Aboriginal Voices in the Afterlife of Photographs

Connecting faces in 19th Century photographs to their contemporary Aboriginal descendants can tell a new history. The faces in the photographs look out from over a hundred years ago, dressed in their Sunday best – Aboriginal people growing up on a church mission in Victoria’s Gippsland. They look back from a time when the State[…]

Bringing Back Aboriginal Languages from Scraps of Paper

Ethnographer Daisy Bates recorded many Aboriginal languages in the early 20th century, which would otherwise be lost today. Introduction In 1904 Daisy Bates, an Irish-Australian journalist and ethnographer, sent out a questionnaire to squatters, police, and other authorities across Western Australia asking them to record examples of the local Aboriginal language. Mrs Bates (1859-1951) was something[…]

Preserving Precious Indigenous Languages in Australia

Linguists are using new technology to return decades-old recordings of near-extinct languages to the communities where they were made. On the bonnet of a dust-covered four-wheel drive, linguists Ian Green and Rachel Nordlinger whip out a laptop to download a sound file onto a memory stick. The Indigenous man beside them is impatient. His family[…]