Indigenous Languages Forum – Rockhampton

Binbi wadyabay.

Three kuril dhagun staff headed to Rockhampton last month for the Binbi Wadyabay: Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Forum to present and attend as delegates. Under the theme of binbi wadyabay (good talking), attendees from across Queensland discussed the formation of a Queensland Government languages policy. The two-day program included a Kalaw Kawaw Ya language immersion cooking class, a pronunciation workshop, presentations from inspiring young language champions, and discussions of language and tourism.

Welcome to Country Dancers

The State Library of Queensland presentation was an introduction to researching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages at the State Library discussing resources available on Indigenous languages. These include published vocabularies and original materials such as diaries, wordlists and other language data collected from a number of historical sources.

Language immersion cooking class

Other material held at the State Library can be categorised as: Web-based Materials, which includes virtual books, digital stories and on-line resources; Original Materials:  which are journals, diaries, notebooks as well as pastoral and station records; Published Materials: which include dictionaries, vocabularies, linguistic surveys as well as historical and contemporary texts with language content and Audio/Visual Materials: which include sound recordings, audio-tapes, CDs, as well as DVDs, films and photographic material, etc.

SLQ Presentation







Day two of the forum was focused towards a Queensland Indigenous Languages Policy being developed by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships. Key elements of the policy/action plan include:

  • researching and recording traditional languages
  • sharing and teaching languages to future generations
  • promote the value of traditional languages as an integral part of Queensland’s identity
  • capitalise on economic development opportunities from a languages policy

Discussions at the Forum will be disseminated to community groups and other key stakeholders as part of ongoing consultation.


Languages Strategy presentation

One of the forum highlights for me was a workshop where small groups learned “Our Land Song” in a variety of traditional languages and performed for the larger delegation.

It was a very busy and informative couple of days.

Rose Warsow

Indigenous Languages Project Officer, kuril dhagun

State Library Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages webpages


Further Reading

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

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

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