Lynne Kelly – Author & Educator

I am an Adjunct Research Fellow at LaTrobe University, Australia. My ongoing field of research is the memory methods used by those who depended on their memories for everything they knew: oral cultures including Australian Aboriginal, Native American, Pacific and African societies. I explore the memory techniques used as literacy slowly spread, especially in Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Europe as well as glorious mnemonic art forms used across Asia.

In the 2022 Australia Day Honours, I was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for “significant achievement in science education through writing and research”.

I am the author of 19 books, all with a focus on science. I was a teacher for over 40 years and loved my time in the classroom, mainly because I always had such wonderful students. Mostly I taught Physics, Mathematics, Information Technology and General Science. Although my focus was on senior secondary years, I have taught classes from year 3 to tertiary level.

Since completing my doctorate nearly a decade ago, I have been a full time academic and author.

Lynne Kelly – photo: Abigail Heitbaum

I have written 10 books for education and a Young Adult novel and numerous articles. I wrote a number of science titles for a general adult audience before returning to university and completing my PhD on Indigenous memory systems and the application to archaeology. That was not my original topic, but once I stumbled across the vast amount of scientific and cultural knowledge stored in memory by Indigenous cultures, I asked the question which changed my life: how the hell do Indigenous elders remember so much stuff?

My current research focus is the application of these mnemonic technologies in four areas:

1. Education – Indigenous memory systems are being included in formal curriculum at high school and university level, with planned teacher training to expand that range.

2. Ageing – Looking at the benefit of memory technologies for the ageing brain, and practical methods to enhance long term memory and identity.

3. The use of memory techniques for learning foreign languages, in particular comparing the differences in implementation for French and Chinese (Mandarin).

4. Extending the implications of understanding the knowledge systems of oral cultures way back before the Neolithic, where my work had stopped until now. A very exciting research project with American academics, Dr Andrea Alveshere and Dr Vincent Riccardi, potentially takes these techniques back to the very early stages of human evolution through analysis of the mutations of the NF1 gene.

Despite no longer competing formally, I continue to follow Memory Sports closely, especially through Memory League, training only to compete against myself and maintain the skills which earned me the title of Australian Senior Memory Champion in 2017 and 2018. I also look forward to developing a new strand practicing the mnemonic arts in multiple formats.

An academic monograph of my doctoral research was published by Cambridge University Press.  Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies  gives the full academic justification for my theories about indigenous memory systems and archaeology.

I then wrote The Memory Code to share these ideas with a general audience.  I explored the necessity of memory methods to prehistoric cultures. This offers radical new interpretations for their ancient monuments such as Stonehenge, the Nasca Lines and the moai of Easter Island. It is published in Australia by Allen & Unwin, by Atlantic Books in the UK , Pegasus Books in the US and as an audio book by Audible. It is now available in Traditional Chinese (Good Publishing Co., for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau) and Czech (Anag Spol). It is currently being translated into Simplified Chinese for Mainland China (China Worker Publishing House).

In Memory Craft, I look at how all these techniques can be applied in every day life in contemporary society, including the implications for education and ageing. These are memory methods everyone can use – and there are lots of them! It is published in Australia by Allen & Unwin, the US by Pegasus Books and in audio by Wavesound. It is now in Russian (Portal, imprint of Labirint Holding). Memory Craft is currently being translated into Simplified Chinese for Mainland China (Cheers Publishing Company).

Wavesound Audiobook listeners – these are the images from MEMORY CRAFT: The PDF for the images can be dowloaded here.

My most recent book, Songlines: the power and promise, is co-authored with Margo Neale, Head of the Centre for Indigenous Knowledges at the National Museum of Australia. It offers Margo’s Indigenous (the power) and my non-Indigenous (promise) perspective on Songlines. It is published by Thames & Hudson with the National Museum of Australia. Songlines is the lead book in the First Knowledges series. Songlines was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

I practice all the memory methods discussed to ensure I really understand how they work. Given my pathetically poor natural memory, I am constantly shocked by how effective they can be. Through working on my 40 memory experiments, I am committing vast amounts of information to memory. I competed in the Australian Memory Championships, taking the Senior (over 60) title in the two most recent events.

In Memory Craft I talk about the two memory aids I use daily, The Bestiary for memorising names and anything using words. I use The Visual Alphabet for anything which needs sequence, such as a speech, shopping list, to-do list or my bird list when out in the field. The images for the Visual Alphabet and the first two pages of the Bestiary are in Memory Craft. I have now published the full Bestiary as a small book. I have included the Visual Alphabet as I often use the two together.

Grounded: Indigenous Knowing in a Concrete Reality is an academic essay on Indigenous knowledge systems and the implications for education.

Both The Bestiary and Visual Alphabet and Grounded: Indigenous Knowing in a Concrete Reality are available as e-books. All details in the Memory Whisperer Shop.

My previous books include the popular science titles of Spiders: learning to love them and Crocodile. My lighthearted scientific analysis of pseudoscientific claims, The Skeptic’s Guide to the Paranormal is published in The US (Basic Books), Australia (Allen & Unwin) and translated into Russian. I have one novel published, Avenging Janie, and ten books for education.

My TEDxMelbourne talk on The Memory Code can be found by clicking on the image.

I have ventured into the world of memory athletes. Competing in the 2017 and 2018 Australian Memory Competitions, I took out the Australian Senior Memory Champion title for both events. 

With a background in engineering, physics, mathematics, information technology and gifted education, I have spent decades in teaching. A full Curriculum Vitae can be found here.







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130 thoughts on “Lynne Kelly – Author & Educator”

  1. Dear Lynne
    I enjoyed reading your history of memory in Memory Craft
    Can you point me in a direction where I could learn some of your skills ?

    1. Hi Klaus,

      Sincere apologies for not replying earlier. I must find a way for the site to notify me of comments! It used to until there was a forced update.

      I explain how to use the skills in Memory Craft. There’s a lot more history in The Memory Code. I don’t have anything further to offer. I suggest that you just try it for yourself from the descriptions in Memory Craft. You will be surprised how well they work. Once you are used to them, you will start adapting to what you want to remember and what works best for you.

      The methods people have used most from Memory Craft are memory palaces, lukasa and the bestiary.

      Hope it works for you!


  2. Hello Lyn,

    I am fascinated by your work and wonder whether you run workshops or even private sessions? I have been trying to learn Latin as an adult and am hoping to get further direction on how memory systems work with language learning. Anything that can be done to preserve and enhance my existing knowledge systems would be terrific. As I now have hearing loss, any general improvement to my working memory could be helpful.
    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Sharon,

      I am working on a project comparing memory systems for learning French with learning Chinese for native English speakers, but that won’t be written up for another year or so. It will then be available free from this website.

