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Legislation Recognising and Protecting NSW Aboriginal Languages

Legislation Recognising and Protecting NSW Aboriginal

Photo from the Languages Bill Parliamentary Event. From the Aboriginal Affairs website

On the 19th of October 2017, NSW became the first state in Australia to pass legislation
through its Parliament recognising the importance of Aboriginal languages.
The legislation acknowledges that Aboriginal languages underpin Aboriginal identity and the
revival and teaching of languages must accord with local community aspirations. It focuses
on the NSW Government working in partnership with Aboriginal communities to support the
revival of Aboriginal languages and raise awareness amongst the broader NSW population.

Read more here: http://www.aboriginalaffairs.nsw.gov.au/languages-legislation 



Little J & Big Cuz

Little J Big Cuz

Watch the series and check out the educational resources.
We assume you have all been enjoying the fantastic new series Little J & Big Cuz, Australia's first animated series featuring Indigenous characters.
Animation is an excellent tool for teaching, and also for sharing our languages, and we are particularly excited to hear that episodes have already been translated into Pintinjarra, Arrernte, Wiradjuri, Yawuru, and palawa kani, with more on the way.

First Languages Australia would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the production team and all the translators who have been busily working on their language versions.





Treasure language storytelling

Treasure language story

There will be another Treasure Language Storytelling show in Darwin in early July, as part of the Darwin Fringe Festival which coincides with NAIDOC Week.
This show follows six previous shows which brought Indigenous and immigrant storytellers to the stage to share stories first in the original language and then in English.

The shows in California included Ohlone and Hawaiian storytellers. The shows in Melbourne and Darwin included Woiwurrung, Djambarrpuyngu, and Kunwinjku.

Organiser Steven Bird is again keen to feature as many Australian Aboriginal languages as possible.

If you are a Top End language speaker, who would enjoy speaking in language to a highly receptive theatre audience, listen to the information at this link then This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as he would love to hear from you.





Marram-nganjinu Biik-gurrin - We are Country: Cultural Summit

We are Country Cultural Summit

 Warren H. Williams, Jilda Andrews and Sharni Jones at Marram-nganjinu Biik-gurrin

First Languages Australia Manager, Faith Baisden attended the Marram-nganjinu biik-gurrinnganjinu biikMarram-nganjinu biik-gurringurrin Cultural Summit, held in Melbourne 8-10 May. The event brought First Nations leaders from across Australia and the world together on the lands of the Kulin Nation to forge new directions of leadership in the cultural and creative sectors.



ABC management in Cairns to meet FLA network

ABC with FLA

Photo Katherine Soutar: ABC Management presenting with FLA at Puliima.

First Languages Australia was thrilled to have the Managing Director of the ABC Michelle Guthrie, the Director of Regional Fiona Reynolds, Queensland State Manager Cathie Schnitzerling and Partnerships Lead Bronwyn Purvis attend the Cairns National Languages Forum in October, to meet with the First Languages Committee and our network members.

The ABC management team were keen to get to speak with the people who have contributed their stories, their language knowledge and presentation skills to the programs developed in partnership with FLA over the past three years. The management team took time to meet with the Young Champions and talked with
different groups about new ways for the broadcaster to support the work being done in communities. 

Regional Director Fiona Reynolds and FLA Manager Faith Baisden chaired a panel session titled From little things, big things grow: Working with partners - First Languages Australia and the ABC at the Puliima National Indigenous Languages Forum.

ABC with FLA 2
Photo Katherine Soutar: ABC Management presenting with FLA at Puliima.



NAIDOC 2017: ‘Our Languages Matter’


NAIDOC 2017 Logo Our Languages Matter 

What an exciting time!

This year’s theme saw language workers run off their feet with enquiries. In many regions, NAIDOC activities went on for months with language centres ensuring that every school and community group who asked was able to participate in the celebrations and help spread the word that "Our Languages Matter". Youtube has been filled with beautiful videos that provide a snapshot of the events and activities around the country. First Languages Australia will continue to share these on our Facebook page into the future.

