Sharing Indigenous languages: Making the Flint collection open and accessible.

In 1960, Dr Elwyn Flint commenced a long term project known as the Queensland Speech Survey. The Survey included recordings of Indigenous languages spoken by Aboriginal people across the state and languages spoken in the Torres Strait Islands. Over six years, Flint recorded both males and females of all generations in urban, regional and remote communities, including 29 Indigenous communities. His recordings documented between 15 and 20 Indigenous languages, many of which are either no longer spoken or near to being no longer spoken.

To this day, Flint’s Survey constitutes one of the largest and broadest collections of languages spoken in Queensland in the 20th century.

Elwyn Flint using recording equipment

Research Impact

The digitisation, metadata creation, and transcription of previously inaccessible material has produced an important new corpus of language material for research, which is discoverable via the Indigenous Voices of Queensland website. This collection provides a strong contribution to the field of comparative linguistics. The identification of digitised phrases from a range of Aboriginal languages allows comparisons of words across languages – something that was not possible before.

Increased Access

Over 2,500 recordings are digitally preserved for future generations and are held in UQ eSpace thanks to the support of Australian National Data Service, QCIF (Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation), UQ Library, and UQ School of Languages and Cultures.

Why not explore this unique collection today!


Last updated:
21 August 2018