      I am sorry but I am fully committed for the next year at least and no time to run workshops or private lessons other than already booked. I think that all you need is in Memory Craft anyway.

      I use the bestiary as described there, but have adapted the idea for both French and for Chinese (Mandarin). I also use memory palaces, but again, differently for each. Plus chants other techniques. I wish I could describe it all, but I have a book deadline looming and will write it up more after that.

      All the best with it!


  3. Hi Lynne,

    It’s David, still teaching in Beijing.

    What is the current status of Memory Craft and The Memory Code getting published in simplified Chinese?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Hi David,

      I have no idea. I am sorry. I won’t know until I get advance copies delivered. I have received the contract, so all is in hand. Everything else is dealt with by my publisher.

      I wish I knew more. I am learning Chinese with the hope of reading my own words!


  4. Dear Lynne,
    I can well imagine the many arms your work is growing and which ones to follow would be so challenging.
    I will be teaching at SCU, Creative and Performing Arts to PS teachers and would love to integrate your work into the curriculum. Are you lecturing still? Would you advise I start by reading Memory Craft?
    I was fascinated in a brief stint working with Indigenous students that they could remember word for word, movement for movement a 20 minute improvisation game we had played the previous day.
    I am also intrigued when you said you used to have a poor memory!!!
    It’s the most wonderful and inspiring information you have uncovered, collated and written about.
    Warmest regards
    Lynnie Robertson

    1. Dear Lynnette,

      Thank you for such a lovely comment and for your interesting goals. As you suggest, I am being pulled in multiple directions, all of which are so interesting!

      Memory Craft is your starting point. It is the practical book and addresses education specifically.

      I am doing very few speaking engagements due to lots of commitments including two new books. I am doing some teacher training for ISV (Independent Schools Victoria – but open to all educators, and anyone else!):

      There is also a secondary version:

      My new work is very much about how the performing arts should be central to the curriculum, serving all teaching domains as they do in Indigenous cultures. We don’t have to change anything, just enhance what we already do.


  5. Dear Lynne,

    I am writing to you regarding songlines.
    I am an English learner and I try to adopt your advice from the Memory Craft book for learning a language.
    In May I will receive your book and will be able to read it.
    In the beginning, I was very curious about songlines. I thought I need to write songs or chat GPT can do it instead of me in order to help me to learn new English words. After listening to your podcasts I have realized that songlines teach important information for a living but not for learning a list of new words (as in my case). After a few months, I realized the following – I do not need to focus on learning new words via songlines. I need to take a few characters and write a story little by little which will happen in the Polish castle Wawel. But in reality, I do not understand where to start.

    Do you know an English Teacher who can help in learning a language via storytelling and songlines?
    Or just a person who uses Navajo memory methods and will be able to answer my question. Of course – not for free.


    1. Hi Olek,

      Thank you for your comment. I don’t know of English Teachers who could help you in this way. I am working on memory methods for French and for Chinese (Mandarin) using memory palaces and songlines. I will be writing these up for education in a year or so, but I have not finished all the design and testing yet.

      I think that you are making things much more complicated than they need be. Songlines are complex forms of memory palaces. If you start with a simple memory palace for vocabulary, then you can later add songs and more characters and learning with other people and so on making it more like a songline. I am working in a research team looking at the differences, but I think you need to start just with a memory palace.

      A memory palace is your starting point!

      Songlines can be used for learning anything – well, a simplified version rather than the incredible versions used by Aboriginal people whose songlines have been built up over thousands of years!

      My French memory palaces would be the closer of my experiments to learning English from Polish. I have separate memory palaces for the various types of verbs, various palaces for nouns and another for what I call pesky words – those that I can’t easily fit into the palaces I have. Some words come easily, so I don’t put them in a palace at all.

      I am adding a lot more of the complexities from Songlines into my Chinese palace.

      The Navajo ideas that I mention are about using mythology, that is vivid stories which include the knowledge you want. Just add stories to your memory palace and that will work. Sometimes I just do the story because I don’t need the palace. The best way is to just start and when you get used to it you will find that you add different techniques naturally.

      And have fun!


      1. Dear Lynne,
        I finished reading songlines. I am impressed, THANKS a lot for your hard work. An amazing book!

        Now I understand why I like to learn while walking – it is natural.

        I created a castle with 26 animals and 26 actors. I have assigned different locations that I know very well. I started to assign different verbs to places and wrote a story where my animal tell me a story and showed me hidden words or use words as a part of the story. Now it is like a game for me.

        Today I decided to assign vegetables and fruits to 26 animals and play with them. Someone can say it is complicated for learning a language. But it is not complicated for me as I play with it and enjoy it. I did not expect that I can connect random verbs to the story but it is possible.

        My mistake with the memory palace is simple: I want to connect 26 animals with 26 actors, with 26 vegetables, and so on. Dear reader do not repeat my mistake, add a few animals, assign a location to the animal, assign words to the location, and create the story. After this, you can add more and more details.

        Did you find the part or the whole story about building a canoe?
        Do you have examples of songlines?


        1. Dear Olek,

          Thank you for such interesting feedback and excellent advice. I don’t know the whole story about the canoe. I am not initiated, so will only hear the public portion of it. Sorry!

          It is hard to offer an example of a Songline beyond descriptions, because they are sacred pathways and need to be learnt while on Country. The best known songline is that of the Seven Sisters, which is huge and shared by quite a few Australian cultures. But again, we uninitiated can only hear the very most fundamental parts of it.

          The fullest, highly illustrated version of this songline is available form my co-author’s catalogue for the exhibition:

          I hope that helps!



          1. Dear Lynne,

            I am very thankful for the link.

            In the book Songline, you mention the book “Wisdom Sits in Places”.
            I bought an audiobook as I like to listen while walking. This is an amazing book such as Songline and Memory Craft and Memory Code. All of them highlight how we need to memorize an enormous amount of important information. Those books gave me the biggest gift – how to learn! How to learn not only English but information important for life. Hence, instead of focusing on the grammar of the language I will focus on places, stories, songs, and other mnemonic technics, and grammar (structure) will come naturally. And I feel that all of the methods mention in the book become natural for me, because of two reasons: so many examples in books of how people were using places and storytelling and the rest of the methods, and second – I practice it and it works and I enjoy when I play with my imagination.

            The book “Wisdom Sits in Places” also explains how to become happy in life and how to live longer and be wise.

            Very happy that I started this journey with your book Memory Code! Thanks a lot again!

