National Reconciliation Week 2018

Reconciliation Australia website.

The week of 27 May to 3 June 2018 is National Reconciliation Week, an annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and lifestyles. During the week, Reconciliation Australia invites all Australians to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, to share that knowledge and help us grow as a nation.

NRW2018 Poster.

This years theme is “Don’t Keep History A Mystery: Learn. Share. Grow”. The theme encourages all Australians to explore history hidden just beneath the surface, ready and waiting to be uncovered.

NRW2018 Resources.

Reconciliation Australia has produced a range of resources for schools and communities to discover more about reconciliation and the shared histories of Aboriginal and Torres Islander people. These are readily available online at the Reconciliation Australia website.

NRW2018 Teaching and Learning Resources.

Reconciliation Week falls between two significant events for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

27 May 1967 – On this day, Australia’s most successful referendum saw more than 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Australian Government power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and recognise them in the Census.

3 June 1992 – On this day, the Australian High Court delivered the Mabo decision, the culmination of Eddie Koiki Mabo’s challenge to the legal fiction of ‘terra nullius’ (land belonging to no one) and leading to the legal recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of lands. This decision paved the way for Native Title.

Far North Queensland language resources.

State Library of Queensland has an extensive range of collection items to learn, share and grow in understanding more about the rich diversity of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In addition to One Search, State Library has a portal for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queensland that identifies and locates resources related to Indigenous Family History, Collections, Digital Stories and of course languages.

Screenshot – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queensland.

This National Reconciliation Week, Reconciliation Australia encourages everyone to learn more about the Australian story.  The State Library webpages and collections are a great starting point for this journey of learning.

Flyer for the Say G’day initiative

The State Library’s Indigenous Languages Project would like to encourage you to learn more about the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages from across Queensland.Here’s some quick questions to think about this Reconciliation Week:

  • what is the name of the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language found in your suburb, town, region?
  • are there traditional words still used in the community?
  • are there traditional placenames, landmarks?
  • can you say hello/g’day in the local language?

State Library can certainly help with these questions on their webpages; including an interactive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages map which links to items in the State Library collections.

Extract – Say G’day wordlist.

There is also a list of greetings from 104 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages!! Where possible, documented greetings have been listed; however, it should be acknowledged that greetings are a fairly contemporary notion that may not have been present in many Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander settings. Alternatively, a generic phrase such as ‘Good day [= g’day]’ ‘Are you good?’ ‘How are you?’ or ‘Which way?’ may be listed.

Duungidjawi and Gamilaraay greetings.

For several languages such as Duungidjawu (Upper Brisbane Valley) and Gamilaraay (South-West Queensland) above, there are multiple greetings listed. Approximate locations are provided for the language region, as well as suggested pronunciation; however State Library encourages individuals to check with local language speakers and custodians.

National Reconciliation Week is a great time to find out more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and as Reconciliation Australia says – learn, grow and share!



Desmond Crump

Indigenous Languages Coordinator, kuril dhagun

State Library of Queensland.


State Library Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages webpages


Further Reading/Resources

As well as following the links contained in the post, here is a selection of language resources from the State Library’s collections; further items can be found using One Search.

Allan, J. and Lane, J. (2001) The language of the Wangerriburra and neighbouring groups in the Yugambeh region. Kombumerri Aboriginal
Corporation for Culture: Beenleigh. P 499.15 all

Breen, J. G. and Blake, B. (2007) The grammar of Yalarnnga: a language of western Queensland. Pacific Linguistics: Canberra. J 499.152 BRE

Curr, E. M. (1887) The Australian Race: its origins, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia and the routes by which it spread itself over that continent. John Ferres Government Printer: Melbourne. RBF 572.994 cur

Dixon, R. M. W. (1972) The Dyirbal language of North Queensland. London: Cambridge University Press. G 499.15 1972

Dixon, R. M. W. (1977) A grammar of Yidin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. G 499.155 1977

Dixon, R. M. W. (1991) Words of our country: stories, place names and vocabulary in Yidiny, the Aboriginal language of the Cairns-Yarrabah region. St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press. G 499.15 1991

Dixon, R. and Blake, B. (Eds) (1979) Handbook of Australian Languages. The Australian National University Press; Canberra. G 499.15 1979

Edwards, R. (Ed) (2001) Dictionary of Torres Strait languages. Rams Skull Press: Sydney. Q 499.1503 RAY

Eipper, C. (2007) German Mission to the Aborigines at Moreton Bay, 1841. Archive CD Books. QCFS 266.02343094 2007

Helon, G. (1994) The English-Goreng Goreng-English dictionary. Gurang Land Council: Bundaberg. G 499.15 1994

Hercus, L. and Sutton, P. (1986) This is what happened: historical narratives by Aborigines.  Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies: Canberra. J 994.0049915 thi

Hobson, J., Lowe, K., Poetsch, S. and Walsh, M (Eds) (2010) Re-awakening languages: theory and practice in the revitalisation of Australia’s Indigenous languages. Sydney University Press: Sydney. 499.15 2010

Holmer, N. (1983) Linguistic Survey of South-Eastern Queensland. Australian National University: Canberra. J 499.15 HOL

Lawrie, M. (1970) Myths and legends of the Torres Strait. Q 398.2099438 MYT

Lawrie, M. The Margaret Lawrie Collection of Torres Straits Materials. TR2082

Mathew, J. (1910) Two representative tribes of Queensland: with an inquiry concerning the origin of the Australian race. T Fisher Unwin: London. J 306.0899915 MAT

Meston, A. (undated) Archibald Meston Papers Undated. OM64-17

Minjerribah Moorgumpin Elders-in-Council Aboriginal Corporation (2011) Jandai language dictionary: a dictionary of language spoken on Stradbroke and Moreton Islands based on words remembered by all Elders and recorded by interested visitors to our shores. HKT 499.153 JAN

Patz, E. (2002) A grammar of the Kuku Yalanji language of north Queensland. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. J 499.15 PAT

Ridley, W. (1866) Kamilaroi, Dippil and Turrabul: languages spoken by Australian Aborigines. Government Printer: Sydney. RBJ 499.15 rid

Sharp, N. (1993) Stars of Tagai: the Torres Strait Islanders. G 994.38 1993

Sutton, P. (ed) (1974) Languages of Cape York: papers presented to the Linguistic Symposium, Part B, held in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Biennial General Meeting, May,1974. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies: Canberra. G 499.15 1976

Sutton, P. (1995) Wik-Ngathan dictionary. Caitlin Press: Prospect, SA. Q 499.15 SUT

Tennant-Kelly, C. and University of Queensland (2011) The Caroline Tennant-Kelly ethnographic collection: fieldwork accounts of Aboriginal culture in the 1930s. University of Queensland: St Lucia. (CD-ROM) HCF 305.89915 CAR

Terrill, A. (1998) Biri. Munchen: Lincom. J 499.15 TER

Terrill, A. (2002) Dharumbal: the language of Rockhampton, Australia. Pacific Linguistics 525. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. J 499.15 TER

Thancoupie (2007) Thanakupi’s guide to language and culture: a Thaynakwith dictionary. Q 305.899 THA

Wafer, J. and Lissarrague, A. (2008) A handbook of Aboriginal languages of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Cooperative: Nambucca Heads, NSW. J 499.15 WAF

Watson, F. J. (1944) “Vocabularies of four representative tribes of South Eastern Queensland”; supplement to the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia(Queensland), No. 34, Vol XLVIII. REFJ 499.15 wat