Monthly Languages Resources Webinar series

State Library will be hosting a series of monthly language webinars to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members on their language journeys. While COVID-19 continues to impact on the delivery of community workshops, these sessions will provide an overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language resources from the State Library Collections as well as other sources.

The webinars will occur the first Monday of each month commencing in September 2020 and continuing until June 2021 - NOTE the exception being Tuesday 6 October due to Public Holiday. Each session will be live from 12.30-1.30pm; however, these will also be recorded and made available online via the State Library website as well as added to the One Search catalogue.


Vocabulary of the Wulili language,Auburn, Redbank, Camboon, Walloor on the Dawson. Mathew (1926).

Different topics will be explored as well as several guest speakers to share their language knowledge; a proposed schedule for the series is as follows:

7 Sep 2020

Session 1

Researching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages at State Library of Queensland - an overview of the resources held at the State Library and how to access and use them for your language.

6 Oct 2020

Session 2

State Library Interactive Languages Map - a walk-through demonstration of the Interactive Languages Map which features ~155 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and dialects from across Queensland.

2 Nov 2020

Session 3

Meston Papers - Archibald Meston was the Southern Protector of Aborigines under the Protection Act; the papers are a silver lining to that dark era and hold rich gems on Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

7 Dec 2020

Session 4

Margaret Lawrie Collection - Margaret Lawrie collected an extensive range of materials from the Torres Strait, including languages, genealogies, songs, dances and cultural knowledge. 

4 Jan 2020

Session 5

Pastoral Records - one of the more unusual sources of language information are the records or journals of pastoralists, many who recorded language from their station workers.

1 Feb 2021

Session 6

Tindale Collection - the South Australian Museum holds the entire Tindale Collection; however, State Library of Queensland has copies of the genealogical sheets for Queensland communities.These are a rich source of family history but also contain references to language.

1 Mar 2021

Session 7

Church Records - many of Queensland's Aboriginal missions and Torres Strait Islander communities had churches and / or missionaries who documented language through translation of bible texts, sermons, etc.

5 Apr 2021

Session 8

Indigenous Language Centres - there are five language centres across Queensland who support community language revival and maintenance; State Library works closely with these organisations. Find out more about their work during this session.

3 May 2021

Session 9

Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs) - there are 22 IKCs across Queensland in mainland Aboriginal communities as well as Torres Strait Islands. State Library in partnership with local councils supports the work of IKCs who serve as libraries, keeping places and community hubs. Learn about IKC language activities in community.

7 Jun 2021

Session 10

Other Collections: AIATSIS, SLNSW, UQ Fryer Library - while State Library has significant items relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, other collecting institutions have materials, especially language recordings. During this webinar, participants will find out how to access these materials.

Aurukun Community Language Workshop (2017).

While community language workshops such as the above are restricted, State Library can still support community members and language workers through online engagement activities such as this series of webinars.

We look forward to seeing you at this online event - registration details are available at What's On!


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: State Library Research Discovery Languages Workshop, 2016.

Vocabulary of the Wulili language, Auburn, Redbank, Camboon, Walloor on the Dawson. Mathew (1926).

Aurukun Language Workshop, 2017.


References and Further Reading

The following is a selection of items from the State Library's collections that can support community language research and revival.

OM91-69 Harriet Barlow Manuscript ca. 1865. 

Breen, J.G. (1981) The Mayi Languages of the Queensland Gulf Country. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Press. J 499.15 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 continentRBF 572.994 cur

Dixon, R. and Blake, B. (Eds) (1979) Handbook of Australian LanguagesG 499.15 1979

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

Hobson, J., Lowe, K., Poetsch, S. and Walsh, M (Eds) (2010) Re-awakening languages: theory and practice in the revitalisation of Australia’s indigenous languages.  499.15 2010

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

Holmer, N. (1988) Notes on Some Queensland LanguagesJ 499.15 HOL

Jukes, J. Narrative of the surveying voyage of the HMS Fly. J 919.43 JUK

Lawrie, M. Myths and legends of the Torres StraitQ 398.2099438 MYT

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

Mathew, J. (1910) Two representative tribes of Queensland: with an inquiry concerning the origin of the Australian raceJ 306.0899915 MAT

Mathew, J. (1926) "Vocabulary of (i) the Kiramai Language, Herbert River, Queensland, and of (ii) the Wulili Language, Auburn, Redbank, Camboon, Walloor on the Dawson", Report of the Eighteenth Meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, pp. 547-550. NAT 500 AUS 

OM64-17 Archibald Meston Papers.

Ray, S. Dictionary of Torres Strait LanguagesQ 499.1503 RAY

6341 Dr Wilhelm Rechnitz Papers

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

Watson, F. J. (1944) Vocabularies of Four Representative Tribes of South Eastern QueenslandREFJ 499.15 wat


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