            Best regards,

  6. Dear Lynne,

    I am watching a video London Fortean Society: Monumental Memories with Dr Lynne Kelly

    You mention the Nobel price, you said “Nobel prize for medicine was all about the place cells and grid cells in the brain and how the brain will associate stuff with place”

    You was talking about: Nobel Prize in Medicine Is Awarded to Three Who Discovered Brain’s ‘Inner GPS’ ?

    Best regards,
    Oleksandr Iakovenchuk

  7. Hi. Reading your book Memory craft. Lookinh on the figure 1.1 Romberch’s visual alphabets…
    One alphabet with bestiaries and one with tool. It may are extremely powerful if their are combinated. A animal doing a human work wit the tool. Let’s say the name Mary using M from bastiaries alphabeth and A fromm the tool alphabets. Then you can use several alphabets within different categories. Tools alphabets can be made towards different category regarding different type of physical works and different hobbies. A third alphabet regarding objects (house, soil,…) Then it may are easier to use for remembering a names first letter combinated with second letter as a working tool. And if necessary, the third letter that the bastiaris working with the tool on a object (third letter alphabet). Combination this with the association of the name and fase may are a memmorytools that you could check out.

    1. You are absolutely right. You can use visual alphabets in so many ways to get better and better mnemonics from them. I love them!

      Have fun!

  8. Dear Lynne,

    Do you have any Facebook or telegram groups where people talk about Memory methods and practice them?
    I want to be part of a community where people understand how memory works. To be with people who share their opinion about the memory process and how they improve.

    Oleksandr Iakovenchuk

  9. Hi Lynne,
    I wanted to tell you thank you for taking the time to flesh out your personal story with mnemonics in Memory Craft. I feel so much joy knowing that I can take control and learn things I really want to learn in a way I feel like is so natural but I had just not known. In consequence of this so much of life has passed me by in a way that I wish that it hadn’t. But no more! Truly, thank you for taking the time. I hope you are encouraged, and feel that your work makes a difference.

  10. Good morning,
    My name is Violette, I am a young French student. I discovered your book, which fascinated me, and I started translating it from English to French last year. Although my translation is very likely full of mistakes, I would be very happy to share it with you if you are interested. I hope that one day my French-speaking friends will have the chance to read your wonderful book and discover its ideas that have personally opened my eyes to so many riches of our past and present.
    Thank you for your work, and if you are curious about what your work looks like in our beautiful French, tell me how to send it to you!

    1. Hi Violette,

      Thank you for your comments and for the effort of translating into French. Which book are you referring to? Could you paste the opening in French here, so everyone can see it? That would be wonderful!

      I will email you when I know which book you mean and can see some of the lovely French, so I know what we are talking about.



  11. Hello Dr. Kelly,

    your research about ancient memory techniques & tools fascinates me.
    I listened to different podcasts watched videos about memory palaces.

    I‘m studying psychology and aim for a Ma in Neuropsychology later on.

    Sometimes the sheer volume of learning material so much that it’s almost overwhelming.
    I would like to know what you would suggest.
    With your knowledge about these techniques how would you use it if you would study in university?

    In the exams a lot of definitions, theories, comparisons and pros and cons are questioned.
    Would you recommend to memorise outlines or mind maps or just the key words in order?

    Thank you so much

    1. Hi Ibrahim,

      Having studied for many university degrees and taught for decades, this question is the focus of much of my research. But it can’t be answered in a comment on a website.

      Would you recommend to memorise outlines or mind maps or just the key words in order?

      I wouldn’t do any of these things. I would use a combination of methods, but the central one would be memory palaces. But they have to be implemented very differently than the way they are used by memory athletes. You are looking at complex material to be stored permanently in memory. That requires setting up the palace (your outlines) and then layering the key words, definitions and more complex ideas into that palace. But you might also use art, making your notes more memorable using medial techniques, adding song, movement and portable memory devices linked to the palaces. Everything you study will suit some aspect of these, but the best for any given topic will depend on the structure and content of the topic.

      This is why I wrote an entire book on the very question you ask. Memory Craft. I can’t rewrite it here! Sorry.

      The methods described in Memory Craft match the neuroscience of the human brain, which I also discuss. That should not be a surprise. These ideas are now formally in our (VCE) final year high school Psychology course from next year and in the Psychology course at the University of Melbourne. Other universities are also including indigenous memory systems in their courses.

      I hope that you find Memory Craft useful!



        1. Yes, I am delighted that these methods are now being introduced into universities and schools – it is a small start, but I think it is an important one.


  12. Dear Lynne,
    Have you studied memory technology among Romani people? Your writing on loci/songline technology across cultures is fascinating, and I noticed that due to the nature of songlines and loci are often tied to a place or sequence of places. I wonder how this intersects with the sense of identity peoples have with their land and landscape, and the connection they have to that land. Even nomadic and travelling cultures have defined passage routes and campsites, so they don’t have connection to a specific sedentary home but to the area/landscape they travel through.

    But (as I understand) Romani identity is notably *not* tied to land or nomadic area and instead derives identity from non-locative traditions. I wonder how a culture that does not have (or rely on) a homeland would express memory technologies and songlines. Maybe portable loci, or starscapes, or mythological landscapes? I’m reminded of your writing on Polynesian memory technologies, which focus on genealogy as a knowledge store instead of locations. Rromani is maybe a more extreme example of this and that might have some really interesting results in how memory technology is expressed.

    (I’m not an anthropologist so I don’t know the most accepted language, but for clarity I don’t mean to imply that absence of a homeland or connection to a landscape is a lesser way to derive cultural identity, I just mean that it might be really cool to learn from Rromani culture and how they express memory technologies.)

    Thanks so much for all the work you do!

    1. What an interesting comment, Isaac. Thank you. I hadn’t looked into Romani culture in terms of these memory systems, but I have now – a little bit. From what I could see today – and I could be way out – the Romani history we know about is mostly in literate times with the Romani living in countries ruled by other cultures who were literate. I couldn’t find anything about knowledge linked art forms or ceremonies or all the raids I look for in indigenous knowledge systems. My initial response is that they draw on the knowledge system of the culture with which they reside. But that can’t be all there is to it because they have a unique culture.

      It is something which is really intriguing and I will look further when I get the chance. Or maybe you can point me to information on how they retain knowledge, such as genealogies and their own history?

      So interesting! Thank you!


  13. Dear Lynne,
    I like your book memory code, thanks a lot for your efforts.
    Could you please advise if it is possible to learn and teach English outside by using memory codes?

