In Living Memory Exhibition

The In Living Memory exhibition was developed by State Records New South Wales. Launched in 2006, it showcased photographs from the former New South Wales Aborigines Protection and Welfare Boards (1919-1966). The exhibition was so well received that it was extended over a period at the State Records office at the Rocks, while a separate touring version was developed to travel to 18 venues around NSW.

I was a member of the team who developed the exhibition, and contributed to the In Living Memory NSW Tour. Aboriginal photographer Mervyn Bishop documented contemporary interactions with images, and connections with communities.

A core component of the exhibition was community consultation and participation.

The exhibition was reviewed by Victoria Haskins:

“The photographs frequently depict Aboriginal people who are deceased, which is a matter of sensitivity in itself, but there are also the issues around the power relationship between the viewer and the person or people depicted. So fraught has this issue been that in recent years a number of major museums have become very wary indeed of public exhibitions showing historical photographs of Aboriginal people. The challenge for State Records NSW in finding a way to make these photographs accessible to those to whom they mean the most is not to be underestimated, and it is a tribute to the abilities of the cross-cultural exhibition team, and the generosity of the Aboriginal communities they consulted, that this exhibition has come to be. But on top of that, they have managed to pull together a truly stunning and unique exhibition.”

Haskins, V., 2007. Review of In Living Memory, State Records Gallery. History Australia, (1), pp.18-1. Accessed here:

In Living Memory Exhibition. Photographs courtesy, State Records NSW.
In Living Memory Exhibition. Photographs courtesy, State Records NSW.

The Sydney Morning Herald produced an online video when the exhibition was launched, featuring members of the Stolen Generation who spoke about the importance of this history being told.

Further resources and references to the project:

In living memory : exhibition catalogue, State Records Gallery:

Charlton, Susan. In Living Memory [Exhibition of New South Wales Aborigines Welfare Board photographs at State Records NSW. Paper in: The Archive Issue. Richardson, Elvis and Goffman, Sarah (eds).] [online]. Photofile, No. 78, Spring 2006: 34-37. Availability:<;dn=200610220;res=IELAPA> ISSN: 0811-0859. [cited 29 Jul 17]:;dn=200610220;res=IELAPA 

Ballina gallery hosts In Living Memory photographic exhibition: