Say ‘g’day’ in an Indigenous language for NAIDOC Week

Queenslanders are encouraged to greet each other in their local Indigenous language this NAIDOC Week for a new campaign promoting cultural awareness.

Say ‘g’day’ in an Indigenous language will run over the week of NAIDOC celebrations from 6–13 July 2014. Say ‘g’day’ invites Queensland communities to discover and use an Indigenous greeting from the traditional language of their local area.

Led by the Yugambeh Museum Language and Heritage Research Centre, in partnership with State Library of Queensland, and supported by Dreamworld Corroboree, The Smith Family Partnership Brokers, The City of Gold Coast and 91.7 ABC Gold Coast, Say ‘g’day’ supports a larger state-wide movement dedicated to the preservation of Queensland’s Indigenous languages.

State Librarian Janette Wright said participating in the campaign was a great way for Queensland communities to recognise the existence and importance of traditional Indigenous languages.

“Discovering local languages helps us connect with and better understand Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. This connection is what NAIDOC Week is all about,” Ms Wright said.

“Preserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages is vital to ensuring a rich cultural future for our state. The survival of these languages is reliant on them being shared, which is the responsibility of all Queenslanders.”

More than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and dialects were once spoken in Queensland. Today only 50 of these continue to be spoken, fewer than 20 are used as first languages — predominantly in Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait ― and only two languages are categorised as ‘living’ or ‘thriving’.

Preserving and sharing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage, knowledge and experiences is a key priority for State Library.

“Our focus goes beyond just documenting these languages as part of Queensland’s past; State Library is dedicated to ensuring traditional languages are not only remembered but are accessible for future generations,” Ms Wright said.

State Library of Queensland has been working with a network of Indigenous Language Centres, community organisations and other groups over a number of years to document, preserve and share Indigenous languages.

“Most recently we’ve charted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages spoken throughout Queensland through an interactive Indigenous languages map. Say ‘g’day’ spotlights Indigenous languages and provides a way for people to connect with Queensland’s Indigenous cultures. Without being valued, heard and spoken today, these languages are at risk of being forgotten, and with them, some of the richness of Queensland’s living culture and memory,” Ms Wright said.

Rory O’Connor, Director of the Yugambeh Museum said that Say ‘g’day’ is part of a cultural activation program called ‘Yugambeh Mobo’, which is a community movement to connect the population of Queensland to local Aboriginal stories, language, tastes and culture through a series of annual events.

All Queensland communities are encouraged to get behind the Say ‘g’day’ campaign during NAIDOC Week.


Word lists with greetings from more than 25 Indigenous languages across Queensland are available on the State Library of Queensland website www.slq.qld.gov.au and Yugambeh Museum website www.yugambeh.com.

For more information on the Say ‘g’day’ campaign and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, visit slq.qld.gov.au/resources.

Say ‘g’day’ was developed through State Library’s Indigenous Languages project which is supported by funding from the Indigenous Languages Support Program (ILS) from the Australian Government Attorney-General Department, Ministry for the Arts.

Media enquiries
Kirri-Lee Huggett, SLQ Communications 07 3842 9803 | kirri-lee.huggett@slq.qld.gov.au

Useful links
G’day word lists in Indigenous languages
Indigenous languages map of Queensland
Information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages

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