Old words, new ways Continuing the language journey

Free showcase
8 August 2020 - 7 March 2021
kuril dhagun, level 1, State Library

Old words, new ways is an upcoming showcase that continues the language journey that began with Spoken and Jarjum stories.

Australia was home to more than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and 600 dialects before British arrival in 1770. Today, less than 50 of these are thriving. Only two are in Queensland. An estimated 100 ‘surviving’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are being maintained. The remaining 650 are considered ‘sleeping’.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are on a long journey to awaken languages once deemed ‘lost’. Communities are creating new knowledge to share their stories and using language in innovative ways. This showcase celebrates some of this work and the resilience of community to maintain, revive and speak their language.

Story Time

Mad Magpie by Gregg Dreise

Kamilaroi author/illustrator Gregg Dreise reads his award winning book, Mad Magpie.

Culture quest

Keep Indigenous languages alive and join us for a culture quest online. Find the animals and colour in the picture. As you go, complete the language challenge by pairing the English word with the listed First Nations language word using our online resources and tools!


A Deep Listening experience

Free | Bookings required Join us for a Deep Listening experience to the earthy and soothing sounds of the yidaki (didgeridoo). Deep Listening is an important practice within First Nations cultures and quiet reflection is the perfect way for community to come together.

Learning languages with State Library resources

Monthly | Online event Join us for monthly webinar sessions 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

Early, middle and senior years

Language toolkits

Useful information to promote community language revival programs and activities.

Library shop

Legends of Moonie Jarl

Moonie Jarl (Wilf Reeves) The Legends of Moonie Jarl tells the stories of the Butchulla people, the Indigenous people of Fraser Island and the Fraser Coast, Queensland.

Mad Magpie

Gregg Dreise Mad Magpie tells the story of Guluu, an angry magpie who is being teased by a gang of butcher birds.

Budburra's Alphabet

Budburrra Follow Budburra’s path through the alphabet and enjoy fun word play.

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Spoken Curator Tours

Join exhibition curators Des Crump and Naomi Takeifanga as they guide you through Spoken: celebrating Queensland languages.

Cape treasures

Cape Treasures is a collection of animations and group stories by children from four communities in Cape York.