• Digital resources for language

    Digital resources for language

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

    Read More
  • Community Training Workshops

    Community Training Workshops

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

    Read More
  • Education and learning

    Education and learning

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

    Read More
  • Cultural events and festivals

    Cultural events
    and festivals

    VACL promotes language through cultural activities and public events.

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Language is important to Aboriginal people because it is a way for them to express their identity and be 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.



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 and educational tools to teach the Indigenous and wider community about language.

  • Act 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.

  • Promote 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.

  • Assist Aboriginal communities to coordinate resources and employment and training through local language centres and committees.

  • Provide and maintain a centre for resources and documentation of languages for the benefit of Victorian Aboriginal people.

  • Ensure good governance and management practices within VACLs structure.


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.


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”


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

The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages supports these communities by:

  • Providing and maintaining a central resource for Victorian Indigenous Languages for the benefit of the local Aboriginal Communities and individual Aboriginal people of Victorian Aboriginal descent.

  • Ensuring that local Community Language Programs are progressing according to their benchmarks and objectives.

  • Supporting local Aboriginal community programs with research and retrieval by supporting the language workers with advice, training and assistance when needed.

  • Researching and retrieving language materials from Victorian and interstate archives, so the material can be made available to local communities.

  • Assisting local Communities with the writing of retrieval plans.

"Education and language are the glue needed to maintain, revive and reclaim culture."

Latest News

Indigenous arts take centre stage in Wesley Enoch's first Sydney Festival - The Age
The AgeIndigenous arts take centre stage in Wesley Enoch's first Sydney FestivalThe AgeA concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of Australia's 1967 Indigenous rights referendum and Aboriginal language classes are among the highlights of the 17 Sydney Festival, which will also...
Indigenous arts take centre stage in Wesley Enoch's first Sydney ... - The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning HeraldIndigenous arts take centre stage in Wesley Enoch's first Sydney ...The Sydney Morning HeraldWesley Enoch's first festival as director features a strong program of Indigenous arts and a shake up of festival traditions.Wesley Enoch, the festival's first...
Andy Mason visited the Muurrbay Aboriginal Language & Culture Co-operative. - Honi Soit
Honi SoitAndy Mason visited the Muurrbay Aboriginal Language & Culture Co-operative.Honi SoitThis semester, as part of a class on Indigenous language revival, I visited Muurrbay Aboriginal Language & Culture Co-operative in Nambucca Heads on Gumbaynggirr country (NSW north coast). Muurrbay...
Aboriginal educator questions State Government language revitalisation program - ABC Online
ABC OnlineAboriginal educator questions State Government language revitalisation programABC OnlineA leading Aboriginal language educator has criticised the Department of Education's management of Indigenous languages in NSW schools. The State Government is currently trialling five location in NSW to teach local...
First Australian Indigenous-language video game offers new platform for ancient culture - ABC Online
ABC OnlineFirst Australian Indigenous-language video game offers new platform for ancient cultureABC OnlineThe world's first Aboriginal Australian-language video game is being developed in a bid to preserve traditional language and culture. The endless runner game is titled Tjinari, meaning "someone...