Inspiring projects around Australia

This is a small and varied collection of some of the great projects happening around Australia at the moment, to provide inspiration.

If you've got a great project you'd like to share, email us and we will put it up!

Mewal Song project

This project was initiated by the Wurrkigandjarr group from the Maningrida/Ramingining region, who wish to document and describe the Mewal story, songs and dances. This project is a creative collaboration in which local people lead the presentation of cultural material with support from a range of individuals and organisations; with the intention that future generations are able to acecss and learn from this important cultural resource. Find more about the project by visiting the Mewal Song project web page on the Batchelor Institute website.

Read more about the Mewal Song project

Victorian Corporation for Aboriginal Languages: Schools Digital Resources project

The Victorian Corporation for Aboriginal Languages (VACL) have a new project to produce innovative digital audio-visual resources to support language reclamation and revitalisation activities in Victorian schools and communities. So far, in conjunction with community groups, VACL has developed language resource apps in four different languages. Read more about each language below; find out more about VACL's Schools Digital Resources Project on their website.

Visit VACL's Project webpage

Aikuma presentation

This is a video of a presentation made by Associate Professor Stephen Bird (Department of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne), entitled 'Towards an Extensible and Scalable Framework for Language Documentation Software'. Stephen is talking about the development of the Aikuma app, an app which is mainly built around language documentation, but which can also be used for elicitations. Further information (and app download for Android devices) can be found on the Aikuma website.

Visit the Aikuma website

Mawng Ngaralk website

The Mawng language website has recently been launched. Mawng is the common language spoken on Warruwi, an island also known as South Goulburn Island in the North West of Australia's Arnhem Land. Around 400 people live on Warruwi. Mawng is the main language but people also speak Kun-barlang, Kunwinjku as well as Yolgnu-matha languages and some Torres Strait Creole and English.

In 2014 The Warruwi Language Centre was set up on Warruwi. In a little building near the school linguists worked with the school and community members to create a quiet space where recordings can be made and listened to. Community members are working with linguists to revive and create Mawng literacy materials for reading and writing in Mawng.

The Mawng Ngaralk website provides an online dictionary, a blog, photos of the Warruwi community, as well as videos and sound recordings of Mawng and other languages spoken on Warruwi.

Visit the Mawng Ngaralk website

Rediscovering Indigenous Languages project

Rediscovering Indigenous Languages project
Rediscovering Indigenous
Languages project

The Rediscovering Indigenous Languages project aims to preserve and revitalise some of the oldest languages in the world by locating, digitising and providing access to Indigenous word lists, language records and other cultural documents, starting with the State Library of New South Wales' collections. Some items in the Library's collections are the only known surviving records of these particular Indigenous languages.

Making these items available digitally means enabling widespread access to highly significant part of Australia's cultural heritage and providing the opportunity for all Australians, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to gain a better understanding of our nation's rich cultural landscape. As well as being able to connect previously dispersed information, we also have the opportunity as a community to enrich, critique, discuss and revive these important historical documents.

Over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were spoken prior to Australian settlement in 1788, but now only 20 are spoken comprehensively. Internationally renowned linguist Dr Michael Walsh took on the mammoth task of sifting through the Library's 14kms of letters and journals authored by colonial surveyors, officers and missionaries. He discovered valuable details on 100 Indigenous Australian languages - including word lists and vocabularies - that were thought to be lost.

The project aims to:

  • Make available, in a culturally appropriate framework, surviving language lists to Indigenous communities
  • Develop protocols for the publication of language lists, to ensure that they meet community needs and allow communities to contribute their knowledge to Library records about their languages
  • Locate previously dispersed language lists in the Library's collections
  • Increase public awareness of Indigenous language and cultural history
  • Be an effective educational resource contributing to school curriculum and further research

Visit the project website

My pride and joy stick

Jane Curtis of the Mother Tongue Project and Taungurung Elder Aunty Lee Healy. A video about the no longer lost Taungurung language of Central Victoria and the dictionary of that language. "To see it and say it," is the intention.

Read the story behind the dictionary