Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages

Did you know there are over 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language groups in Queensland? State Library of Queensland supports communities in the revival, documentation and preservation of traditional languages. We acknowledge language heritage and knowledge always remain with the Traditional Owners, Elders, language custodians and other community members of the respective language nation.

Interactive Queenslander Languages Map

Explore our interactive map on diverse Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Spoken virtual tour

We invite you to experience the Spoken exhibition from home with our interactive self-guided tour.

IYIL learning notes

Download a pdf of educator resources that support your school’s journey to discover the wealth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in Queensland. Materials can be adapted for your school and context across multiple year levels, to support online study as well as enhance exhibition visits.

IYIL at State Library

Throughout 2019 State Library's collections and programs will be in the spotlight for the United Nations' International Year of Indigenous Languages. 

State Library receives many queries and questions about languages and has developed the following Frequently Asked Questions in response to those of a generic nature.


Enjoy our monthly languages webinar series which will provide an overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language resources from State Library collections, including our online interactive languages map.

Indigenous Languages Coordinator, Desmond Crump, will lead the sessions to help raise community awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages across Queensland and will guide you through State Library’s resources that support language revival.


Lunchtime Lingo

State Library's Lunchtime Lingo series is an 'in-conversation' style session with community language workers sharing thier journeys and memories of language.

Word of the week

During the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, State Library highlighted a 'word of the week' from one of the 125+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and dialects from across Queensland. This year we are showcasing an A-Z of Queensland languages with a 'language of the week' that provides a snapshot of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language, where it was spoken, a selection of words and where to find further information in the collections or local community organisations.

IYIL exhibitions

Boy being chased by a crocodile from the childrens book The crocodile by Gregory Omeenyo

A kuril dhagun showcase focusing on children’s books and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language

Watercolour and crayon illustration

A thought-provoking exhibition about the survival and revival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Minya Birran: what now for Indigenous languages?

Coinciding with International Mother Language Day, the forum explored ways to harness the goodwill and energy of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages and posed the question of what now?

Indigenous languages resources

Check out these State Library resources for more information about Indigenous Languages.

Women participating in the Research Discovery Workshop at the State Library of Queensland

Discover a range of words from saying g’day to place names to animal names and more.

Scragg Sarah nd Dancers Performing at the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival 2009 Collection reference 10183 Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival photographs

Explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through photographs, manuscripts, oral histories and digital stories collections.

Woman using computer at the Caboolture public library

Our tool kits aim to provide community members, language workers and others with useful information to promote community language revival programs and activities.

Our Culture Song

The song written and sung by Hopevale IKC Coordinator, Dora Gibson, was recorded during a Regional Indigenous Languages Workshop in November 2014. Dora shows us how to preserve language and culture through song and music. Verses are in English with the chorus in Guugu Yimidhirr (Hopevale, Far North Queensland).

Funding acknowledgment: State Library's Indigenous Languages project is supported through funding from the Department of Communication and the Arts’ Indigenous Languages Support Program.