Languages, gatherings and exhibtions.
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Welcome to our first bimonthly Indigenous Voices for 2019!

Today is International Mother Language Day and what better way to acknowledge the occasion than to showcase the amazing language revival work undertaken throughout the Indigenous Knowledge Centre (IKC) network that State Library supports through our Indigenous Services team.

2019 is the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages (#IYIL2019) and State Library is proud to support this wonderful initiative. It will be a big year for us as we deliver programs that recognise and celebrate the diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages of Queensland.

In this edition, explore the Plantation Voices exhibition of Australian South Sea Islanders; save the date for our Elders and community gatherings; and learn about our Be Connected digital literacy program.

Also, check out the brand new look for State Library’s website and the new faces in kuril dhagun—say hello to Shontae Wright and Tony Mataika!

International Mother Language Day

2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages

With many Indigenous languages from around the world in danger of disappearing, the United Nations declared 2019 as the Year of Indigenous Languages to encourage urgent action to preserve, revitalise and promote language.

In Queensland there are approximately 120 languages, though only 50 of these are spoken in varying degrees. Less than 20 of these languages are spoken on a daily basis. There are only two languages that are considered as thriving today.

Join us and learn a new ‘word of the week’ on our blog and social media channels to help promote languages used across Queensland.

Image: Gilimbaa has created State Library’s International Year of Indigenous Languages visual design.

Elders and community gatherings
7 Mar, 6 Jun, 5 Sep & 5 Dec, 10am | kuril dhagun, level 1 | Free | (07) 3842 9836 or

Join us for quarterly Elder and community gatherings and morning tea in kuril dhagun as we yarn about our programs, exhibitions and events, and to explore how you can participate. Gatherings aim to strengthen community relationships, increase communication and seek input from our Elders and community.

Gatherings will be held on the first Thursday of each seasonal change commencing in autumn and we look forward to seeing you there.

Plantation Voices

Plantation Voices
Open daily until 8 Sep, 10am-5pm | Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery, level 4 | Free | #slqPlantationVoices

Through never-before-seen original photographs, rare and restricted historical papers, and newly commissioned artworks, Plantation Voices repatriates the living history of the unknown names and faces of people tricked or kidnapped into servitude as cheap labour in Queensland’s cane fields.

More than 150 years later, the exhibition charts the pathways of descendants in reclaiming their lost past and forging their identities into the future.

Image: South Sea Islanders cutting cane in the Bundaberg district, ca. 1906. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-032-0001-0018

Palm Island and Our People

Palm Island and Our People
Open daily until 22 Apr, 9am-5pm | kuril dhagun, level 1 | Free | #slqPalmIsland

It’s not too late to visit our Palm Island and Our People showcase.

Immerse yourself in the stories of the Bwgcolman people—a community that recognises the importance of keeping culture alive through dance, language, and sport.

Learn how football, boxing and netball have become extremely popular sports and a source of community connectedness.

Image: Bwgcolman Dancers in kuril dhagun for Palm Island & Our People showcase launch. Photo by Joe Ruckli.

Who’s your mob?

Who’s your mob?
13 Mar, 10 Apr, 8 May & 12 Jun | kuril dhagun, level 1 | Free | Book now

Who’s your mob? workshops are all about giving you the skills to help you trace your family history. You will become familiar with the resources and collections that are available at State Library and how to access them. This free series of workshops will be an invaluable way to connect you to your family history.

The four-part series is designed as a learning package, so we encourage you to book for all four sessions. Places are strictly limited!

Be Connected workshop

Be connected workshop
7 Mar, 6 Jun & more | kuril dhagun, level 1 | Free | RSVP (07) 3842 9981

Be Connected workshops provide seniors with the skills needed to use a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone as well as learning how to stay safe online. Workshops can be tailored to suit community needs.

State Library will be offering workshops throughout the year as well as providing workshops following the winter and spring Elders and community gatherings.

Organisations are welcome to enquire. To register your interest, please email the team at

State Library research fellowships
Applications close 28 Mar

Unleash your inner researcher and apply for a research fellowship at State Library. There are a number of fellowship opportunities totalling $60,000.

Attend the information night on Thursday 7 March to hear more about the application process and insights from the current State Library fellows. People from all backgrounds and disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Daisy Utemorrah Award

The Daisy Utemorrah Award
Applications close 30 Apr

There is a new national literary award honouring the late Wunambal Elder, Daisy Utemorrah. Magabala Books has partnered with the State Government of Western Australia to announce The Daisy Utemorrah Award.

It is a new unpublished manuscript award for a work of junior and Young Adult (YA) fiction, including graphic novels, by an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writer.

Image: Daisy Utemorrah.

Naidoc grant

2019 NAIDOC grant funding
Applications close 25 Feb

With NAIDOC Week fast approaching, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous legal entities may apply for NAIDOC funding to support your event or activity… but time is running out!

Applications for funding must be submitted using the online application form and applicants must meet all eligibility criteria outlined in the IAS Grant Guidelines.

Header image: Neesha Williams from Mareeba with Della Gibson from Cairns at a State Library Research Discovery workshop in 2018.