Researcher Elizabeth Ellis from the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences. Photo by Lannon Harley.

Researcher Elizabeth Ellis from the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences. Photo by Lannon Harley.

Mother tongue

A chance find of a language fragment buried in archives of a family farm sheds light on a forgotten Indigenous language. Jane Faure-Brac reports on how the find is emblematic of the United Nation’s Year of Indigenous Languages.

When Roni O’Brien was sifting through 150 years’ worth of belongings on the family property in the Riverina, a stamped, hand-written pen-and-ink envelope dated April 1863 caught her eye.