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Dr Lynne KeIly - Indigenous Memory Techniques in Modern Times

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Rydges Esplanade

209-217 Abbott St

Cairns, QLD 4870


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Event description



Dr Lynne Kelly, author of The Memory Code and founder of the Orality Centre, will present 3 talks on how non-literate societies have succeeded in remembering vast amounts of information.

The talk will present information on:

  • How ancient monuments such as Stonehenge, Chaco Canyon, Easter Island moai heads were memory 'universities'

  • Why/how did the Navajo memorise over 700 insects with no written language when only 8 insects (food, annoyance) were of interest?

  • How Aboriginal songlines encoded massive amount of information into the landscape

  • Portable memory devices from around the world (e.g. Lynne Kelly has the 440 birds of Victoria encoded/memorised on a hand held device, divided into family groups)

  • Indigenous people's connection to land - an ecosystem of knowledge and wisdom

  • How we can use this "memory technology" in our lives, schools and studies today.

Thursday Afternoon Session - 29th June: 3pm - 5pm

This session is for educators, parents and students and will focus on using these memory techniques for educational purposes. These techniques can be easily incorporated into the curriculum with trials already underway in Victoria at two schools. The talk will start with Dr Kelly presenting her discoveries, followed by a Q & A session and finishing with a workshop in which 68 students and 8 teachers demonstrate practical use of these techniques using the periodic table as an example.

Small World Journeys intends to donate $3000 towards school-based trails in the Cairns region which will also be discussed during this event. We therefore encourage teachers and principals to attend this session!

Friday Afternoon Session - 30th June: 3pm - 4.30pm

This session is for community and government organisations, parents and students interested in Dr Lynne Kelly's discoveries. There will be a particular focus on Indigenous memory techniques used at Stonehenge, Chaco Canyon and in Australian Aboriginal Songlines and portable devices such as the Coolamon and African Lukasa. Dr. Kelly will also discuss modern use of these techniques in the modern world. Q & A to follow.

For non-Indigenous people, this presentation will give you a better understanding of the profound connection to land felt by non-literate cultures around the world. You will also learn the sophisticated techniques used by these cultures to memorise and retain vast amounts of information on lore, history, political agreements between different groups, information on plants animals, seasons, survival in the landscape and much more.

Friday Night Session - 30th June: 7pm - 8.30pm

This session will be similar to the Friday 3pm session, but held for general public, tourists (particularly those going to the Laura Dance Festival), tour guides/companies and parents. Canapes will be supplied and a cash bar available for a get together after the event. Great networking opportunity for people involved in the tourism industry, and awesome information to add to your Laura Festival experience if you are attending for the weekend festivities.

Interested and want to know more?

Below are some excellent resources to get you started:

  1. Lynne Kelly Website: 33 Memory Experiments
  2. Excellent Article: Grounded: Indigenous Knowing in a Concrete Reality
  3. Orality Centre: Ancient memory systems in the modern classroom
  4. ABC interview with Richard Fidler
  5. The book: The Memory Code

Please Note: If you are facing financial difficulty and would love to attend, please call Small World Journeys on (07) 4054 6693.


What are my parking options for getting to and from the event?

The Rydges Esplanade is very close to the Cairns Base Hospital. There is parking:

  1. At Rydges carpark, accessable by a driveway off Lake Street. Drive up the ramp. Not suitable for large or tall vehicles
  2. In the surrounding streets, either Lake Street or Abbott St.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Call Small World Journeys on 07 4054 6693 or email info@smallworldjourneys.com.au

What's the refund policy?

Refund is through this website, and is available until 7pm, Monday 26th June.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Preferable, not not necessary.

Is my registration fee or ticket transferrable?


Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn't match the person who attends?


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Rydges Esplanade

209-217 Abbott St

Cairns, QLD 4870


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