Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages

The Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages, hosted by Charles Darwin University, is a wonderful collection of literature in Australian languages from the Northern Territory.


The project sought to retrieve and digitise the many books in local languages that were produced during the NT bilingual education era. Many community schools had literacy production centres, where linguists and local language speakers/teachers would work together to create readers and other resources in the children’s languages.


Changes to bilingual education over the last decade saw many of these centres defunded and the materials left to degrade and deteriorate. The Living Archive is a wonderful restoration project, a celebration of the literature that was produces in the languages, and a great resource for people today looking for texts in their own language.


I was lucky to help out in a small part with this project, and it is indeed a “living archive” – many communities have connections to the materials contained therein, a thorough process of gaining consent to put the materials online was undertaken, given many of my Yolŋu kin and colleagues the opportunity to reconnect with works their forebears may have written or illustrated.

Emma Murphy, LING566


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