What’s new

August 2016 update

Another 75 items have been added to the Virtual Library, bringing the total number of items to over 500, representing over 150 languages ... read more

How to use this Virtual Library

To find a resource, use search, or choose a state, language or category on the left (see Help for more information).

Or: find items by year of first listing in this Virtual Library:

Update 2024

This site is no longer current and is not being updated. Since 2016, happily, the number of online sources of knowledge about Australian Indigenous languages exploded in number and diversity of sources, especially from Indigenous organisations and individuals. As a result, it became impossible to keep ALoA up to date. It is no longer a key resource.

As the main web portal for Australian Aboriginal languages on the web (part of Tim Berners-Lee’s official W3C Virtual Library (now defunct at https://www.vlib.org/ - see its history) this site provided summaries, guidance and links to quality resources on Aboriginal languages, especially those produced from communities and by community members. It was listed in most of the major international libraries and other institutions as a key site for Australian languages, and attracted over 500,000 hits a year.

Approximately half of the linked sites still exist and the site’s back-end database remains valuable because it contains data which tracks 20 years of the emergence, expansion and changes in the online presence of Australian First Nations languages from the birth of the web.


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Palawa Kani [xtz]
Source: Alison Overeem / ABC
Alison Overeem is interviewed about Palawa kani or ‘ Tassie blackfella talk’ and how her community teaches and uses the language today. Includes a wordlist with over 100 words.
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Source: ABC/Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Historical and unique wax cylinder recordings from 1903 of Fanny Cochrane Smith, Tasmanian Aboriginal woman, and information about Fanny and her life. hese are some of the earliest recordings ever made in Australia, and the only audio recording of the Tasmanian Aboriginal language.
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Source: ABC
Tasmanian singer-songwriter Dewayne Everettsmith released an album including the first commercial song in Palawa kani. The song Melaythina was written by Aboriginal community members. It is about welcoming to country, welcoming Palawa people and the broader community, and refers to places such as Kunanyi (Mount Wellington).
See Dewayne Everettsmith performing the song on the Tasmanian Museum and art Gallery site or on YouTube.
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Source: Andy Baird / Tasmanian Museum and art Gallery
A guide for middle and secondary school students and teachers visiting ningenneh tunapry, the Tasmanian Aboriginal exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The document contains some vocabulary and a range of historical and cultural information. [PDF, 20 pages]
See also Dewayne Everettsmith singing a song in palawa kani.
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Source: ABC
A story about Aboriginal singer-songwriting duo Stiff Gins choosing to record on Edison wax cylinder, inspired by a song recording of Tasmanian Aboriginal woman Fanny Cochrane Smith in 1903. This page includes part of that recording, the only known recording of a Tasmanian Aboriginal language. See also Fanny Cochrane Smith recordings: 1899 and 1903 for further information.
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