    Oleksansr Iakovenchuk

    1. Thank you, Oleksansr. I go into more detail of exact memory methods and how to apply them in Memory Craft. In terms of learning and teaching languages, that is a major project at the moment. In Memory Craft, and much more so since, I have been comparing using memory methods for French and Chinese as a native English speaker.

      The two languages are hugely different, although I use memory palaces and vivid characters (called rapscallions in Memory Craft) for both. But I do things very differently in the two languages because they are so different. I have never learnt English as a second language so it is hard to talk about. It will also depend on what is your starting language and how many hooks (similar alphabet, similar words) there are in your starting language.

      I will be writing up my experiences with learning French and Chinese in the near future. My focus will then be entirely on Chinese because it offers much more of a challenge and because I am totally adoring learning it.

      I am sorry that I can’t be more helpful.



      1. Dear Lynne,

        I am so thankful for your advice because I bought a Memory Craft book (audio version + real book) and I finished reading the paper book and I keep listening audio. When I was a kid I had so much pain with memorizing information and the same was in the University, even at work. I always used a notebook. I loved to draw when I was a child. When I needed to memorize new words at school or at university I needed to draw a picture of them, I needed to see them. The picture I can remember for a long time. After your comment from the book Memory Craft that we lost a lot when we started writing I have realized that in the deep part of my heart, I always thought in this way – THANKS FOR THIS. You can speak English I can speak Polish and I can draw an apple on paper and you can understand that I want to buy an apple. We do not need google translater 🙂

        I use the memory palace technique for learning English words. I build this palace with the Microsoft application. And it works. I created stories and started to use the Lukasa board.
        After reading your book I recommend all of them to buy your book as it will be an INVESTMENT.

        Do you think it is possible if we can have a call so I will share with you what I have built into Microsoft application? From your book, I remember that you wanted to combine memory methods with technology. So I can share what I did.

        Oleksandr Iakovenchuk

        1. Dear Oleksandr,

          Thank you so much for such an interesting comment. I am delighted you gained so much from Memory Craft. I really appreciate you recommending it to others.

          I would love to have the time to take calls from all those who request them, but I have too many time pressing deadlines at the moment. I am sorry. I am not sure which bit of Memory Craft indicated my enthusiasm for combining memory methods with technology. I have been approached often by people working in virtual reality and seeing the applications for memory palaces. I still prefer to work without technology as much a I can. That said, I can see that technology solutions will work for many others. There are so many exciting directions for people like you to explore!

          Thank you again for such an interesting comment and all the best with your memory experiences.


  14. I thoroughly enjoyed your book, “The Memory Code.” Because I am Jewish, I saw many links to your book and the Jewish heritage.

    Here are my thoughts inspired by your book:
    Dr. Kelly, “has uncovered the secrets of how preliterate peoples used a variety of tools such as costumes, dances, dolls, tablets, landscapes, etc. to remember their ancestors, genealogical history, planting seasons, etc. There are so many connections to Hebrew and the Torah. We unroll the Torah, sing verses, use rhythm, guitar, etc. and dance with the Torahs. Consider how Moses went up on a mountain and came down with stone tablets.

    Here are examples:
    “A large number of cultures use string (and music) to aid memory. String games accompany stories, the actions ensuring the narrative unfolds in the correct order. Native peoples … have all demonstrated the way they tell stories through complex and remarkable artistic manipulations of a simple piece of string.” [Think about the string games we played as children such as cat in the cradle.]

    Sometimes, the string is knotted and kept in a fixed format. By far the best-known knotted cord device is the khipu (also spelt quipu) used by Andean cultures to record information. The khipu specialist held a single main cord horizontally and let the attached cords hang vertically. Some khipu I have seen in museums had only a dozen or so cords, while others had hundreds… (consider the kippah)

    “Until recently, it was thought that the khipu was primarily a device for keeping financial records (how about an abacus. Researchers now consider the khipu as a far more complicated device which was used as a memory aid for a wide variety of information, including narratives, laws, rituals and histories, along with demographic data, tributes and as a form of calendar. Quipucamayos [compared to rabbis] were experts in creating and reading khipus, giving them a powerful role within Inca society.”

    There’s lots more here that is interesting, informative and further supports Hebrew as the first written language. The book is available from the library although you may wish to purchase it.

    This book might be worth sharing with Caleb. I looked for an audiocassette but it’s not ready yet. I suggest that the ideas in this book might be shared with TI members and used as a book club recommendation.

    It’s pretty easy to find pictures of the stones at Stonehenge, Easter Island and Other Ancient Monuments. In Ohio, we have many Indian Mounds which are memory places.

    Here’s another thought, ancient peoples went to the mounds to remember and sing their histories. We go to temples to celebrate/ remember with song and dance.

    The similarities continue. This is the most exciting book I’ve read in several years.

    Other memory aids include sign language and places such as museums and paintings.

    Many, many thanks for writing this very important book. I look forward to an audiocassett.

    1. Thank you so much for this fascinating comment, Susan. I have a Jewish heritage and can see a lot of what you say. I hadn’t thought it through though.

      I have been struck by the similarity – superficial but still – of the Torah and the Chinese narrative handscrolls, especially those entirely in text. The handscrolls are also used to aid memory, some with only images but many entirely text. The handscroll is viewed only a portiont at a time, just like the Torah. It is very much an interaction between people, not an art work to be viewed alone or from a distance on a wall.

      The scroll is a format which I think has a lot to offer yet is not used in contemporary Western society. It is something I want to investigate when I get more time. I also want to consider what you say about the similarities with Indigenous knowledges and Jewish traditions a lot more – again when the current projects are done. I only wish there were a lot more hours in the day.

      The audio of The Memory Code is out with Audible and readily available. I don’t think anyone does cassettes, though.

      Thank you again for such an interesting comment.


  15. Dear Dr Kelly,
    I have just bought a copy of your book “Memory Craft” and I am very excited to try out the methods in it. I take anticonvulsants, and they have made my memory much less sharp than it used to be. I am just writing to say thank you for producing such a useful book.

    Andrew Hall
    South Africa

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write and tell me. I am delighted that Memory Craft has made it to South Africa. All the very best with using the methods and I sincerely hope they make a great difference for you.


  16. Hi Lynne, I’d love to better commit to memory plants and animals in my local area. Rather than learn ALL of one group I’d love to find a way of doing say 10 birds, 10 mammals, 10 butterflies and so one. Can you suggest a method for doing this? It would be ideal if the approach was flexible so that I could build on it in future. Any help is very much appreciated.

