Brunette Downs and other stations in the NT 1916-1930
NTRS 1463 Personal photographs of pastoralism and scenes in NT, Nth Queensland and Mt Isa

ELDER, Peter
NTRS 1884 Photographs relating to the first Borroloola Land Claim Hearings by Aboriginal Land Commissioner Justice Toohey 1977
NTRS 1885 Diary relating to the first Borroloola Land Claim Hearings by Aboriginal Land Commissioner Justice Toohey 1977-1978

FRANCIS, John
NTRS 1424 Personal photographs of Borroloola n.d.

GARTON, Len
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 535

HARMANIS, Helene
NTRS 226 Oral history interviews TS 63, TS 414

HARMANIS, Louis
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 62

HARNEY, Bill (Senior)
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 235 ("Harney's War" interview on ABC)

HEATHCOCK, Ruth
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 240

JOHNSON, Joyce
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 69

MAHONY, Kathleen Mary
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 446 (1-2)

McKINNON, Inspector William (Bill)
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 789

MUIR, Hilda
NTRS 226 Oral history interviews TS 290,TS 794

OLIVER, Vena
NTRS 1267 Oral history interview TS 9008

PROBIN, Arnold
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 743

PROBIN, Betty
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 742

SCHULTZ, Carl E.
NTRS 234 CP 618-621 & CP 958-985 Photographic copyprints
NTRS 341 Photographs, papers and diary of experiences c.1925-1942

SHEEHAN, Helen
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 482

SWEENEY, Gordon
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 337

TEECE, Kate
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 652

TRENCHARD, Peter
NTRS 226 Oral history interview TS 717

WAUCHOPE, Alan James
NTRS 702 Photographs of Vic Hall, Alex Bethune and Cordulla Ebaterinja c.1940s

YOUNG, Mayse
NTRS 1434 Photographic copyprints featuring aviation, Aborigines, Darwin and other Top End locations

Last updated: 18 April 2016