Celebrate NAIDOC with the Library

Celebrate NAIDOC with the Library
‘Songlines: The living narrative of our nation’ through learning, events and exhibitions
7 June 2016

NAIDOC Week (NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’) on 3-10 July is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.

We are committed to the collection, preservation and sharing of Indigenous history. To highlight our unique collection of material relating to Indigenous Australians, we will be hosting a series of presentations and lectures as a part of our NAIDOC Week events program. You can also join in by exploring our online Indigenous collection resources.

Come to an event

On Tuesday 5 July, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members Shannon Sutton, John Morseu and Nicolette Suttor will give a collection talk, sharing items that have special meaning for them.

Our Treasures Gallery has been refreshed with a new display of objects. On Wednesday 6 July, Nat Williams, James and Bettison Treasures Curator, will present an exhibition floor talk in the gallery introducing material depicting Aboriginal life, including the earliest published portrait of Aboriginal catechist Samuel Kandwillan and the remarkable sketchbook of Yackaduna (Tommy McRae).

On Thursday 7 July, you can find out more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander material in the collection—what we have and how to access it—by attending a free information session.

One of the works on display in the Treasures Gallery, Portrait of an Aboriginal man, c. 1845, nla.obj-135519046

Explore our Digital Classroom

In addition to the program of events, we are excited to announce a new module in our Digital Classroom.

Going live for NAIDOC Week, the module features the works of Jon Rhodes, one of Australia’s most important documentary photographers and his 2007 exhibition Cage of Ghosts. Rhodes’ photographs show 36 sites including examples of scarred and carved trees, bora rings, and cave paintings and rock engravings. They also mention prominent Aboriginal historical figures, linking their stories to the material evidence of habitation.

The resource is targeted at Year 8 Geography students and explores Australian Curriculum content such as the ‘spiritual, aesthetic and cultural value of landscapes and landforms for people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’—a great link with this year’s NAIDOC theme of Songlines.

View the new module.

Jon Rhodes (b. 1974), Hands on the wire enclosing Gamilaraay carved trees, Collarenebri, New South Wales, 1999, nla.obj-147670361

Reading in Indigenous languages

As part of National Simultaneous Storytime on 23 May 2016 we made video recordings of the book I Got This Hat being read in just a few of the approximately 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages of Australia, many of which are documented in our collection

National Simultaneous Storytime is an annual campaign that aims to encourage more young Australians to read and enjoy books. Each year the Australian Library and Information Association picks a book to be read simultaneously in venues all across the country. This year’s book, I Got This Hat, written by Jol and Kate Temple and illustrated by Jon Foye, was read nationally to an audience of thousands.

Paul, India and Sophia Hingston read I Got This Hat in the Warramunga language from the Northern Territory, Library staff member John Morseu read the book in Torres Strait Creole and Paul House read it in the Walgalu-Wiradjuri language from central New South Wales and the ACT. Watch all of the videos.

Find out about other NAIDOC Week events across Australia.

Hi Matt, it is vital to preserve our history and provide services to the many cultures in Australia. Does the library keep cultural data on its members or visitors e.g. percentage of members who are indigenous or data on who attends these events? It would be very interesting to see which areas of society you are impacting on/ teaching something to with cultural events. Thanks, Emma
Hi Emma, Thanks for your question. While we aim to make our collections and resources available to as many Australians as possible, we don’t collect information on how our physical or digital visitors culturally identify. With your query in mind, we’re always happy to take feedback from members of the public about how we can better engage them and their community.