    1. Hi Zoe again,

      What fun you are having. A good memory method doesn’t require you to memorise everything, but sets up a structure that can be expanded indefinitely as well as layering more information about any item. One way I would consider is to make a lukasa for each theme, and place plenty of beads and shells, say, on each. Then you can encode the first ten on each. You can then add more to any of the three lukasa whenever you want. I would not try to do the three types of animals on the same memory device.

      Does that make sense?


      1. Thanks so much, yes that does make sense. Does it then matter the order I choose within each Lukasa? For example, the first ten birds I choose might the most common or interesting to me but not be all from one family of birds. I suppose it just depends what I’m interested in. You wanted all the birds and to know their families, I could add this info in later if I choose. I think I better just start and see how it develops. But I like the idea of having a few separate boards I can add to as I go, thanks!

        1. If you encode them your way, you will get the most common first, which is just as valid an order as my families. Many bird field guides don’t include families at all, so many birders don’t consider them relevant. In some ways, the most common is a much more valuable order. So do it your way! Then we can compare notes.

          Let me know how it goes!


  17. Dear Lynne,
    I’m about 2/3 way through coding a countries of the world palace that I have done in order land mass. Trouble is I’m doubting the usefulness of this order and half wishing I did it in order of population like you did. It’s not good to try and redo one you’ve already started is that right? I should probably just keep going and stick with land mass right? I’m interested in geography and biogeography so that’s why I choose land mass. Really grateful you’re taking questions here!

    1. Hi Zoe,

      I am afraid that the memory palace method works so well that trying to redo your palace is likely to cause confusion. Given your interests, I think that’s a good order to do. I would stick with it. You can add the number for the rounded-off population to the country using the Dominic or Major system. There is no reason to be too accurate with population because they change. At least your land mass order will stay accurate over time, while the population order does vary a bit, but I can’t change my memory palace.

      It doesn’t really matter what the starting point. You add more details with stories layered on your palace. So I will add land mass at some stage, while you need to add population. I guess it all ends up the same in the long run.

      Have fun!


  18. Hi Lynn, I wanted to thank you. I am studying Chinese medicine and your book memory craft was helpful beyond measure when learning all of the single herbs. I am now learning formulas and I am going to try and make a lukasa. I have a question though, when imprinting the information onto the lukasa did you use a visualization. I am thinking about trying to make up little songs to go with each of the formulas but memorizing all of the names (pinyin) and dosages of the herbs is daunting. I know you were memorizing Chinese radicals using a memory palace as a starting place to learn Mandarin – do you have any suggestions that might help to memorize the complex formulas used in Chinese herbal medicine?

    1. Hi Shannon,

      I am so pleased that you found Memory Craft so useful. Thank you for letting me know.

      With a lukasa, it works just like a memory palace, except that it is in miniature. I did creating images. But with the lukasa, there is also the tactile motion, touching each bead or carving or shell as you go. I sing the lukasa, basically, I sing the subheadings that the locations represent. But for each one I use a story, with puns and jokes and created characters. Some beads/shells are linked to those nearby, others aren’t. The lukasa I made when I knew what I wanted to encode, as you do, was laid out in patterns matching the data. That worked way better than just gluing things on and then deciding what to encode.

      I don’t know what the formulas are like that you are trying to remember. But if they are what I imagine, I would make a story giving each ingredient a character, and link the story through actions representing the process.

      Does that make sense?


  19. Hi Lynne,
    I had been looking for books on oral memory systems (especially in connection with indigenous knowledge) and was so glad I found yours. I hope to begin a memory society at my college to explore techniques and collaboratively build our own memory journeys. I was wondering, do you have advice for someone starting such a thing? I am sure we will learn a lot by doing, but it would be wonderful if you know any specific resources that would be valuable when trying to build our own collective knowledge system.

    Thanks for all your work and writing,

    1. Hi Isaac,

      I really wish I could help, but memory societies aren’t common here in Australia. I know of none. I suspect they are more common in other countries where there are competitors in the memory competitions. But they may just be about competing.

      My suggestion is that you ask on the Art of Memory forum. There are people there from lots of different countries. It’s a very friendly and well moderated forum – no nastiness at all. I’d love to know what you find out. If you do decide to do that, then please tag me there. I just use ‘Lynne Kelly’ as my user name.

      Good luck with this venture. I’d love to hear how you go with it.


      1. Thank you! It’s good to know the Art of Memory a good forum, it really helps to have a community for this sort of thing. I’ll tag you and let you know how my memory society goes ^_^

  20. HI LYNNE,



    (sorry for not realising sooner that I had “cap lock” pressed!)

    1. Hi Stephen,

      I don’t think of the ancestors as rapscallions as I tend to keep them close to their real selves when I am thinking of them as ancestors in terms of history and influence. But I also use them with Dominic Numbers to get dates, so I guess that is like a rapscallion. I think of all of them as “characters” ready for me to play with!

      Once you start using memory systems, they start to overlap and you will find you select from a range of methods for whatever it is you are trying to memorise, analyse and theorise about. I am now using an adapted form of the Bestiary for foreign languages. That is for both French and Chines, but implemented significantly differently due to the great differences between the languages. I use memory palaces as well and other techniques, as described in Memory Craft. But I suddenly started creating bestiary scenarios, so developed that as well.

      So all my bestiary creatures are rapscallions as well. I am now confusing myself! 🙂

      All the methods start meshing – and that’s when it grows more like an Indigenous knowledge system.

      Have fun!


      1. Thanks so much, Lynne 🙂

        You mention using a form of Bestiary for leaning languages: could you explain the basic of your system a little bit? I am also learning Mandarin (on my own except for occasional online learning aids) so I wonder if you could give me an example or two?

        After some basics through things Duolingo and Memrise, I’m starting with verbs. I found a list of “most common English verbs” and I’m looking up the Mandarin synonyms for each word, e.g. “Be”- 有(yǒu) 为(wéi) 是(shì). Then, I’m putting them into a Memory Palace, with every English verb at a house, lot, etc. and the Mandarin equivalents at that location…

        It might be overloading, but I’ll see how it goes, unless you see a problem.

        Anyway, thanks again, Stephen

        1. Hi Stephen,

          I am developing a method for Mandarin – I am loving learning it. I will be publishing it very soon. I am using the Person-action method described in Memory Craft. I can get far more variety in my images by using animals than just people. For each initial, I have a ‘person’ – except they are mostly animals. It is just like the Bestiary described in Memory Craft, but adapted to suit pinyin – except I am only using the Visual Alphabet bit and have added Zh, Ch and Zh. For each of the finals, I use an action. So dian is a d-initial – in my bestiary that is a dragon. -ian final is the action of a magician, usually tossing cards. I have the action in the direction of the tone. So diàn for electricity is my favourite, because it says that electricity is dragon magic! And dragon-magic happens fast, towards the ground, because it is electric! My dragon isn’t tossing cards in this case, he’s fire-throwing.

