Texts previously unknown to modern academics uncovered in research project that will help to preserve culture and identityHidden away on a shelf at the Mitchell library in Sydney sat what Dr Michael Walsh thought was a chunky volume from the New South Wales state library’s vast collection of colonial manuscripts.He pulled it from the shelves only to realise it wasn’t a book but a box, containing two notebooks. He flicked through the first pages which contained, in Walsh’s words, “a lot of doodles” – but on page seven things got interesting.”A short vocabulary of the natives of Raffles Bay,” it said. Walsh had just rediscovered a guide to the Indigenous languages used near a British settlement on the coast of the Northern Territory, written by the Victorian colonialist Charles Tyres. The text had been unknown to modern academics.”At that time I figured, well, probably no one knows about this because I only stumbled across it by dumb luck,” says a modest Walsh. But the notebooks form part of a huge array of documents uncovered at the state library.A two-year research project, headed by Walsh, has unearthed 14km worth of colonial manuscripts that shed light on 100 Indigenous languages, many of …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books