KLRC Overview

The purpose of the KLRC Archive is to maintain and provide access to language materials which have been collected for the KLRC by linguists, researchers and language workers since the 1980s. We also have materials provided by people who did not work through the organisation. These materials include audio, visual and written items, with some dating back to the 1950s.

Archive Room
The KLRC building was purpose built from rammed earth with the Archive Room in the middle of the building as an archival storage area. This has the best environment for the materials as there is not much variation in temperature and humidity throughout the year. This is very important for preserving audio, visual and paper items.

Developing a System
The KLRC’s current aim is to develop a system that allows Aboriginal people to have access to the information without too many barriers. We have limited space, so we would like to keep information that is practical for people and communities.

In 2008 an Archive Strategy was developed, with recommended actions for a 5 to 10 year period. Out of those recommendations a Policies and Procedures manual was written and has been put into practice. This is important for consistency in how the materials are catalogued and to help new staff understand the system.

One barrier to efficiently getting information back to communities at the moment is the lack of capacity to quickly and easily copy materials – especially if people want digital versions of analogue materials.

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.
A lot of the linguistic information is important for research by academics and is kept at places likeĀ AIATSIS. A proportion of the current holdings are copies, mostly from originals held at AIATSIS.

AIATSIS is currently supporting regional language centres with a centralised database. It is hoped that this will help make it easier for Aboriginal people to access the information in the KLRC Archive.

There are many unlabelled tapes, films, CDs and floppy disks that we cannot play or open with current computer technology. There is a lot of linguistic material that may have no practical use to the community, such as elicitation recordings. We probably do not need to keep them as they are stored at AIATSIS.

The issue is that with many items we have to watch or listen to identify the language and the speaker and type of content, because there has not been enough information provided about the item. This is a big job, and people from across the region are needed to help the KLRC. At this time we do not have the resources to support such a project.

Another big job is identifying the people and places in thousands of photos, both old and new (digital) in order to provide more information in the database.

Where we’re going…
It is a BIG job and one that will be ongoing as long as the KLRC is operating. The more that gets done with the archives the better the quality of the information we will hold for the community to access.

[Adapted from a presentation given by Michelle Martin, KLRC Archive Manager 2009-2010, 26th May 2010]

"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,
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We acknowledge the old people, elders and language speakers who have passed.

Please be aware their images or voice may appear on this website.