          I have worked hard to find beasts and actions that match the pronunciation in pinyin. Some took me over a year to find. My favourite dis every is very recent, for the initial,’c’. I finally realised that czar is also spelt tsar, giving the correct pronunciation of ‘c’. Finals ‘ei’, ‘uo’ and ‘ai’ were hard because they are almost never pronounced the right way for pinyin, but the Hawaiian flower lei, liquor and aisle eventually saved me. If you want a copy of the spreadsheet which is not quite ready for publication, then please ask. If you go via the contact box on this website, I’ll get an email and can reply.

          Then, for the characters, I locate the word in a memory palace. My palace is based on the radicals for the characters, as described in Memory Craft. I then use a story for the other components of the characters, much as Heisig and Richardson do in their book “Remembering Traditional Hanzi”, and like the Matthews in “Learning Chinese Characters”. I differ a little because I always use the radicals, but the system is the same.

          I will be writing it up in full very soon, but I have a heavy workload at the moment, so I am not sure when that will be.


    1. Gorgeous. Thank you, Dennis. This would be great fun to do as a song and dance!

      [Apologies for the delay. For some reason, when WordPress did an automatic update, it stopped sending me notifications of comments.]

  21. Hi,

    Do you have a mailing list for your new writings or press releases for new books.
    I’d love to be informed of your new articles via email.
    it is easy to set up a mailchimp account.


    Paul Bongiorno

    1. HI Paul,

      Thank you for your interest. I don’t have an email list. I feel everyone gets too much email now and feel funny about adding to that. I announce everything on my facebook author page:

      I am not intending to write any more books in the foreseeable future, if ever. I am working on consolidating what I have done and work with various educational institutions to try and get these ideas into education.

      Thank you again for your interest. It is much appreciated.


  22. I fell in love with Sardinia in 1972 and it is like an open museum. There are standing stones and I have always wondered about them. Being completely ignorant about archeology but fascinated by the mysterious past. It when I listened to your book about memory spaces I found myself saying yes. Thank you for opening my eyes.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Lexa. It is really rewarding when people see the connection and logic of the ideas when looking at a monumental space that I have never considered. Much appreciated!


  23. I have read The Memory Code. I love it. I have been waiting for the Memory Craft for many months now, no bookseller has the book. I inquired with many booksellers. I wonder what’s the matter! I see Songlines has been made available in the kindle store. I wonder if I might have to face the same problem with print version with this book too. I live in India. Kindly consider publishing your book through Amazon’s CreateSpace so that such amazing work of yours would be made available on demand, to anyone who wants a copy of the book. Thank you.

    1. Hi Rahul,

      I am so sorry to have taken so long to reply. I usually get notifications of comments, but didn’t get one for yours. Sorry!

      I am delighted that you loved The Memory Code.

      All the books are available everywhere through Booktopia:

      Memory Craft:


      Thank you so much for your enthusiasm – it is much appreciated!


  24. Hi Lynne,

    I teach English Language and Literature in Beijing, and I want to design a humanities/theory of knowledge course around The Memory Code and Memory Craft. I know you have a version of The Memory Code in traditional Chinese characters, but are your planning a version in simplified Chinese?

    1. Hi David,

      Sincere apologies about the delay in replying. I didn’t receive the usual notification of a comment. I am very sorry. I am usually far more prompt than this.

      I am delighted by your interest and find your ideas intriguing. If you want to talk further please feel free to use my email: lynne @ without the spaces – that way I won’t miss it.

      Any translation deals are done between my Australian publisher (Allen & Unwin) and a request from a foreign language publisher. So if no Chinese publisher approaches to translate into simplified Chinese, then it won’t happen. And I have no been told of any such approach. I am sorry.

      As I mention in Memory Craft, I am learning Chinese – simplified / Mandarin. I will never be at the stage of being able to translate anything, but I am loving it. Apart from the memory palace for radicals I mention in the book, I have adapted the Visual Alphabet and the People-Action concept for vocabulary in pinyin. The limited range of possibilities for the initials and finals allows me to do an animal / person for the initial and I have worked out actions for each of the possible finals, getting as close to the pronunciation as I can. Along with the radicals, it is all working well. I just wish I had more time for it – I am doing too many different experiments!

      I apologise again for the delay in replying!



  25. Dear Dr Kelly

    I wonder if I might ask your advice..

    I am a clinical geneticist (genetics doctor) with a background in paediatrics and am passionate about equitable healthcare. During childhood, I was given the gift lateral thinking and problem solving by great grand uncle through the vehicles of puzzles and origami; and my interest in memory was nourished by a steady diet of Tony Buzan books.

    Since reading your book, The Memory Code I was struck between the similarities , at high and more complex levels, between two ancient knowledge stores, DNA and Songlines. I illustrated the various similarities when I first read The Memory Code whilst on family holiday in Alice Springs a few years. More recently this concept has come to the forefront, on reading Songlines, which I received as a Christmas present from my daughter.

    Since reading The Memory Code, we started an initiative called Lyfe Languages, which at its heart is about uniting memory codes.

    I have been wanting to express these similarities (DNA and songlines), as a popular book chapter, but have no experience in writing popular books. I have written scientific papers, book chapters and frequently written to patients, but well writing for a popular audience is I imagine a totally different gig 🙂

    You might get some sort of idea about how we are thinking and operating here:

    Anyway, love to chat about this some time

    Stay well and happy New Year


    1. Dear Gareth,

      Thank you for such an intriguing comment. I have looked at the website and watched the video and am very impressed with what you are doing and aim to do. I will reply in email and am keen to help in any way I can.



  26. Madam
    I have been fascinated by your book The Memory Code, that I found absolutely enlightening, and also very inspiring. While I may not be so convinced on all examples taken of human built structures taken as examples, I recently noticed a documentary on the 180.000 years old structure set up by Neanderthal humans in a French cave called “Bruniquel” Cave (a good documentary is available on and , while scientists will still have years to work further on it, it striked me that your theory could also apply to humans before homo sapiens. The discovered structure was widely communicated when its stunning age was proven few years ago, but just in case you missed it, I wanted to give hint together with my big thank again for your work. It is rare that a unconventional theory is strikingly convincing to me as a non specialist, it happened to me also with a theory about the Nasca line, and it is very boring to hear again and again that people would have spent so much resources and intelligence for an obscure religious or ritual purpose.

