The KLRC was the first regional language centre established in Australia. It is the peak representative body for Aboriginal languages in the Kimberley. The organisation was set up in 1984 (incorporated in 1985) following the establishment of the Kimberley Land Council (1978) and the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (1984). These organisations together protect the heritage of Kimberley Aboriginal people which is based on a foundation of Land, Law, Language and Culture.
The KLRC is governed by an elected Board accountable to a membership representative of the 30 remaining language groups in the region (about a fifth of the remaining national languages). The strategic direction of the organisation is developed from the grass roots and is regularly reviewed to ensure it is reflects the needs of people at the community level.
Click HERE to view the KLRC Strategic Plan document.
The KLRC was founded in the belief that the effects of colonisation on the Indigenous languages of Australia were endangering the cultural knowledge of thousands of years. The oral transmission of this knowledge to younger generations has been severely disrupted, and the impact of the English language and the Western system of education continues to decimate languages and traditional
"The year I turned five years old I was taken away from my mother...Nobody ever spoke their language in school. That's how I lost my language. It was one of my dreams to learn to speak my language again...I love the Language Centre. I am proud to have been the chairperson for this many years."
Bonnie Deegan [KLRC Chairperson 1992-2001] (quoted in State of Indigenous languages in Australia McConvell and Thieberger, 2001, p88). Bonnie is a member of the Stolen Generation who relearned her language of Jaru after returning to Halls Creek from the Beagle Bay Mission.
"Among Aboriginal people, to know my world is to speak my language...I didn't speak English until I went to school. By learning the English language I learned how to deal with the non-Aboriginal world. Now that we can both speak the same language, we would like to ask you to sit down with us, so that we can start talking and listening to one another"
Ivan Kurijinpe McPhee (deceased) quoted in The Kimberley: Our Place: Our Future KLC 1998,