Indigenous voices is a curated online exhibition that makes available rare, archival recordings of Indigenous languages. The project has digitised, identified, and consulted with Indigenous communities to ensure access for: * Indigenous community members * descendants of those whose languages were recorded * students * researchers, and * the public.
The collection includes Elwyn Flint’s recordings, made of people who were living on reserves and missions, mostly in the North of the State, including some Torres Strait Islands. He also visited Woorabinda in Central Queensland and Cherbourg in South-East Queensland. He was not attempting a comprehensive survey of all Queensland Indigenous languages still spoken. The languages that are available for listening here are only a fraction of the number of languages that were spoken in Queensland prior to colonial settlement. Indigenous languages of Queensland began to decline from the very start of colonial settlement in the 1820s through rapid population decline and removal of peoples from their traditional lands. Even by the 1960s, most languages of Queensland were no longer spoken, or were no longer being spoken by younger generations. When children no longer learn their parent’s language, it inevitably falls out of use. In Queensland, traditional languages have largely been replaced by varieties of English and Creole. Today while many people can say things in their traditional language, such as words and songs, very few are spoken in daily conversation by all generations. The remaining strong Queensland languages exist on the Cape York Peninsula (eg. Wik Mungkan) and in the Torres Strait Islands (eg. Kala Lagaw Ya).