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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.

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WA Aboriginal language teacher trainees

Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) has implemented a curriculum based on the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages. The Victorian Aboriginal Languages curriculum is now being taught across the state with over 1,000 Victorian students participating in Aboriginal language programs. VCAA also produced ‘Learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures’ which outlines the mandatory content descriptions relating to Aboriginal perspectives across the curriculum. 

Marrin Gamu Indigenous Langauages Song Competition 2017

Marrin Gamu

This year, more than 1,400 students took part in our Marrin Gamu Competition with ABC Splash. Contributions were received from 31 schools stretching as far as Jabiru in the Northern Territory, to Bloomfield in Queensland, and Maitland in South Australia. 
The winning video, from Penrhos College Junior School in Como, Western Australia, impressed judges by involving 337 girls from Years 1–6 singing in Noongar, with 186 of these students playing recorders. The students were guided in their language learning by the Noongar students in their classes. The school won a package of language resources from the Noongar Language Center. 

Read more: Marrin Gamu Indigenous Langauages Song Competition 2017

Draft Indigenous Languages Teaching and Employment Strategy

First Languages Australia has collated advice and expertise from the National Indigenous Languages Teaching and Employment Forum held in Adelaide in 2016 into a Draft Indigenous Languages Teaching and Employment Strategy. The draft strategy has been sent to departmental staff, training partners and forum participants for their feedback before prioritising actions. The document can be downloaded here. Feedback will be collated into a final document for distribution in 2018.




Ma Wal – Working together: First Languages Australia and language centres

Ma Wal

Ma Wal meeting attendees. Photo Daryn McKenny

To make the most of having so many of us together in Cairns for Puliima, First Languages Australia hosted Ma Wal, a national meeting of language centres and programs, the day before the forum.

Ma Wal provided a much-needed opportunity for people across the country to share stories of how they are participating in FLA’s national activities and contribute to the direction of the organisation in the coming years.

It was an energetic and inspiring day, made special by the enthusiasm of each of the 100 attendees, the passion of First Languages Australia’s committee, and the dedication of our staff. First Languages Australia would like to thank everyone who took part.


 Download the meeting notes here: MaWalDoc.pdf


Puliima 2017

The Puliima National Indigenous Languages and Technology Forum was once again a great success. Among the inspiring presentations and workshops, First Languages Australia

hosted these panel sessions:

Our Young Champions

From little things, big things grow: Working with partners

First Languages Australia and the ABC

Language activities and wellbeing

What are the links?

The National Placenames Project.

A presentation by Bruce Pascoe

Read more: Puliima 2017

ABC Regional announce the Placenames Project partnership with FLA for 2018


Taribelang placenames video from the ABCs Word Up series.

In their ongoing commitment to collaborating with language workers around the country to promote our languages, ABC Regional have approved a Placenames Project in conjunction with First Languages Australia as the focus of the partnership for 2018.

The project will roll out in a similar way to Mother Tongue with producers from each of the ABC’s 50 regional stations working with interested local communities to share placenames and their stories.

The details are still being finalised - so watch this space!




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 



Young Champions at Puliima National Indigenous Languages and Technology Forum


Front Row left to right: Vanessa Farrelly, Kaitlyn Lodewikus, Callum Clayton-Dixon. Back Row left to right: Abigail Carter, Ricky Buchanan, Amy Davis, Annalee Pope, Stephanie James. Photo: Katherine Soutar

First Languages Australia was once again delighted to be able to support a group of young language champions to attend both the Ma Wal and the Puliima Forum in Cairns in October. In a plenary session, the group of dedicated and enthusiastic young language workers each gave a presentation on the work they are doing to increase the use of their languages. The presentations were inspirational and heart-warming, bringing tears to the eyes of many. You can read their report and watch the presentation videos here.




Yamani - Voices of an Ancient Land


Congratulations also to the Queensland Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee for the success of the Yamani – Voices of an Ancient Land video.

The beautiful twelve-minute film played for six months as in-flight entertainment on QANTAS flights and on Queensland Rail's long-distance trains, it has been profiled in the magazines Terralingua and Embark (page 25), included in the Nandeebie Screen Festival and is soon to screen on ABC Education TV.

Click these links for your free ATOM teacher's notes and to get a copy of the CD.




Language centre Elders take the stage with Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

The Yugambeh language was broadcast to the world from the grounds of Buckingham Palace as Elder Ted Williams invited people from around the globe to the Commonwealth Games to be held on Queensland’s Gold Coast in April next year.

Patricia O’Connor and Ted Williams of the Yugambeh Museum, Language and Heritage Research Centre, were invited to Buckingham Palace for the launch of the Queen’s baton relay. The baton will travel through the countries of the Commonwealth to reach Australia for the start of the games. Sealed within the baton is a story that was told to Patricia by her grandmother about the planting of macadamia nuts. The pair made history as the first Aboriginal Australians included in the official launch ceremony for the games.



National Indigenous Languages Teaching and Employment Forum


In November last year, First Languages Australia hosted a gathering of 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language educators in Adelaide.This historic event brought together state and territory education authorities, teaching institutions, language centres and community language teachers, to work toward a coordinated approach to the training and employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language teachers.

We have been collecting feedback on the DRAFT Summary and Recommendations from the event, toward a strategy that will help us all move forward in supporting communities to reach their language goals. If you are an educator who would like to be involved in this process This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can include you on our 'education' mailing list.

 Education Forum

 Attendees of the National Indigenous Language Teaching and Employment Forum, November 2016, Adelaide


Moving forward with dual naming in Tasmania

Tasmania Place Names

Community visit to pilri (Cape Grim), March 2017. Photo Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation continues work reinstating original place names, with the next group of names to be submitted to the Nomenclature Board in July 2017.

Click this link for all the information.




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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