• Digital resources for language

    VACL is expanding into the use of inteactive digital tools and Apps for learning language.

    Read More
  • Community Training Workshops

    VACL offers a range of workshops to assist you with your language revival journey.

    Read More
  • Education and learning

    VACL supports education and learning activities in schools and communities around Victoria.

    Read More
  • Cultural events
    and festivals

    VACL promotes language through cultural activities and public events.

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Group Photo 1

VACL's Vision

The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL) will retrieve, revive and strengthen Indigenous Languages for Victorian Aboriginal people.


VACL's Objectives

The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL) will achieve this by:

  • Acting as the peak body for Victorian Aboriginal Languages to develop partnerships with, and provide resources and information to, government and non-government and community organizations.
  • Promoting VACL as it fosters appreciation and use of Indigenous languages in a range of domains and media, so as to advance their retrieval, revival and maintenance.
  • Assisting Aboriginal communities to coordinate resources and employment and training through local language centres and committees.
  • Providing and maintaining a centre for resources for, and documentation of languages for the benefit of Victorian Aboriginal people.
  • Ensuring good governance and management practices within VACLs structure.

The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages was established in 1994 to address the issues of language loss and is the state body responsible for coordinating Community Language Programs throughout Victoria. These programs are run in local communities that report regularly back to VACL. The Corporation is focused on retrieving, recording and researching Aboriginal languages and providing a central resource on Victorian Aboriginal Languages with programs now looking at educational tools to teach the Indigenous community about language.

Aboriginal Languages in pre-contact Australia

Prior to colonisation there were approximately 250 Indigenous languages spoken in Australia (approximately 40 in Victoria). Some of these had several varieties, and there were altogether about 500 language varieties used across Australia. Before settlement Indigenous individuals were capable of speaking five or more languages fluently. When two people met, they could identify the region each came from by the way they spoke. It was a bit like travelling across Europe and recognising which country each person comes from by their language.

Aboriginal Languages in Victoria today

In recent years there has been an upsurge of interest in the Aboriginal languages of the south-eastern corner of Australia. The boundaries between one language area and another are not distinct. Rather, mixtures of vocabulary and grammatical construction exist in such regions, and so linguistic maps may show some variation about where one language ends and another begins.

Many Australian Indigenous languages have declined to a critical state. More than three-quarters of the original Australian languages have already been lost, and the survival of almost all of the remaining languages are extremely threatened.


“Language is the carrier of information about who we are,

how we express ourselves and our culture, 

it defines our world around us”


Language alive in the community

Communities throughout Victoria, supported by VACL, are reviving their languages through language camps, workshops, school programs and educational material for children, music and dictionaries.

Aims of the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages:

  • To manage the Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language Initiative Program (ATSILIP).
  • To provide and maintain a central resource for Victorian Indigenous Languages for the benefit of the local Aboriginal Communities and individual Aboriginal people of Victorian Aboriginal descent.
  • To ensure that local Community Language Programs are progressing according to their benchmarks and objectives.
  • To support local Aboriginal community programs with research and retrieval by supporting the language workers with advice, training and assistance when needed.
  • To research and retrieve language materials from Victorian and interstate archives, so the material can be made available to local communities.
  • Assist local Communities with the writing of retrieval plans.

"Education and language are the glue needed to 

maintain, revive and reclaim culture."


Why is language important?

Language is important because it is a way to express identity and proud of where they come from and who they are. If a person knows a word in their language he/she is maintaining a link that has lasted thousands of years, keeping words alive that have been used by their ancestors - language is an ancestral right and it distinguishes something special about Aboriginal people from non-Aboriginal people. Language is a part of culture, and knowledge about culture is a means of empowering people. Language contributes to the wellbeing of Aboriginal communities, strengthens ties between elders and young people and improves education in general for Indigenous people of all ages.


Latest News

Young Aboriginal people consider jail a rite of passage, WA Chief Justice says - ABC Online
ABC OnlineYoung Aboriginal people consider jail a rite of passage, WA Chief Justice saysABC OnlineYoung Aboriginal people consider detention or jail a rite of passage, and governments are failing to reduce Indigenous incarceration rates, Western Australia's Chief Justice has told...
When Racism Masquerades as “Equality”: The Adam Goodes Furore - The Conversation AU
The Conversation AUWhen Racism Masquerades as “Equality”: The Adam Goodes FuroreThe Conversation AUAborigines were declared a dying race, written out of the history books, banned from speaking their languages, confined to missions and sent to the margins of towns. Some...
Nova Peris says government language around Indigenous people is patronising - The Guardian
The GuardianNova Peris says government language around Indigenous people is patronisingThe GuardianFederal senator Nova Peris has excoriated white Australia's relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, saying the government just gives “hope and aspiration on three-year funding cycles” and...
'Reconciliation one hour at a time': Reviving Aboriginal culture in schools - ABC Online
ABC Online'Reconciliation one hour at a time': Reviving Aboriginal culture in schoolsABC OnlineAt seven primary and secondary schools across Victoria local Aboriginal language classes are part of the curriculum. The revival of 18 of the state's Indigenous languages is recent...
AFN asks Ottawa to declare all aboriginal languages official - The Globe and Mail
The Globe and MailAFN asks Ottawa to declare all aboriginal languages officialThe Globe and MailThe head of the Assembly of First Nations is calling for the nearly 60 indigenous languages spoken in Canada to be declared official along with English...
Mount Druitt Indigenous Youth Choir revives Dharug language - Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning HeraldMount Druitt Indigenous Youth Choir revives Dharug languageSydney Morning HeraldTen-year-old Shonelle Clarke lowers her head in thought before she softly replies: "Aboriginals were here first, but now kids like me don't really know what Aboriginal is." This, she...

Photo Gallery

Image Gallery for VACLANG
RokBox Image 1
Image 3
Image 4
Image 5
Image 6
Image 7
Image 8