Indigenous Languages Residency – 2018

Expedition Range Wordlist – Curr 150.

This is the sixth year [2018] that State Library of Queensland has hosted a Language Residency with 18 past participants researching 20+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. Outcomes from recent residencies have been documented and shared on their return to community. Residents undertake research into their nominated language(s) using materials in State Library’s collections.

The Aborigines of Rockhampton – comparative wordlist, Roth (1904).

The State Library’s Indigenous languages project received nine submissions to participate in the 2018 residency program. Although it would be great to support all expressions of interest sadly our budget doesn’t stretch that far. The four successful residents for 2018 were Diane Evans and Douglas Graham from Woorabinda, Annie Gela from Rockhampton and Norell Binsiar from Mackay.

Diane Evans is an Elder from Woorabinda and storyteller who is working to preserve the languages of the community, particularly Wadja:  Diane Evans – Wadja

Diane Evans

Douglas Graham who is also from Woorabinda and the IKC Coordinator is involved in community language revival for all the languages in Woorabinda [50+], particularly Jiman and Kalali. Both Diane and Douglas work with community members in Woorabinda and conduct language workshops and other language activities on a regular basis.

Douglas Graham

Annie Gela, is a Torres Strait Islander lady living in Rockhampton and has been actively involved in language work in the region, including translations for Central Qld health brochures into Kala Lagaw Ya and Torres Strait Creole. Annie has also published a couple of books, one called Gubuluk which was turned into a digital story/book Gubuluk.  She is also actively involved in community language activities in Rockhampton.

Des Crump & the Group

Norell Binsiar our fourth resident was from Mackay Regional Library Service and has been a big supporter of community language revival in Mackay. In addition to supporting Yuwibara language, Norell also researched Torres Strait Islander languages to support the large Torres Strait Islander community in Mackay. Norell is actively involved with Mackay community members in reviving language. As well as the Yuwibara language Norell is keen to support the Torres Strait Islander community in Mackay.

Draft Yuwibara Community Dictionary.

The Indigenous Language Residency is integral to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Project and supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in collecting, managing and preserving cultural  and historical knowledge, focusing on programs for oral and family history, and language preservation. The majority of the residents’ time was devoted to exploring and researching materials relating to their language(s) with one-on-one guidance from experienced State Library reference staff.


Rose Warsow

Indigenous Languages Project Officer, kuril dhagun

State Library Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages webpages


Further Reading

Breen, J.G. (1990) Salvage Studies of Western Queensland Aboriginal Languages. Australia Pacific Linguistics Canberra. J 499.15 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. 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

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

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

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