What a year!

2018 has been one of the most jam-packed years the kuril dhagun team has ever had! We have almost made it to the last month of the year and we can honestly say it has been an enjoyable yet wild ride. Here is a recap of some of our year.

New staff

To kick off 2018, we welcomed a couple of new staff into kuril dhagun. Christina Canendo joined us as our new Lead, along with Jautia Cora as our Program Assistant. Recently we’ve had Nakita Kirby join us a Program Assistant and with the International Year of Indigenous Languages looming in 2019, Shakira Hansen has joined the team full time as a Project Officer.

Significant events

We kicked off 2018 with a bang by commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations given by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in kuril dhagun. A large contingent of people attended this event including community members, elders and staff, State Library board member Dr Sandra Phillips and Mark Baumgart who addressed the crowd.

State Library board member Dr Sandra Phillips welcoming guests at the 10th Anniversary of the Apology event.

We hosted a special edition of our Who’s Your Mob? Family History workshops with a Valentine’s Day special called Who’s Your Mob: Love at the Library in kuril dhagun. We had over 30 people attend a night of drinks, catering by First Food Co and a fun hour of trivia hosted by CJay’s Vines.  

Who’s Your Mob? Love at the Library trivia night.

The beautiful Jabu Birriny (land + sea) showcase which was co-curated with the Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct came to a close in early March. We were incredibly blessed to have had the artworks of several Yarrabah artists showcased in our space along with their stories and the rich history proudly on display for all to see. Take a look back at the launch event of Jabu Birriny (land + sea) back in October 2017.

kuril dhagun staff with Yarrabah artists Elverina Johnson, Philomena Yeatman and Finanin Richards.

Our Sporting Greats: Murri and Ailan athletes in the spotlight launched at the end of March and we celebrated this with an evening launch event in kuril dhagun. The event was well attended and we welcomed several elders and some of the profiled athletes including Rhonda Purcell, Aunty Sandra King, Aunty Lesley Williams and several members of the Cherbourg Marching Girls, including our very own Willie Prince. Take a look back at our previous blog on the launch event for a recap of the night. We also gave audiences the opportunity to engage with our athletes and other special guests throughout 6 months of public programs, which included a hugely popular Night by the Fire series which is now available to watch on YouTube, a NAIDOC Traditional Sports day with Rugby star Andrew Walker, and a Black Gloves tour for sporting memorabilia enthusiasts.

Aunty Lesley Williams at the launch of Our Sporting Greats: Murri and Ailan athletes in the spotlight.

We celebrated  National Reconciliation Week right across the library this year with the biggest ever staff involvement from right around the organisation. We hosted a Night by the Fire with State Library Board member and world renowned author Dr Anita Heiss in the lead up to the week to talk about her novel My Australian Story: Our Race to Reconciliation, and to kick off the week the Queensland State Government launched the very first all of government Reconciliation Action Plan on Maiwar Green. We had a full week of activities for State Library of Queensland staff, with BlackCard hosting Cultural Capability workshops, First Food Co hosting a tasting table session with traditional bush foods, a morning tea hosted by our colleagues in the Strategic Engagement team, and finishing off with a staff bake-off in kuril dhagun which was hotly contested! Thanks again to everyone who made this week one of the highlights of the year.

National Reconciliation Week staff bake-off.

As always, NAIDOC Week was one of the busiest times of the year. The theme this year was Because of Her, We Can! which celebrated and acknowledged the strong women who make a difference in our lives and communities. In celebrating this, we hosted Torres Strait Islander author and businesswoman Jasmine Herro in kuril dhagun’s reading nook who shared her Tetermek stories with some young families, we held a traditional sports day on Maiwar Green with Rugby star Andrew Walker followed by a big sausage sizzle lunch, followed by the annual Musgrave Park Family Fun Day which is always a huge hit.

Musgrave Park Family Fun Day.

Our Who’s Your Mob? Family History workshops wrapped up in early September, bringing to the end 18 months of workshops with community members on how to get started with Indigenous family history. We will bring bringing back a revamped version of these workshops in 2019 so stay tuned for more!

Who’s Your Mob? Family History workshops.

Last but not least, Palm Island and Our People launched this year on the 22 September and we celebrated this with one of our biggest events to date. Over 250 invited guests and visitors attended, including Deputy Premier and ministerial champion for Palm Island, Honourable Jackie Trad, Palm Island Mayor Alfred Lacey, State Librarian and Chief Executive Officer Vicki McDonald, Palm Island Bwgcolman Dancers and Nunukul Yuggera Dancers and many more. The strength, resilience and diversity of Palm Island shone throughout the whole day and those who attended were blessed to witness one of the highlights of the year. Read our earlier blog on the Palm Island and Our People launch week for an insight on the week that was.

Palm Island Bwgcolman Dancers at the launch of Palm Island and Our People.

Indigenous Languages Project

The Indigenous Languages Project had a big year with regional workshops, languages residency and other activities, ending the year with the Research Discovery Workshop at State Library South Bank. Some of the highlights during 2018 include:

  • Supported ~105 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages/dialects across Queensland
  • ‘tagged’ over 2,700 items in the State Library collections
  • provided training and skills development to over 50 community members
  • received 75,000+ page views on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages webpages
  • received 15,000+ page views to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages blog
  • presented at several conferences, including the National Indigenous Languages Convention

The Indigenous Languages Team is looking forward to an exciting 2019 celebrating the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

What’s happening next  – 2019 


2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages. In Queensland there are over 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. Next year we will be working to increase people’s understanding of Indigenous cultures, reconciliation and international cooperation. We are all very busy preparing programs that will recognise and celebrate Queensland’s diverse Indigenous languages. Agencies will be participating worldwide and Public Libraries all throughout Queensland will be doing their part. Stay tuned over the coming months for more information on where and when you can join in on the celebrations and promotion of Indigenous languages!


More dynamic showcases including a celebration of Indigenous radio station 98.9fm and their significant contribution to reconciliation over the airways for the last 25 years.

Be Connected

A new program Be Connected providing technology training for our elders will also kick off next year, so stay tuned for more details.


Thanks to everyone who has worked with us this year and contributed to what has been one of our busiest years yet. We’re looking forward to a much needed Christmas break and we will be back raring to go in 2019!

The kuril dhagun team.