Binjari Buks launched at the Sydney Opera House on Indigenous Literacy Day

Binjari Buks launched at the Sydney Opera House on Indigenous Literacy Day

We were thrilled to celebrate our eighth year as a Foundation and Indigenous Literacy Day at the Sydney Opera House today.

Introducing the morning’s jam-packed program was ILF Ambassador and NITV news presenter Natalie Ahmat who welcomed students and teachers from 20 schools across Sydney, as well as other special guests and supporters including Viva Energy Australia and Harper Collins Publishing whose support made the launch possible. Uncle Allen Madden kicked off proceedings with a very informative and engaging Welcome to Country.

Josh Pyke and Justine Clarke then delighted everyone with 'Words Make the World Go Around'. The audience didn’t need much encouragement to sing along and join in the actions that accompanied the song which Josh and Justine wrote and recorded two years ago.

A highlight of the celebrations was the launch of NINE exciting new books for children. Written in Kriol, the Binjari Buks – three board books, three picture books and three chapter books – were developed and illustrated by a group of amazing women from Binjari community near Katherine in the Northern Territory.

ILF Lifetime Ambassador and renowned author and illustrator Alison Lester did the honours of launching the book, speaking of the field trips she has been on with our Foundation to some very remote communities, and the joys of helping people turn their stories into books.

“It’s very important for kids to see their own lives reflected in books,” Alison said. “And it's vital that they are able to learn to read in their first language because this is what makes literacy and learning more accessible.”

The audience was then treated to Fishing – lenimbat ola biginini  (Fishing know-how — teaching children), Moli det bigibigi (Molly the Pig) and Tudei an longtaim (Now and Then). Each book was read in Kriol and translated into English by the talented authors and a group of students from St Joseph’s Catholic College in Katherine. It was their first trip to the big smoke, and their first time on stage under the big white sails of the Sydney Opera House. It was also the first time the Opera House has hosted a performance in Kriol!

All the while, a stuffed ‘Molly the Pig’ watched on from her pride of place high on the podium, much to everyone’s delight.

After the clapping and cheers died down, Natalie introduced the six New South Wales ILF Student Ambassadors for 2018. Each one of these committed young people have been working hard over the past few weeks, raising awareness about Indigenous literacy and organising fundraisers and Great Book Swaps in their schools and local areas.

The Student Ambassadors then oversaw the biggest Great Book Swap of the day, as the hundreds of students who had come along swapped a much-loved book in exchange for a gold coin donation. All monies raised help us gift quality, culturally appropriate books to remote Indigenous communities.

After hundreds of fantastic books were swapped, there was just enough time for the kids to enjoy a quick read on the steps before the festivities ended and they had to head back to school.

A huge thank you must be extended to our team of dedicated volunteers on the day from our corporate sponsors: Viva Energy Australia, Network Ten, Mitsubishi Australia, Penguin Random House, Hardie Grant Publishing and Societe General.

Happy Indigenous Literacy Day! And happy reading! If you would like to purchase your own copy of Moli det bigibigi through all good bookshops or from our website.

And a big thank you to the Sydney Opera House for sponsoring our event, and to VIVA Energy Australia for their very generous support and JEM Promotional Products for manufacturing our water bottles to give away to our special school students in the audience.

You can support our Foundation for the month of September by signing up to Fill A Bookshelf. For more information visit

  • Posted 05 September, 2018

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