Dr Richard Walley (Dr Richard Walley)

Prior to 1788 there were an estimated 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait languages and 800 dialects spoken across this continent we now know as Australia. Now there are approximately 150.

In lutruwita (Tasmania) a sleeping language has been revived and made it’s way to the Venice Film Festival. palawa kani is a community initiative. Researchers and linguists combed through historical records, word lists created by French scientists and an English missionary.

Dr Richard Walley, a Noongar musician grew up on the outskirts of Perth, out of reach of the authorities, speaking language and practicing culture- he didn’t realise that it had been outlawed. Years later he took what he’d been taught and formed a performance group- then at a festival in 1976 he got a request that he couldn’t refuse...

The Few Who Do with CGU Insurance. Two hosts, one problem, two possibilities.

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be advised that this episode of The Few Who Do may contain the voice and names of people who have passed away.

Featured guests:

Theresa Sainty, Aboriginal Linguistic Consultant, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

Dr Richard Walley, Co-Founder of Aboriginal Productions


Presented by
Marc Fennell, Jan Fran
Published on
Thursday, July 4, 2019 - 22:01
File size
40.9 MB
35 min 49 sec


palawa kani is a revived language from lutruwita (Tasmania) It is a community led project in conjunction with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre with a team of researchers and linguists working on the language including Heather and June Sculthorpe and Annie Reynolds. Find out more here

Audio of Fanny Cochrane Smith kind permission granted from the family and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Watch Lil J and Big Cuz palawa kani episode here. Kind permission granted by ACER and Ned Landers.

liyini milaythina rrala (Singing Country Strong) is a song sung in palawa kani, written by Theresa Sainty and composed by Jodi Haines. Performed by Kartanya Maynard, Jodi Haines,  Jude Reid and Merinda Sainty. Recorded by Nigel Hellyer

Dr Richard Walley contributed two unnamed tracks


Producer: Sarah Mashman

Consultants: Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, Theresa Sainty, Dr Richard Walley, Robyn Walley, Rhanna Collins, Lea Redfern

Editorial oversight: Fiona Williams

Research: Cheyne Anderson

Engineer: Jeremy Wilmot

Theme composer: Simeon Bartholomew