FLA Logo 300x


Announcing: First Languages Australia (2)

Following a lengthy period of consultation and planning, we are pleased to let you know that a national advocacy group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages will begin operating from early December. It was decided that this new national body will be known as First Languages Australia.

The aim of this group will be: “To advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in Australia, through discussions with a broad range of relevant government and non-government departments and organisations.”

First Languages Australia will aim to provide a collaborative link between community and the organisations charged with serving them.

The first steps for the group will involve; • investigating the most appropriate method of registration of the organisation • a call for membership • a call for expressions of interest to take up new positions on the committee.

On the national level, this is a time of great changes and opportunities, and the members of First Languages Australia will be keen to tackle these challenges as it begins operations, establishing itself with key partners both here and internationally.

We’d like to thank those who have contributed to the discussions around the formation of First Languages Australia. We look forward to talking with many more people over the coming months and will welcome your input and feedback to the work of this organisation.

A new website and associated materials will be developed in early 2013. In the mean time please refer to the Eastern States Aboriginal Languages Group website for updates and add yourself to the mailing list.

We look forward to having the opportunity to work with you.

Faith Baisden Coordinator First Languages Australia Phone: 07 3286 3965 Mobile: 0417 628 437

NZ group says NT Indigenous education decades behind

By Allyson Horn for the ABC

The head of a New Zealand parliamentary committee says Australia is lagging behind in its education of Indigenous children.

The Maori Select Parliamentary Committee has been touring central Australia.

The group is comparing the treatment of Indigenous children with Maori children in New Zealand.

Committee chairman Parekura Horomia says he is shocked by the lack of bilingual education in central Australia. Read the full article

NZ group says NT Indigenous education decades behind (2)

By Allyson Horn for the ABC

The head of a New Zealand parliamentary committee says Australia is lagging behind in its education of Indigenous children.

The Maori Select Parliamentary Committee has been touring central Australia.

The group is comparing the treatment of Indigenous children with Maori children in New Zealand.

Committee chairman Parekura Horomia says he is shocked by the lack of bilingual education in central Australia. Read the full article

Technology revives Aboriginal language

Story by Margaret Paul, ABC. For AM, with Kayleen Kerwin and Isabelle Bennett.

New technologies are helping revive one of Australia's oldest languages which many people feared migh disappear for good. A school in Menindee, in far western New South Wales, is developing a computer application to help students learn the traditional Aboriginal language Paakantyi. Listen to the full story or read the transcript.

New technologies to revive Indigenous languages

By Margaret Paul for the ABC.

It's hoped a smartphone application will help revive an Indigenous language in far west New South Wales.

The Menindee Central School is developing an iPad app featuring hundreds of words in Paakantyi.

Only a handful of people speak Paakantyi fluently, and language assistant, Kayleen Kerwin, says she hopes the app will help the language survive.

"I know my voice is going to be there recorded when I'm long gone off this planet," she said.

"That'll be something to live on at the school for future generations." Read the full article.

Teachers to learn Aboriginal English after 'horse' misunderstanding

The Sunday Times.

TEACHERS will be taught Aboriginal English in a bid to stamp out misunderstandings in WA classrooms.

The new training, touted as a world-first and based on 20 years of research, is designed to ensure indigenous children are not wrongly disciplined or lose confidence.

And, it will help teachers who speak standard Australian English to communicate with them.

It follows an incident when a child got into trouble at school for calling his classmate a horse, which means "the best" in his household.

Other examples that have caused confusion in the classroom include deadly, solid and wicked, which mean fantastic, excellent and great.

Edith Cowan University Emeritus Professor Ian Malcolm, who helped develop the resources, said the training would close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous students, while also ensuring Aboriginal pupils felt they belonged at school. Read the full article.

My dream: a real future of our own making

THE Australian has published the full text of Northern Territory Minister for Indigenous Advancement and Regional Development, Alison Anderson's, address to the NT parliament. Language gets a mention at the end. .

