Australia Post is marking the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019 with a commemorative stamp celebrating the more than 250 indigenous languages in our nation’s history.
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.
In the Australian context, IYIL 2019 is an opportunity to shine a light on the important work being done to preserve and promote Australia’s Indigenous languages by communities and organisations around the country. This includes the more than 20 Indigenous language centres funded by the Commonwealth Department of Communications and the Arts.
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) CEO and member 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.”
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 the Australian Indigenous languages database developed and maintained by AIATSIS.
Products associated with this issue include a first day cover, sheetlet pack, maxicard, postal numismatic cover, and sheetlet of 10 x $1.
The stamp and associated products are available at participating Post Offices, via mail order on 1800 331 794, and online at auspost.com.au/stamps, from Tuesday 30 April 2019 while stocks last.