Languages

The Australian Indigenous Languages Collection was established early in 1981 to bring together printed material written in Australian Indigenous languages. It now contains over 4300 titles and has been independently found to be of such world significance that it has been placed on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register.

The collection contains published items only, and includes 4360 books, pamphlets and collection items such as children’s’ readers, bible translations, dictionaries, grammars, vocabularies, works of imagination and learning kits in 200 languages.  

Most of the estimated 250 Australian languages and 600-700 dialects are represented in our unrivalled language holdings, and 40 ‘endangered languages’ recorded by Luise Hercus between 1963 and 1999 have been inscribed on the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia.

We aim to build a comprehensive collection of works written in all Australian Indigenous languages and welcome donations of materials and information about new publications.

language books on table

You might also be interested in AUSTLANG, a database of information about Indigenous Australian languages with links to Google maps, and OZBIB – a bibliography of published works and theses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Last reviewed: 18 May 2015