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state library of queensland
First Nations cultures


Indigenous Knowledge Centres

From message stick to memory stick

By Indigenous Services | 21 July 2022

The Hope Vale Indigenous Knowledge Centre (IKC), established 21 July 2008, was originally known as the Indigenous Knowledge and Technology Centre (IKTC). The Centre was established in partnership with Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council, State Library, Dot Com Mob, SJB Architects, Work Ventures and the AMP Foundation. Care to journey back to 2008 for a glimpse of the original Hope Vale IKTC opening? Check out the short video below!

Hope Vale IKC opening speech by Shirley Costello

A few changes have occurred over the years for this remote community IKC, located about 50 kilometres from Cooktown. Hope Vale locals have dropped the ‘T’ and simply visit the ‘IKC’ these days. The partnership is streamlined too, now sitting squarely between Council and State Library. The IKC, recently refurbished inside and out, now features bilingual signage in Hope Vale’s Guugu Yimidhirr language as well as English, which has been a hit with the local community.

Hope Vale IKC

Guugu Yimidhirr signage at the Hope Vale IKC

Technically speaking…

Technology may not be part of the IKC name in 2022, but it continues to connect past with present. Hope Vale culture was showcased in a grand way as part of State Library’s 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages celebration, the Spoken exhibition. The Guugu Yimidhirr language was one of five Cape York and Torres Strait languages featured in these beautifully curated displays. Missed the exhibition? You can still explore Spoken through State Library’s virtual tour.

Word of the Week

International Year of Indigenous Languages Word of the Week in Guugu Yimidhirr

Hope Vale’s Guugu Yimidhirr language is perhaps best known for being one of the first Aboriginal languages ever recorded. When Captain (then Lieutenant) James Cook’s HM Bark Endeavour was being repaired in Cooktown after running aground on the Great Barrier Reef, botanical illustrator Sydney Parkinson recorded over 130 Guugu Yimidhirr words. One of these, ‘Gangurru’, later became the English term for all kangaroos. In the video below, Harold Ludwick tells the ‘shore to ship’ account of events during repairs to the Endeavour in 1770. Harold is from the Guugu Yimidhirr language group and works at the James Cook Museum in Cooktown, Queensland.

Spoken: Celebrating Queensland Languages with Harold Ludwick

What’s new in 2022

In 2022, we welcome new Hope Vale IKC Coordinator Tiffany Deeral to the network, welcome Tiffany!

One project on our 2022 calendar will see State Library partner with Council, the Hope Vale community and the Lutheran Archives in South Australia to undertake a process seeking cultural clearance for ~500 images held at the Archives. These images date from the 1800s through to the 1960s, and up to now have been accessible only to those able to make the nearly 3,000 kilometre trip from Hope Vale to South Australia to view the original photographs. With the help of State Library grant funding, Council partnered with the Archives in 2019 to digitise the images, and we look forward to working with the Hope Vale community in 2022 to determine suitability of providing digital public access to this important collection.

Exploring the collection

If you’d like to learn more about Hope Vale’s history, the links below are a good place to start your journey.

  • 31927 Hope Vale Indigenous Knowledge Centre radio broadcasts
    A selection of Hope Vale Indigenous Knowledge Centre weekly broadcasts called 'IKC on Broadcast' made at Radio 4ACR 107.7 Hope Vale between 28 June and 18 October 2018 and featuring IKC Coordinator Shirley Costello. In each broadcast, Shirley presents local history and introduces listeners to words and phrases in language
  • 7983 Schwarz Hope Vale Mission photograph albums 1890-1940

    Some description of this collection has been provided courtesy of Dr. Regina Ganter, Griffith University, from German Missionaries in Australia; A web-directory of intercultural encounters, Schwarz, Georg Heinrich (1868-1959). Three photograph albums from Hope Vale missionary during the time of Rev. Georg Schwarz. The photographs show everyday life of the Aboriginal Australians at the mission at Hope Vale. Includes images of local adults, children and family groups, buildings and farmyards of the mission, local scenery and the Schwarz family.

  • 7116 Dr Barbara Piscitelli AM Children's Art Archive 1986-2016; 2020 (To see Hope Vale view the collection guide, see series 13)
    A collection of drawings and paintings (works on paper) made by children in Australia, Vietnam and China between 1986 and 2016. A separate series was added following the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020, featuring art works and stories from children from Wuhan in China and four Brisbane kindergartens and primary schools created during June and July 2020.

Celebrating 20 years of IKCs

In 2002, the first Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs) were developed in partnership with then Aboriginal Community and Island Councils across Queensland. Seven IKCs were opened in 2002 with many more to follow over the years.

This year thirteen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Shire and Regional Councils will celebrate the role their IKCs play in their communities; as libraries, meeting places, hubs and keeping places.

Celebrating 20 years of IKCs


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