kuril dhagun is a welcoming place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to connect with State Library services and collections. It is a place for community to meet, gather, discuss and celebrate. It is also a place of authentic learning, where all visitors can experience the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures in Queensland.

COVID-19 update

We are excited to announce that from Monday 14 December, we are welcoming our community back onsite into kuril dhagun!  

State Library has worked with Queensland Health to develop a specific COVID-Safe Site Plan that governs how we are managing safe practices onsite. Bookings are essential to attend our activities. Please read the FAQs for more information, and check the conditions of entry before booking your visit.  

As we reopen, join us for A Deep Listening experience every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 2x free, bookable sessions between 10am-12pm and 1-3pm.

Bookings are able to be made up to 7 days in advance – these are released daily for the following 7 day period. Group bookings are available for groups of more than 5 people. As bookings are limited, if you are unable to make your session time please cancel to free your booking for someone else.

The community will be welcomed by kuril dhagun team members during each session and we look forward to seeing you. Further programs will be available throughout January when we reopen after the Christmas break.

About kuril dhagun

Located on level 1, kuril dhagun is a dedicated cultural and multi-purpose space designed to inspire community participation and engagement. Since 2006, kuril dhagun has been a nucleus for Queensland’s unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and a significant cultural and learning space for the community. kuril dhagun displays inspiring and thought-provoking showcases on display and presents a variety of events and activities for the community to enjoy.

kuril dhagun is a welcoming space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to connect with our collections and services. It is a place for community members to meet, gather, discuss and celebrate. It is also a space of authentic learning, where visitors can experience the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and stories. The name is made up of the Yuggera language words: ‘kuril’ represents the native marsupial that is found on State Library’s site near Kurilpa Point on the Brisbane River, and ‘dhagun’ means the earth, place or country, therefore translating to ‘kuril’s place’.

kuril dhagun is led by a team of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members who can assist with navigating State Library’s collections and services, including family history research and venue hire of the kuril dhagun space. 

Current showcase: Old words, new ways

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.

Dates: from 14 December 2020

Venuekuril dhagun, level 1, State Library, Stanley Place, South Bank

Cost: Free


Illustration from the book Jingeri Jingeri = Willy wagtail / written and illustrated by students of Tamborine Mountain State School, published by State Library of Queensland, 2019. Item 21274654220002061.

2019 was the International Year of Indigenous Languages. This inter-lingual book was created as a legacy of the year, through a series of workshops with a group of year 4 and 6 students of Tamborine Mountain State School where Yugambeh language is embedded into their curriculum.


The space

The main space is a flexible multi-purpose space that can be used for large and small scale events, as well as a gathering space for community groups and the general public to study, read or simply connect with others. The kuril dhagun showcase proudly displays the stories of many of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The media hub is devoted to displaying various Indigenous media sources including NITV streamed live on the big screen.

You can experience a number of artworks from Queensland Aboriginal artists including Megan Cope's MAIWAR Yunggulba, 2017, Laurie Nilsen's Dolly, Birds on a Wire, and Aunty Lilla Watson's Kurilpa Country.

"Beneath the Southern Cross, 
and the canopy of the rainforest along the river bank,
the Kurilpa, which still survives here, 
dug out its nests, and left its tracks.

They looked out over the river, 
the ripples on its surface stirred by the wind and tidal surge,
and the fish swimming in the water.”

– Lilla Watson, 2006

Talking Circle

The Talking Circle is an outdoor seating area surrounding a fire pit and looks across the Brisbane River into the city. There are a number of smaller alcoves and an outdoor kitchenette, which is available for use by prior arrangement. Traditionally, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people would talk, laugh and share knowledge around the fire. Sitting in a Talking Circle allows everyone to be heard and is a great way of bringing people together to encourage participants to share experiences and communicate in groups.

Fire remains a key aspect of community life – gathering around the fire, yarning, sharing, dancing and eating. The fire pit can be used to give demonstrations on how to make Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artefacts such as spears, or other artwork. The sandstone used to construct Talking Circle and fire pit comes from Helidon in the Brisbane Valley region.

Adorning the side of the building in the Talking Circle is a native Queensland vine called Faradaya Spledida. This Far North Queensland plant is the sole Australian representative of the Faradaya genus also found in Indonesia, Polynesia and Papua New Gunea. Faradaya is named after Michael Faraday, the pioneer in electrical research, and splendida means shiny or reflecting, referring to the sheen on the leaves. A resident family of native possums lives in the vines and local water dragons roam the ground.

The external panels facing the Gallery of Modern Art were created by artist, Laurie Nilsen and several visual arts students from Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art. The stonework and wood panels depict the unique geographical story of Brisbane. 

Loris Williams Room

The Loris Williams Room offers an intimate space for family or community meetings, workshops or seminars, by prior engagement. The Loris Williams Room is named in honour of Loris Elaine Williams (1949-2005), who was an Aboriginal woman of Mulinjali (Beaudesert, South East Queensland) descent through her father, and Birri Gubba (Ayr, North Queensland) descent through her mother.

Loris was a passionate advocate to allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the right to use archives as a means of reconnecting with family. She was the first Aboriginal person from Queensland to gain professional archival qualifications and spent the last 11 years of her life helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to research archive material. Loris also encouraged her professional colleagues to recognise the significance of this work.

Reading Nook

This area acts as a space for the whole family to interact with reading material and storytelling and is a place of significance for visiting elders and community.

The Reading Nook invites you sit and reflect, or grab a book and read as you enjoy the best views of the Brisbane River. There are also games and language activities for younger children, making it a space for everyone regardless of age.

Also featured in the space is Laurie Nilsen’s Dolly, Birds on a Wire artwork which was commissioned in 2017.

Book a kuril dhagun space

The kuril dhagun spaces are available for commercial booking through our Venue Hire page. All of the spaces offer multiple audio visual solutions as well as several catering options to suit your needs.

State Library is committed to working with and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and not-for-profit organisations to access the space to facilitate programs, events, workshops and to co-curate future showcases. 

We may be able to support your next project or meeting in kuril dhagun. Please call us on 07 3840 7666.