    1. Hi Eric,

      Thank you so much for such an interesting comment. A number of archaeologists have pointed me to the research on the Bruniquel Cave and suggested that my ideas may be taken back to the time of the Neanderthals. That is a really exciting prospect, but one that I have not had the time to pursue. I am absolutely delighted that you have also seen that possibility.

      I found the documentary on but I am not able to view it from Australia, for some reason. I’ll look into that further. Thank you for the pointer. I agree with your assessment of the easy-way-out explanations of religion and ritual, when the need for pragmatic knowledge for survival – both physically and socially – is a far greater imperative.

      Thank you again for such a fascinating comment.


  27. Thank you for your input, its refreshing, intelligent and wise. I discovered you through Sean Carrol. Thanks to Sean too. I also notice you have a Manx Surname 🙂 I am from the Isle of Mann… its a very unique place!

    1. Thank you so much, Zoe. Your comment is much appreciated. I have heard so much good about the Isle of Man. I’d love to get there one day.

  28. I se e ir is spectacular Word, but I ask if you can translate to Spanish. Please, I am very interested to read your great research and your books, specially The Memory Code. Love, gratitude and honor
    I am from Quito, Ecuador

    1. I am sorry, Nieves, but I don’t speak any Spanish so I can’t translate The Memory Code for you. My contract with my publisher gives them control over any translation rights. So there is nothing I can do unless a Spanish publisher applies to translate it. I would love that to happen!


    1. Hi Camilo,

      Thank you for your comments. There are no plans for an edition in Spanish. It needs a Spanish publisher to contract the publication rights from my Australian publisher to translate and publish it. That hasn’t happened yet for Spanish. I wish it would!


  29. I got a few pics of spiders and although I’m scared of them(just a little), I find them very intriguing.
    I was wondering why when I used the flash to take a pic of a wolf spider it seemed to reflect back like the spider itself had a cam on it. I’m guessing it was just it’s eyes. I don’t know how to post the pic.

    1. Hi James,

      Yes, wolf spider eyes reflect light quite effectively. It’s the way I find them when I am out at night. Lots of pin pricks of light on the ground, and when you get close it is almost always a wolf spider.

      You can’t post the image here. Sorry! I normally talk about spiders with people over on my other blog:

      You’ll find lots of photos and stories there. People do send photos to me by contacting me through the Contact form.

      I am so glad that my fear of spiders is now a fascination. It’s much nicer being this way!


  30. Hello Lynne,

    I am reading your book, “Memory Craft…” a second time. The first was to get the lay of the land and the second is my attempt to put into practice what you have covered. I am stuck. I have aphantasia; that is, I see pitch black whenever I try to visualize anything.

    In the creating a memory palace for countries of the world exercise, I am stuck on the very first location. Maybe the block is due to terminology, semantics, or something but I can’t get passed key pieces of the instructions. For the first country, China, you wrote, “You can either imagine a Chinese person knocking….” Then you followed that sentence up with “Whatever you do, make the image active and colourful….” In the first sentence you used the word “imagine” and the second, “image.”

    Let’s assume that I can list out the “locations” of my memory palace, a place that I CANNOT visualize in my mind; that is, I CANNOT see it. The only way I KNOW of these locations is that I’ve passed by them many, many times. Thus, if I were to physically go to my “palace”, I KNOW that I will find a door here, and further in, I expect to find a cupboard, a sink, a stove, etc. Prior to me actually being there, none of these things can be seen by me in my head. I just know that they exist as a blob, a symbol that I cannot describe with much detail whatsoever.

    Now back to your process of associating “China” to your door or my door. How can I “imagine” a Chinese person at my door? How do I create an active and colourful image? Remember, I see nothing but blackness. There is no color. There is no image. All there is is a “knowing” through actual experience of the existence of an object at location one, etc.

    I am a babe in the woods in this regard. So, I would not at all be insulted if you explain the process as if I were a two-year-old. It may help if you do not use any word that connotes “image” or “seeing.” In fact, assume that I’m blind and have been all of my life. Walk me through the first few countries… I’ll be the first to tell you if your counseling has worked.


    1. Dear Cyril,

      The only difference between what we ‘see’ is that you read Memory Craft knowing that you had aphantasia, and I wrote it before I knew such a thing existed.

      I too see only black. I wrote about having aphantasia and the way my memory works a month or so. You can read it here.

      Aphantasia and memory.

      I hope that helps!


      1. Hello Lynne,

        Thank you for your quick response. I had read that article as well but it does not help me to execute what is probably the one missing piece. Given both sources, the book and the article, I gather you are creating metaphorical “images” which are then associated to the a location in a memory palace and as you later traverse the memory palace, recalling these metaphorical images.

        Let’s assume I can somehow create this metaphorical image of a Chinese food being thrown. How do I associate THIS image with THIS door? Following what you recommended, establishing intervals of five where doors/windows/halls are used throughout the palace, how do I know if I were to start at the 50th door in the memory palace, that THIS 50th door does NOT have the association of Chinese food being thrown at it? In other words, how do I recall the proper associated image to the specific location in the palace? I suspect the key is the process of “association.” Clearly, you’re doing it. How?

        1. I assume this is still Cyril. I am struggling to see the problem. Every door is different. Your brain will make the association. It is all to do with what’s known as a ‘temporal snapshot’. If you stand at the appropriate door and think about a Chinese meal, then your brain will associate THAT door with THAT Chinese meal. It will just happen!

          You need to add only a few new pieces of data at a time if you want them there permanently. We do a lot more in sequence in a memory competition, but that its very short term. So just start and you will find that it works. I could not imagine how it would work when I first read of it, but it just does. That is the way our brains work naturally. I have never met anyone, with aphantasia or not, for whom it didn’t work. I usually have one or two people with aphantiasia in a workshop – most of whom don’t realise there is such a thing.

          Do your first ten locations yourself and then you will find how well it works.

          Have fun!


  31. Dear Kelly,
    I studied both of your books memory craft and memory code. The songlines was a easy concept to grasp. Most of the things were related to memory palace which is the most effective technique out their. one of your unique demonstration was that of RASPILLIONS and ANCESTORS. I was fascinated how you talked with your raspillions and with ancestors. The place where i got stuck was when you explained your experience with raspillions but didn’t provide knowlede on how to use them. you however have given good instruction on how to make them relating to cards. I am providing you with a scenario that my ancestor is Trump. Now i have to remember say victor, john, Lynne and putin. How do i encorporate my ancestor(in this case Trump) in remembering these names. If there are any other uses of ancestors please briefly mention them as well.

