COVID-19 update: State Library is gradually reopening. Before you visit, please read what spaces are open.
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 members 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 peoples and cultures in Queensland.
Jarjum Stories is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s books and storytelling. Jarjum [pronounced jah-jum] means children.
Revisit childhood favourites – The Rainbow Serpent, Stradbroke Dreamtime and The Legends of Moonie Jarl – and some of the earliest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s books published in Queensland.
This colourful showcase highlights the role of storytelling in sharing language, cultural knowledge and moral lessons across generations.
See the world through the eyes of jarjum in the exploration of stories created with children across Queensland including a bilingual Yugambeh story book.
Experience The Very Hungry Caterpillar through its many translations into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
Throughout the showcase period, join in special Reading Nook activities capturing the imagination of children and adults alike.
Dates: 19 Oct 2019 - 10 May 2020
Venue: kuril dhagun, level 1, State Library, Stanley Place, South Bank
Excerpt from The crocodile (digitally altered), 1987, Gregory Omeenyo, illustrated by Brett Snook based on original children's illustrations, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Ref 716738
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.
Main kuril dhagun event space.
Our Sporting Greats showcase in kuril dhagun.
kuril dhagun showcases.
Kurilpa Country, Lilla Watson 2006.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.