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Bayala – The Sydney Language Out of the Vaults at the Library

Held every January since 1977, the Sydney Festival highlights the uniqueness of the great city of Sydney. In conjunction with Bayala – the Sydney Language lessons conducted by Jacinta Tobin and Joel Davison, the Library was invited to showcase rare and priceless items from our heritage collections that tell the story of the Sydney language and shine a light on the Aboriginal identities who spoke it.

On display was an assortment of material from a variety of formats and date ranges. The talk was broken into sections dealing with first contact, the Sydney language lists, Sydney identities, placenames and various collectors of language. Manuscripts, First Fleet diaries, rare books, a breastplate and artwork complimented the talk given by members of the Indigenous Services Branch.

After each presentation, the participants were invited to approach the rare material and ask questions of the speakers. The participants were amazed that they were afforded the opportunity to be in such close proximity to our country’s seminal documentary heritage. 


people and manuscripts