Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages, Charles Darwin University (CDU), Darwin

Identity area



Authorized form of name

Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages, Charles Darwin University (CDU), Darwin

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name


  • University

Contact area


Project manager



Street address

Charles Darwin University




Northern Territory

Country name

Postal code



08 8946 6876


08 8946 7175



Description area


During the era of bilingual education in the Northern Territory, many books were produced at 20 Literature Production Centres in more than 25 languages. These materials are both widely dispersed and endangered, and contain interesting and significant stories in Indigenous Australian languages, with many beautiful illustrations.

The Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages project is creating a digital archive of this endangered literature, with permission from the language owners to make the materials available to community members, researchers and other interested parties through a searchable and extensible online repository. The result aims to be a living archive with connections to the communities where the books belong.

The project was funded in 2012 by the Australian Research Council, with partner agencies:

  • Charles Darwin University (CDU)
  • Australian National University and
  • Northern Territory Department of Education and Children’s Services.
    Since the project began in February 2012, work commenced on 16 collections of material. Over 2500 different titles have been digitised and prepared for uploading to the CDU Library eSpace digital repository.

A successful second application to the Australian Research Council allowed the project team to expand the archive beyond the original bilingual schools, and to engage people in using the materials contained in the archive. Alongside existing partners, the Northern Territory Department of Education and the Australian National University, new partners joined the project:

Geographical and cultural context

Materials in Indigenous languages of the Northern Territory.

Mandates/Sources of authority

Administrative structure

Records management and collecting policies

Stage 2 collections policy:

  • Texts by Aboriginal authors in NT Languages only (these could include unpublished stories, texts from theses, newly created texts, in either hard copy or in digital form.)
  • Related objects (audio visual materials, photos, audio, e-books – already digitised) are to be included only as ‘related objects’ if related to texts.
    For further details, see



A digital repository of endangered literature in Indigenous languages of the Northern Territory.

Finding aids, guides and publications

See for videos on using the site.

Access area

Opening times

Access conditions and requirements

The materials in the Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages are available under a Creative Commons Australia license (BY-NC-ND).

Stories and pictures in this work belong to the Aboriginal language owners, creators of the work and their descendants.

For further information, see


Services area

Research services

Reproduction services

Public areas

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Entered 21 April 2018




Maintenance notes

Access points

Access Points

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Thematic area)
  • Arts and Culture (Thematic area)
  • Education (Thematic area)
  • Indigenous (Thematic area)
  • Language (Thematic area)
  • Clipboard

Primary contact

Charles Darwin University
Darwin, Northern Territory 0909