Launching Great Book Swap for 2023 with a Wamparla and Lungkurra!

Launching Great Book Swap for 2023 with a Wamparla and Lungkurra!

On Tuesday 14 March, with much anticipation and excitement, we launched our biggest fundraising event, Great Book Swap (GBS) for 2023 at Taronga Zoo in Sydney and at the University of Queensland (UQ).

Taronga Zoo GBS launch 

Over 80 First Nations primary school students from four Sydney schools participated in a Great Book Swap and learnt about possums (Wamparla, in Arabana language) and blue tongue lizards (Lungkara in Walmajarri language) with ILF Co Chair Natalie Ahmat at Taronga Zoo. 

Image by Joseph Mayers.

Lungkara and Wamparla are just two of the five Indigenous language houses that schools will be allocated when they register for the 2023 Great Book Swap with associated learning resources.  

Image by Joseph Mayers.

The language houses are designed to engage students in an Aboriginal region, a language, and an animal from that region. Each animal is featured in one of the ILF bilingual published books; stories that have been written and illustrated by remote Communities.

Image of GBS Language Houses

Event host, ILF Co-chair and TV presenter,  Natalie Ahmat encourages Australian schools to “...learn more about the Country they are on, and the First Languages of their region. It’s the second year of UNESCO's International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032, and we all have a role to promote Aboriginal languages,” says Natalie.  

Image by Joseph Mayers.

The kids got up close and personal with a lizard and possum and practised saying the names of the animals in different Aboriginal First Languages. Then it was all hands on books as the kids were invited to select a book donated by another. 

Image by Joseph Mayers.

Check out the news segment by NITV and the Channel 10 segment here

Learn more about Great Book Swap and register your school by visiting the link here.

University of Queensland GBS launch

Later on in the same day, at University of Queensland (UQ) along the banks of Brisbane River,  ILF lifetime Ambassador Professor Anita Heiss, ILF Co-Patron Dame Quentin Bryce AD, CVO, ILF Founder Suzy Wilson and UQ Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) Professor Bronwyn Fredericks launched another Great Book Swap.

UQ is an avid supporter of ILF and has hosted book swaps since 2017. 

Pictured: Dame Quentin Bryce, ILF Founder Suzy Wilson and UQ Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) Professor Bronwyn Fredericks

Dame Quentin Bryce shared the vital role ILF plays in giving kids in remote Australia access to quality books as well as the opportunity to write, illustrate and publish their own stories. Her favourite ILF published book is No Way Yirrikipayi! written and illustrated by children from remote Milikapiti School in the Tiwi Islands, and she joyfully recited the line, “No way Yirrikipayi, you're not eating me today!” 

Students, staff, volunteers and members of the public browsed two tables brimming with quality books - both new and used - that were generously donated by University faculties, UQP, the RAP team, and signed copies of a number of Dr Anita Heiss’s books, raising over $500 in donations.  

Dr Heiss acknowledged the influence that books have had in her life,  both professionally and personally. She emphasised the importance of ILF being Community-led - that is supporting remote Communities to determine their children’s literacy journeys and publishing stories written by Communities in languages of their choice. 

“Having books that share local stories in First Languages, preserves and maintains Indigenous languages and culture, as well as builds pride, identity and strengthens a sense of belonging, confidence and wellbeing,” says Dr Heiss, “and that’s why the ILF’s publishing program is so important”. 

UQ Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement), Professor Bronwyn Fredericks, said the University was immensely supportive of the work of the ILF. 

“Our students and staff throw their support behind this worthy cause which promotes the sharing of vital learning resources - books that many people in urban Australia take for granted. Providing early learning opportunities for children aligns with our commitment to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who aspire to higher education.”

Click here to learn more about Great Book Swap and register your business or workplace.

How does a GBS work?

The concept of a Great Book Swap is simple. Each person brings a book, swaps it for another and  makes a donation to the ILF. This year the ILF is aiming to raise $180,000, representing 18,000 books gifted to children and families in more than 400 remote Communities. 

We encourage corporates, organisations and social groups to host a Great Book Swap and learn more about the Lands on which they live and work. A swap can be hosted at any time of the year and has the added benefit of enhancing social connections through the joy of sharing, reading and learning.

Learn more and register your school or workplace at

  • Posted 23 March, 2023

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