This article traces the efforts of a research team led by the Yolŋu elder and scholar, Neparrŋa Gumbula, to investigate his people’s recorded history in the University of Sydney Archives. This research has identified some of the earliest photographic and written records of Yolŋu life in Arnhem Land, Australia. Though consultations with the source communities of Miliŋinbi (Milingimbi) and Galiwin’ku (Elcho Island), it has also determined appropriate ways of maintaining ongoing local access to these rare archived materials. The article contextualises this research within broader international initiatives to locate and provide access to other early ethnographic records from Arnhem Land. It considers the role of digital technologies in providing remote community access, and how various access protocols can be implemented to ensure appropriate use.