Foundation launches million-dollar plan to record Australia's songlines

Oct 19, 2016, 09:20 AM

One to two Indigenous languages are being lost every year, say experts who estimate if the trend continues only 50 Indigenous languages will be left by the year 2050.

Experts say Australia is in the midst of a national crisis as with each year elders die and take with them the knowledge of Indigenous languages.

To try to capture these languages before it becomes too late, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) has launched a foundation to record languages and songlines.

Of more than 300 languages that existed pre-colonisation, fewer than half remain and all are considered endangered, many critically.

Rachel Perkins, the president of the new foundation, said if action was not taken now the languages would be lost forever.

"That would be a tragedy of enormous proportions," she said.