Commemorative stamp celebrates Indigenous languages

Thursday, 2 May 2019 - 10:00am
IYIL 10 stamp sheetlet pack featuring Woiwurrung language words and the AUSTLANG map
IYIL 10 stamp sheetlet pack featuring Woiwurrung language words and the AUSTLANG map

Australia Post is marking the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019 (IYIL) with a commemorative stamp celebrating the more than 250 Indigenous languages in our nation’s history.

Designed by Sharon Rodziewicz of the Australia Post Design Studio, the domestic base-rate ($1) stamp features the official United Nations logo for the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019.

The map featured on the sheetlet pack represents the regions associated with the hundreds of Indigenous language variations, both current and historical, recorded in AUSTLANG, the Australian Indigenous languages database developed and maintained by AIATSIS.

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) CEO and Co-Chair of the IYIL 2019 steering committee Craig Ritchie said: “This year presents a great opportunity to have a national discussion about the role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures play in shaping the nation and informing our identity.”

“More than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were spoken at the time of European settlement in 1788. Today only 13 of these languages are acquired as first language by the youngest generation – a crucial element for language maintenance.”

The United Nations suggests that around 40 per cent of the estimated 6,700 languages spoken around the world are in danger of disappearing. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL 2019) to raise awareness of the crucial role languages play in people’s lives, cultural identity and wellbeing.

Last reviewed: 9 May 2019