TODAY I want to provide a statement on the status of Aboriginal communities living in the Northern Territory. Most Australians would have an idea of those communities, whether right or wrong. Even those of us with deep knowledge have to admit how little we know because of the diversity of language and culture across this great landscape, so we approach the figures cautiously.

Read the full address.

Skinnyfish founders finalists for Australian of the Year

Story by Chantel D'Innocenzo for the Music Network.

Northern Territory Indigenous music label Skinnyfish Music's founders Michael Hohnen and Mark Grose were announced, today, as NT finalists in the 2013 Australian of the Year awards.

The pair have been responsible for mentoring bands through business development, connecting remote communities with mainstream music markets and making an outstanding contribution to the preservation of Indigenous language and culture for the past 14 years.

Read the full article.

NITV to go free to air

National Indigenous Television will be free to air on December 12, it was announced today, at a meeting of world indigenous television leaders.

It's been officially announced today that NITV will soon be available free to air to for all to see.

From the 12th of December at 12 noon, NITV can be seen on SBS 4 or digital channel 34.


Maintaining Indigenous languages: revering a distant past or contributing to a better future?

Comment by Bill Fogarty on Crickey's Language blog, Fully (sic).

Special guest Dr. Bill Fogarty argues that Indigenous language maintenance and education is not about reverence for some distant past for esoteric reasons. Rather it is an important asset that can play a role both in developing a future for Indigenous communities and in benefiting the socio-economic fabric of the Australian Nation.

Read the full post.

Aborigines may have to wait

By Michael Gordon, National Affairs Editor, The Age

A MAJOR concession by Julia Gillard appears unlikely to secure Opposition support for an ''Act of Recognition'' of the special place of Aboriginal culture and language as a first step towards acknowledging the first Australians in the constitution.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/aborigines-may-have-to-wait-20121030-28i5o.html#ixzz2BQhxC2Zv

National curriculum to highlight Aboriginal history

By Bianca Hall. Education and media correspondent for The Age.

ABORIGINAL histories and cultures, sustainability and Australia's engagement with the Asian region will be cornerstones of the new civics national curriculum for schools.

The draft national curriculum, released for public comment yesterday, is also based on the principle that students are part of a multicultural, secular society with a multi-faith population.

For the first time, all students would learn about the cultures, social and political processes, and laws of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/national-curriculum-to-highlight-aboriginal-history-20121030-28i5n.html#ixzz2BQjI512a

Young, Koori and prouder

By ABC Open Producer Colleen Hughson.

Over 40 indigenous secondary school age students had the chance to focus on their future dreams at the Koori Career and Aspirations Day held in Hamilton. ABC Open set up a DreamBox photo-booth to capture some of their dreams. They can be viewed in the DreamBox online photo gallery.

Richard Frankland, Aboriginal Elder, Uncle, author, playwright, filmmaker and musician and world renowned expert on lateral violence was amongst those who had their photo taken. His dream is to sing in his own language.

Read the full post.

What a great time to be a teacher!

An Article by Bruce Pascoe for the Eastern States Aboriginal Languages Group.

Here’s the perfect opportunity to positively affect the education of the country and bring black and white Australians towards an understanding of each other. Federal Parliament's standing committee on indigenous affairs has released a bipartisan report calling for more action to protect endangered indigenous languages, and recommending bilingual education.

At the same time new state and federal teaching curriculum models are being formulated which include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and culture. Our educators will be responsible for the presentation of these topics to our children, not only for Aboriginal communities who already speak their language but also in communities where language is no longer spoken. This will be the best history lesson ever taught.

Read more: What a great time to be a teacher!

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

Learn more

  • Join First Languages Australia's network +

    You can assist in the work of First Languages Australia by becoming an active member of our network. Collectively, First Read More
  • Australia’s first languages +

    Australia’s First Languages are a wonderful and precious resource. Australia is situated in one of the world’s linguistic hot spots. Read More
  • Why maintain our languages? +

    There are many reasons to maintain Australia's first languages. Chapter 3 of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Social Justice Report Read More
  • 1