Spoken: celebrating Queensland languages

Next on

Tomorrow till Sun 19 Apr


Free event
Booking required


This event is for


“Imagine being the last person to know a language spoken for thousands of years.” 

Spoken: celebrating Queensland languages is a free thought-provoking exhibition about the survival and revival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Over 125 Queensland languages were once spoken, now approximately 50 of these remain spoken daily. Join the journey of six Queensland communities saving their traditional languages.

Spoken presents an alternative retelling of the prevailing colonial narrative – placing rare historical records alongside the inspiring work of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who tell their own language stories through art, song and creativity.

View Australia’s most significant historical document in a new light. James Cook’s Endeavour Journal holds the first 130 Aboriginal words ever recorded by Europeans in the Guugu Yimithirr language but hear the Guugu Yimithirr perspective of those interactions with the foreign explorers.

Rediscover Queensland languages lost and reawakened by the strength of culture, identity and connection to Country.

Featuring the exciting work of communities reviving and thriving in language: Wik (Aurukun), Guugu Yimithirr (Hope Vale), Yuwibara (Mackay), Yugambeh (South East Queensland), Kala Lagaw Ya & Miriam Mir (Torres Strait Islands) and Kuungkari, Bidjara, Iningai, Wangkangurru and Yarluyandi (Central West Queensland region).

State Library celebrates the International Year of Indigenous Languages.


James Cook’s Endeavour Journal is on loan from National Library of Australia until 10 March 2020. 



Thu 21 November | Curator's tour
Sat 23 November | Curator's tour
Wed 27 November | Human Books

Thu 5 December | Curator's tour
Wed 11 December | Human Books

Sat 18 January | Curator's tour
Sat 18 January | Yuggera Djarra-Na song workshop
Wed 22 January | Human Books

Wed 12 February | Curator's tour
Wed 12 February | Human Books
Fri 21 February | Minya birran: what now for Indigenous languages?

Thu 5 March | Autumn community gathering
Sun 8 March | Curator's tour
Sun 8 March | Human Books
Sat 28 March | Yuggera Djarra-Na song workshop
Sat 28 March | Spoken words
Sat 28 March | Curator's tour


Wed 1 April | Curator's tour
Wed 15 April | Curator's tour
Wed 15 April | Human Books



Don't forget to stop by the Library Shop to browse a selection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander books and giftware, or shop online anytime.



Educators: organise a self-guided visit to either Jarjum Stories or Spoken: celebrating Queensland languages with your class to be in the running to win* a book pack for your school or kindy. Enter to win.


Contact event organiser