First Languages Australia’s NAIDOC activities focused on building media coverage of local languages. Together with our partners, we initiated a number of national actions designed to have our languages reach the ears of all Australians. Some of the actions that had greatest
impact were: 

New ABC station identifications (IDs) were recorded by each of the 50 regional stations around Australia.

naidoc 7

This brings the total number of voices sharing their languages through these IDs to 143 nationally. Some of the metro stations have also jumped on board. Language Greeting videos were produced for social media. Station managers were asked to find a local language teacher willing to come into the studio and be filmed teaching a member of their staff a greeting in their language. Fourteen films were made, each receiving high numbers of viewings and great comments from their audiences.

Read more: NAIDOC 2017: ‘Our Languages Matter’

Junyirri launched in Cairns


Junyirri: A framework for planning community language projects has been produced to
support community language planning toward a long-term vision. Input from language
centres around the country has been essential in ensuring that the framework is useful in
all language contexts.
Junyirri can be used to identify:
▪ community aspirations for language use,
▪ the available assets, and
▪ the types of programs that might be suitable for a particular situation.

The framework has been designed to help community members to:
1. Define their community’s language goals
2. List the assets the community has to help reach the goals
3. Choose a project based on the available assets
4. Make an assessment of the likely outcomes of the chosen project, and
5. Define where a project fits in relation to the community’s broader goals.

First Languages Australia is extremely grateful to all the language centres and workers who
contributed their knowledge and expertise to the document.
We hope that it will help you on your language journey.

Download Junyirri PDF.





The Masters of Indigenous Language Education (MILE) turns 10


2017 MILE Graduates

2018 is the tenth anniversary of the MILE program run by the University of Sydney This important program is designed for Indigenous educators who
wish to develop their knowledge and skills as teachers and specialise in teaching their language/s.


First Languages Australia would once again like to congratulate the University of Sydney for their ongoing commitment to Indigenous language teacher development in the provision of this program. We would particularly like to thank the program’s dedicated coordinating and teaching staff who continue to enliven the program and work tirelessly to advocate for and support the teachers who enrol, tailoring the course to meet their needs.


"The MILE course has taken me to a deeper level of understanding/appreciation of my language and equipped me with necessary skills to move forward with confidence. More importantly, I am able to share the knowledge I have learnt from completing the course with my Mob, so as a community we can all contribute and make positive gains to bring our language back to its rightful place of everyday use. 


The course itself was both exciting and challenging! I feel a greater sense of direction coming to the end the course and realise that whilst my language journey will continue into the years ahead, I now have extra skills and knowledge to do so with confidence." Jajinyji, Nathan Schrieber. Yarrabah State School


DGR status for language centres

In the past, some language centres have had trouble registering for Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status. To receive DGR status organisations must have a charitable purpose that is for the benefit of the public. Language centres should no longer have trouble getting their charity, PBI or DGR status recognised.

In 2014, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) was established as the independent national regulator of charities. That year, the ACNC released The Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement: Indigenous charities. In line with this statement, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language centres meet the public benefit test as they are working to address disadvantage. You can read the statement here: https://www.acnc.gov.au/ACNC/Publications/Interp_IndigenousCharities.aspx

Information of specific to language centres, compiled by First Languages Australia and the ACNC, is published as page 51 of Warra: Building teams, building resources

If you need further guidance please do not hesitate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



MOU signed with AIATSIS


AIATSIS CEO Craig Ritchie and FLA Manager Faith Baisden sign the MOU. Photo AIATSIS

Increased access to language materials, collaboration and promotion of language projects
are the focus of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which was signed by the
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) and First
Languages Australia in May.

AIATSIS CEO Craig Ritchie said the partnership is especially significant given the
Institute’s role as caretakers of a vast collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
language materials. First Languages Australia Manager Faith Baisden said it is essential
that both organisations honour the trust placed in them by the language custodians.
‘This means that we work together to see that language knowledge is securely archived,
and that we find ways to make it more accessible for community members when they need
to research and use the materials for new language projects,’ Ms Baisden said.





First Languages Australia consults on New South Wales draft languages legislation

Draft Legislation

First Languages Australia Manager, Faith Baisden, with NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Leslie Williams, at the launch of the first stage of draft legislation to recognise and protect NSW Aboriginal languages. 


