Indigenous Languages Residency (15-19 February 2021)

State Library of Queensland is hosting an Indigenous Languages Residency at the State Library in Brisbane from 15-19 February 2021. As part of the State Library's Indigenous Languages Project, there have been eight (8) Language Residencies since 2013 with 27 participants researching 20+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. The aim of the residency is to enhance the capacity of community language workers to research and manage their language revival.

The successful applicants will utilise State Library’s collections to undertake an intensive research activity into their community language/s. It is also envisaged that the Residency will generate new resource materials of significance and interest to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities working in language revival.  

The Indigenous Languages Residency covers travel and accommodation costs associated with the Residency and is aimed at language workers and community members who are currently working and/or researching Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and supporting language revival activities in communities. 

North Queensland Language Centre staff Dianne and Jenny at a research workshop.

During the one-week period of the Residency the successful applicant will be undertaking research into their nominated language(s) using materials in State Library’s collections. This activity is planned by the Language Resident and should be viewed as a week-long research project focusing on a particular language or topic related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.


  1. to facilitate intensive research into Queensland’s Indigenous languages;
  2. to explore language materials held in State Library collections;
  3. to undertake language/locality specific research; and
  4. to generate the production of new resource materials to support community language activities.

Meston Vocabulary Book.

The Indigenous Languages Residency is an initiative of State Library’s Indigenous Languages Project and supported with funding from the Indigenous Languages Support Program (ILS) from the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication: Office for the Arts.

The Residency will be used by an individual(s) in connection with the research and documentation of Queensland’s Indigenous languages from original sources, making use of the resources contained within the collections of State Library and, specifically, the John Oxley Library. There is an expectation that the Languages Residency will generate research outcomes that will be utilised within the community as well as be available within State Library collections. These outcomes will be negotiated between State Library and the successful applicant and may entail several formats, e.g. research paper, blog article, presentation, social media post, etc.

Comparative wordlist from Torres Strait, Cambridge Exhibition (1898).

NOTE: In light of current COVID-19 restrictions, the Indigenous Languages Residency will be conducted in a safe research environment for participants.


Further Details:

Expression of Interest forms can be downloaded at the end of the webpage or contact Desmond Crump [ ], Indigenous Languages Coordinator at State Library. Applications for the Residency close 13 January 2021!


Desmond Crump

Indigenous Languages Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

State Library of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Webpages

State Library of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Map


Spoken: Celebrating Queensland languages exhibition

Spoken Virtual Tour

Jarjum Stories exhibition

Minya Birran: What next for Indigenous Languages?



Cover image: Noel and Perry from Aurukun undertaking research at State Library.

NQRCALC Staff Dianne and Jenny at a research workshop.

Meston Vocabulary Notebook # 6 in Archibald Meston Papers. OM64-17

Comparative wordlist from Torres Strait, in Haddon, A. C, (1898) Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres StraitsRBQ 994.38 CAM


References and Further Reading

State Library collections hold a significant number of items relating ot Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages which can be utilised for the Indigenous Languages Residency as well as individual research - a small selection of the 2,800+ items is listed here; visit the One Search Catalogue for further details.

Barlow, H. (1873) The Aboriginal dialects of QueenslandOnline version available via One Search.

Blake, B.J. (1979b) “Pitta-Pitta”. In Dixon, R. M. W. & Blake, B. (Eds), The handbook of Australian languages 1, 182-242. G 499.15 1979

Breen, G. (2009) “The Biri dialects and their neighbours”. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, V133, No.2. SER 506.942

Breen, J.G. (1990) Salvage Studies of Western Queensland Aboriginal Languages. Pacific Linguistics Series B – No. 105. Australian National University: Canberra. J499.15 BRE

Curr, E. M. (1887) The Australian Race: its origins, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia and the routes by which it spread itself over that continent. John Ferres Government Printer: Melbourne. RBF 572.994 cur

Dixon, R. M. W. (1977) A grammar of YidinG 499.155 1977

Dixon, R. and Blake, B. (Eds) (1981) Handbook of Australian Languages. The Australian National University Press; Canberra. G 499.15 1979

Eipper, C. & Lang, J. (1841) Statement of the origin, condition and prospects of the German mission to the Aborigines at Moreton Bay, conducted under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church in New South WalesRBJ 266.529431 EPP

Eseli, P. Eseli's Notebook. S 306.089 001

Haddon, A. C. (1898) Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres StraitsRBQ 994.38 CAM

Harriet Barlow Manuscript, ca 1865 OM91-69

Holmer, N. Notes on Some Queensland LanguagesJ 499.15 HOL

Holmer, N. (1983) Linguistic Survey of South-Eastern QueenslandJ 499.15 HOL

Kite, S. and Wurm, S. (2004) The Duungidjawu language of southeast Queensland: grammar, texts and vocabulary: Pacific Linguistics 553. J 499.15 KIT

L R Schwennesen Papers M 292

Lawrie, M. The Margaret Lawrie Collection of Torres Straits MaterialsTR2082

MacGillivray, J. Narrative of the Voyage of the HMS RattlesnakeG 994.02 1967

Archibald Meston Papers. OM64-17

Mushin, I. (2012) A Grammar of (Western) GarrwaJ 499.15 MUS

Nancarrow, C. (2014) Gangalidda to English dictionary. Compiled by Cassy Nancarrow. J 499.15 GAN 

Nekes, H., Wurms, E. and McGregor, W. (2006) Australian LanguagesJ 499.15 NEK

W Ridley Notebook, 1855. OM79-32/17

Ridley, W. (1866) Kamilaroi, Dippil, and Turrubul: languages spoken by Australian aboriginesRBJ 499.15 RID

Roth, W. E. (1898-1903) “Reports to the Commissioner of Police and others, on Queensland aboriginal peoples 1898-1903.” FILM 0714

Sharpe, M. (1998) Dictionary of Yugambeh, including neighbouring dialects, compiled by Margaret Sharpe from various sources: Pacific Linguistics C-139.  G 499.15 1998

Sutton, P. (ed) (1974) Languages of Cape York: papers presented to the Linguistic Symposium, Part B, held in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Biennial General Meeting, May,1974 G 499.15 1976

Terrill, A. (1998) Biri. J 499.15 TER

Tindale, N. B. (1974) Aboriginal tribes of Australia: their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits and proper namesQ 994.0049915 tin

Watson, F. J. (1944) “Vocabularies of four representative tribes of South Eastern Queensland”; supplement to the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia (Queensland), No. 34, Vol XLVIII. REFJ 499.15 wat

Watson, F. J. (1941) F J Watson Papers 1941 OM73-20

Welsby, T. (1916) “Recollections of the Natives of Moreton Bay together with some of their names and customs of living.” (Typescript) 6758 Box 11392.


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