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Northern Territory - Archival Series

Garden Point Baptismal Register (1940 - 2009)

Reference No
Series 002
Legal Status
Roman Catholic Church, Diocese of Darwin Reference Number

The Garden Point Baptismal Register consists of one large volume kept at the Garden Point Mission on Melville Island from 1940 to 2009. Many early entries include names of children in care at the Garden Point Mission. There are also entries for other children born on the Tiwi Islands, children from Northern Territory cattle stations and World War II Japanese internment camps as well as other parts of Australia.


Access Conditions

Because of the potentially private and personal content of records in this Archival Series, it is only open only to family relations and people who experienced 'care' through the Garden Point Mission upon request.

You may be directed to a digital copy of records in this Archival Collection due to the condition of the original records. Some records deteriorate due to age and are no longer in one piece (they may literally fall apart), become faded, or suffer from mould or water damage etc. In these instances the original record may no longer be legible. Digital copies are used not only to prevent damage to the fragile original records by reducing the amount of handling, but also to present records in readable format.

People who lived at the Garden Point Mission or at other missions or institutions run by the Catholic Church in the Northern Territory may be able to amend records about them.


Entries in the Garden Point Admission Register, though not always chronological, are generally listed by date of baptism, and include a number (num.), surname (cognomen), first name (nomen christianum), date of birth (natus), place of birth (domicilium), name of father (patris nomen et cognomen), name of mother (matris nomen et cognomen paternum), date of baptism (dies baptismi), place of baptism (locus baptismi), name of person carrying out the baptism (nomen rectoris vel alterius baptizantis), name of godparents (nomina patrinorum), date of confirmation (confirmatus fuit), details of marriage (contraxit matrimonium) and notes (notanda).

Most of the baptisms were performed at the Our Lady of Victory Church, Garden Point and elsewhere on the Tiwi Islands. Garden Point is also referred to as Pirlangimpi and Pularumpi depending on the preference of the scribe. Early entries rarely include full details of the baptised individual, and the comment "in periculo mortis", the Latin phrase for "in danger of death", indicates an immediate urgency behind many of the early baptisms.

The register is extremely fragile, and some of the later entries are fragmented due to the deterioration and continued use of the volume before it was transferred to the Diocesan Archives in Darwin. The whole volume has now been digitised to prevent further deterioration through continuous usage. In addition, all entries have been transcribed into an Excel spreadsheet, which will facilitate searching in the future. Searchers should note that names and other details often appear to be misspelled. Alternative spellings should be entered in the remarks column of the spread sheet.

Prepared by: Anita Maertens and Elizabeth Daniels