First Languages Australia is pleased to be involved in consultations with the government of New South Wales to draft legislation to recognise and promote Aboriginal languages in that state.

Speaking at the launch of the drafting of the legislation Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Leslie Williams, acknowledged the impact that language use has on wellbeing within communities.

"We know that Aboriginal people who speak their language are healthier, Aboriginal children learning a language do better at school, and that language renewal strengthens communities. If legislation can so effectively take away Aboriginal language, so too it can restore and revive Aboriginal language.” Said the Minister.

First Languages Australia Manager Faith Baisden, spoke with Minister Williams at the launch and will continue to offer input to the process with a view to seeing it replicated in other states and territories.


First Languages Australia and ABC National Media Project

Federal Minister launches First Languages Australia – ABC Media Project.

 November 2016
 Federal Minister launches First Languages Australia ABC Media Project
 Caption: Lionel Lovett from Parkes, Minister for Communications and the Arts Mitch Fifield, Geoff Anderson from First Languages Australia, and Nick Lowther Chief of Staff ABC Western Plains, at the launch of ABC- First Languages Australia Regional radio call-sign IDs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Project.

The ABC Regional – First Languages Australia, Radio Call-sign IDs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Project was launched by the Federal Minister for Communications and the Arts Mitch Fifield, at the Artlands Regional Arts Conference in Dubbo in October.

First Languages Australia Committee Member Geoff Anderson, was thrilled to represent the organisation at the launch and to meet the Minister to discuss other national initiatives to promote and support languages. Parkes language teacher Lionel Lovett, also met with the Minister after the launch, which was attended by hundreds of arts workers from around the country.

 ABC Regional radio call-sign IDs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages

Puliima call for presentations and workshops

Puliima 2017

Yamani song sharing at Puliima 2015. Photo: Katherine Soutar

The planning and preparations for Puliima 2017 have begun, and the deadline for presentation and workshop submissions is Monday 27th February 2017.
Find all the details here



Make a #MemeML for International Mother Language Day


ANGKENTYE AHELHE UTNENGE-NTYELE ANWERNE AKALTYELE ANTHETYENHENGE. "Language is the spirit from the land. That's the way we teach it." Felicity Hayes, Leonie Palmer, Veronica Turner, MK Turner, Lorrayne Gorey were working with Margaret Carew on messages in #Arrernte, from central Australia.

Once again First Languages Australia is working with our international partners to encourage the use of our languages on social media to celebrate International Mother Language Day.

This year we are having a meme challenge and calling on you to share memes in your language over the next few weeks. You can find all the details here.

Post your meme with the #MemeML and #yourlanguagename to participate. And tag us@firstlanguagesaustralia on Facebook if you would like us to share your image.

Read more: Make a #MemeML for International Mother Language Day

Miromaa awarded Community Organisation of the Year


Miromaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre staff accepting the Dreamtime Award

First Languages Australia would like to extend congratulations to the dedicated team at the Miromaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre, on receiving the Community Organisation of the Year Award at the inaugural National Dreamtime Awards.

“To be sitting alongside the other nominees in itself was an amazing achievement, but to
win was a moment which is hard to put into words,” Daryn McKenny said. “To then be
announced as winners with the likes of Jessica Mauboy, Clinton Pryor, Stan Grant and
Gawurra was like a dream.”




Western Australia Traineeship for Language Teachers


WA Aboriginal language teacher trainees

2017 has seen continued interest and enrolment in the WA Department of Education Traineeship for Aboriginal Languages Teachers. There is currently a total of 36 trainees: 18 who have completed Stage 1 and 2 ( Intake 17) and 18 who have completed Orientation for Intake 18. The traineeship, which has been running successfully for more than twenty years, is the only training program that provides community members with a pathway to teaching their languages independently in the classroom.

First Languages Australia is advocating for each state and territory to adopt such a model. FLA would like to acknowledge Coleen Sherratt and Lola Jones for their ongoing commitment to the development and delivery of the program and the support of each of their trainees and teachers.

 Lote3   Lote2

WA Aboriginal language teacher trainees

Contact us

Phone  +61 2 4940 9144  or  1300 975 246
Visit  Level 1/840 Hunter St, Newcastle West
Post PO Box 528, Newcastle, NSW, 2300

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