Announcements and Community News

Language Keepers: Preserving the Indigenous Language of the Pacific

By | Announcements and Community News

The National Library of Australia will hold a two-day conference commencing Saturday, 9 February 2019 to celebrate Indigenous languages and their role in cultural practice and healing.

From the National Library of Australia:

Wordlists recorded on Cook’s three Pacific voyages are invaluable sources for historians and First Nations peoples today. They show people coming together, trying to make themselves understood, and trying to understand each other. This conference highlights these wordlists, as well as the wide variety of work being undertaken in
language preservation in the cultural, academic and community sectors.

Over two days, experts from Australia and the Pacific will reveal how European travellers recorded the languages of the Pacific, and how the revitalisation of Indigenous
languages is supporting cultural practice and healing. Language Keepers will demonstrate the important work being undertaken by many organisations and communities in this sphere and celebrate the many examples of revitalisation of Indigenous languages of Australia and the Pacific.

Language Keepers: Preserving the Indigenous Languages of the Pacific is both the closing event surrounding the National Library of Australia’s exhibition Cook and the Pacific and the first event presented by the Library in association with the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Conference Details:

Date: Saturday 9 February and Sunday 10 February 2019
Time: 9:30am to 4:30pm
Place: Theatre, National Library of Australia, Parkes Place, Canberra
Program: Download the Conference program here



#NAIDOC2018: Congratulations to Aunty Lynette Nixon, Female Elder of the Year

By | Announcements and Community News

Published on the NAIDOC website on 24 July 2018.

She is a change maker and cultural keeper, always opening her home and heart to her extended family, and becoming a mother and mentor to so many.

Aunty Lynette’s exceptional work in and for her community began when the Mitchell Aboriginal Community received financial support to establish their own Kindergarten in 1975 – she became its president, and served on the committee for many years.

An advocate for the Gunggari people, she is the founding member of many of the local organisations in South West Queensland. She is a community worker, and has worked tirelessly to advocate and lobby for the rights and betterment of the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for over fifty-three years.  

Aunty Lynette is the Cultural Keeper of Knowledge for Gunggari people. She is a story teller, sharing the importance of land, language, identity and cultural practices.

It is because of her, so many can.

NAIDOC Awards: Aunty Lynette Nixon wins Female Elder of the Year

By | Announcements and Community News

Published by NITV on 13 July 2018.

Mother, mentor and change-maker, Aunty Lynette Nixon is the recipient of the 2018 Female Elder of the Year for her tireless work in multiple organisations.

Aunty Lynette Nixon, a Gunggari woman from south-west Queensland, is the 2018 NAIDOC Female Elder of the Year.

The respected Elder has been recognised for her incredible contribution and service to the Indigenous community of south-west Queensland, and her outstanding contributions in bringing change to, and benefiting, the lives of others.

Nixon is a passionate advocate of Indigenous rights whose tireless work in multiple organisations sees her sitting on a number of committees in a various areas including education, language, reconciliation, health, housing and legal services. 

She is a mother of seven and a founder of 15 organisations, and is an inspiration and role model for all saids Alice Beiby from Gunggari Native Title Aboriginal Corporation who nominated Nixon for her outstanding service and dedication to improving Indigenous communities. 

“Her list of achievements speaks for themselves, she has clearly demonstrated her involvement in the Indigenous community at Local, Regional, State and National levels.” 

In 1979, Nixon was an important figure, establishing the Aboriginal Housing Company where she served as a President, Vice President and committee member over many years, working to improve housing services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait people. 

Nixon was also one of the key leaders who fought extensively alongside the Nalingu Aboriginal Corporation in returning Yomba to the Traditional Owners as well as the preservation and return of the original school and the Yumba Interpretive Trail. 

She is passionate about the revival of traditional language. Nixon has worked as a Language Worker for the Kombumerri Aboriginal Corporation. In this role she developed Aboriginal Studies and introduced a language program into primary schools. During the 90s, she taught the local Gunggari language to school students, and Mitchell State School in Queensland still continues these classes. 

Nixon is also the author of six Gunggari language children’s storybooks that not only teach language, but emphasises the importance of Country, animals and totems. 

Working as a health advocate and co-researcher for the University of Queensland, Nixon helped to establish community-controlled health services for the community of South West Queensland, including being Chair of the Goolburri Mobile Dental Service Committee, now known as the Goolburri Aboriginal Health Advancement. 

As a woman committed to improving Indigenous health, in 1991, she travelled across Australia to educate doctors and nurses on Aboriginal health and cultural competency. For more than 15 years she produced three editions of the text Binang Goonj – Bridging Cultures in Aboriginal Health. This publication today still continues to have a enormous impact on health professionals and the Indigenous health community. 

In 2007, Nixon co-researched Cultural Homelessness among Aboriginal Youth in South West Queensland and also contributed enormously to the Indigenous Women’s Group and in 2008 was awarded the Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Award “Myalla Booboghun” Big Talking Women for her service and contribution.

Despite being retired, Nixon still works hard, volunteering through Nalingu Aboriginal Corporation were she supports tours, language, cultural education. She also does work helping members of the Stolen Generations. 

Nixon also works as the Director of the Gunggari Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, as well as being the founding member and Gunggari Representative on the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations (NBAN) Committee.