The notebooks of William Dawes on the language of Sydney

Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project

School of Oriental and African Studies

Aboriginal Affairs NSW

Aboriginal Affairs NSW

William Dawes on The Aboriginal Language of Sydney

The Aboriginal language of Sydney is one of many Indigenous languages spoken in Australia. Almost destroyed in the whirlwind of colonisation, it was documented by William Dawes, an officer of the First Fleet of 1787–88.



The notebooks of Lieutenant William Dawes at the SOAS Library Special Collections are the major source of information about the Aboriginal language of Sydney. They contain information of significance to Aboriginal communities of New South Wales, to linguists, historians, residents of Sydney, and many others.

This website is the result of a collaboration between the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project and the Library Special Collections, both of which are based at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Our aim is to enable easy access to the notebooks through the publication of high quality images and a new electronic text version. Funding and resources for the project were provided by the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project, SOAS, and Aboriginal Affairs NSW.

Click on the menus at left to continue, or go directly to the notebook page index.