    1. You have grasped that rapscallions is just my name for ancestors. They are the characters who are the actors in stories. If you want to remember about four people other than your main rapscallion, Trump, then you have four more rapscallions: Victor, John, Lynne and Putin. If you just want to remember a list of names, then you would just use the Visual Alphabet or a memory palace. There is no reason to use rapscallions unless they are going to act in a story. I would assume that you want to remember something about each of these characters.

      You would start with Trump, who I will assume you have as the President of the US. You want to remember Victor. Who is Victor and what does he have to do with Trump? That gives you the basis of the story. You weave the facts in with a vivid action story which is as memorable as you can make it. The characters, the rapscallions, enter the story in the order you want to remember them, doing whatever actions you need relating to Trump. Does that make sense?


      1. Oh my lady,
        This makes more than sense. So its basically relating one character with the another. The relation shoud be the basis of the story and the interaction between them or the action for that matter weaves out our information. Do they have to be in a memory palace or is the story effective without placing them in the memory palace? and forgive my spelling. my RASPILLIONS are more RASPY than your RAPSCALLIONS lol and i love raspberry

        1. I sometimes use a memory palace with Rapscallions (love Raspy!) but mostly I just have them in the stories without a memory palace. And there is nothing wrong with your spelling!!

          Have fun with your Raspies!


  32. Hi Lynne,
    I heard about your work on the mindscapes podcast.
    I wondered if the single pathed ancient greek labyrinth could have been a memory aid similar to a songline?

    1. What an interesting idea, Shaun. It would depend if there was something to distinguish locations. If it seemed repetitive, then it wouldn’t work as a memory palace. A quick search didn’t tell me anything that would imply that there were statues or other distinguishing markers along it – which would have made it easier to escape, so I suspect not. But where did the idea of there being a labyrinth come from outside the mythology? Interesting idea to follow up!


  33. Hello Lynne, you’ve brought priceless treasures to the memory arts community, and you’re a rock star in my eyes. I wanted to inquire about Rapscali’s Tables. Do you have a status on its release date? I can’t wait to read it and put it into practice!

    1. Thank you so much for that lovely comment, David.

      I am so sorry that I have taken so long about Rapscali’s tables. In the middle of converting them to paintings, I received a request to co-author a book, Songlines: power and promise, with Aboriginal identity, Margo Neale, for the National Museum of Australia, to be published by Thames & Hudson in November. It was an offer too good to refuse, but they wanted an incredibly short timeline. I had to drop everything for months – including the conversion of Rapscali. I am embarrassed that Rascali’s Tables has taken so long.

      I am back to it now and hope it will be ready in a month or so. Thankyou hugely for your interest.



  34. hi lynne,

    i am currently reading ‘The Memory Craft’ . I also created a memory palace for the countries.
    But i have some questions .
    i) Whenever i think of naming all countries starting with a particular letter , i can’t just recall all of them. I have to go through my memory palace from beginning till end till i am sure i listed all of them . Am i doing something wrong or will it come naturally as i spend more time with memory palaces ?
    ii) remembering list of numbers using that assinging each letter to a number and create a sentence, story etc. After sometime i should recall the numbers at the speed of thought ,right ? but there also i have to go through complete sentence, find my letters, convert them to numbers and this
    seem to take too much time .


    1. Hi Nayan,

      Thank you for your comment.

      When you put things in memory palaces, you need to put them in the order which would most suit your purpose.I didn’t put the countries in alphabetical order because I don’t know why you would want to think of all the countries starting with a particular letter. I put them in the order of population because I thought that would give me more useful information. To find all the countries which start with a given letter, I would need to go right through the palace too. I could skim it fairly quickly, but I have never tried that. It does take a while to get a m emory palace so strong that you can skim it quickly. I use the countries palace to know about countries, and jump to the one I want at any given time. I only think through them in order when I am revising the palace. I am curious – why do you want to know every country starting with a specific letter?

      I am not sure that I understand what you are doing with numbers. Are you assigning a number to every letter? I only use some of the letters. Have you got to the stage where I describe the Dominic System? I have never recalled numbers at the speed of thought. The very best memory champions in the world can probably do that, but not us mere mortals. It is usually slower than that. I have memorised the first 1000 digits of pi, but I don’t recall them at the speed of thought. I can recall them reasonably fast, but no that fast! I think that would only work for very short numbers like phone numbers. I don’t make up stories and don’t assign letters to single numbers – I have the digits of pi in a memory palace, 6 digits in every location. I explain the number methods more fully in Chapter 10.

      I hope that makes sense!


  35. Hi Lynne

    Listening to you speak to Sean Carroll (Mindscapes) and am quite excited by your memory paradigm. As is so often the case with acquiring new knowledge, it resonates with us because it formalises previously intuitive experiences. As a teacher yourself, you may understand my excitement at being able to share the ‘memory palace’ idea with my Year 12 Modern History students. I look forward to exploring your work, but popped by just to thank you for sharing your insights. So good to hear someone talk of Australia and our Indigenous cultures with such eloquence and respect.

    So, thank you.

    Mike (Perth, WA)

    1. Thank you so much for writing, Mike. I really appreciate your comments. I can see huge applications for memory palaces with history students. I find that I use my History Walk constantly, putting events in the right chronological place, and seeing the context globally. It just makes me want to know more and more.

      Thank you again for your comments,


  36. Hi, my name is loic. I lived in Canada and in New zealand. I was in Melbourne and found your book the memory code. I am now based in spain. I tried to buy your book «  memory code » but i can find it in english book store or online. Where to buy a hardcopy and delivery it in spain or France? Thanks loic

    1. Hi Loic,

      Thank you for writing and your interest in The Memory Code.

      Both The Memory Code and my new book, Memory Craft, are available through online bookshops, although Memory Craft has just come online for non-Australian or New Zealand locations. The covers are different because the American and UK publishers changed them.

      All editions are on BookDepository:

      The UK edition is available to Spain from

      Or the US Amazon:

      Please let me know if you still have problems.


  37. Hi Lynne,
    I downloaded and started listening to your audio book just before Christmas, but left off to join family celebrations. I was excited about starting to construct and use a memory palace. However now I have rebooted my computer and don’t seem to be able to find the link anywhere. Has it disappeared?

    1. Hi Geoff,

      Thank you for writing. I don’t control the audiobook at all. It goes through the publisher. You need to search for the title, I guess. It will still be there. I don’t know what software you are using. I am sorry that I can’t help. This is the publisher (assuming that you are talking about Memory Craft and not The Memory Code) who you can contact:

      Or you need to contact Amazon or your supplier.

      Please let me know if you don’t solve it and I will ask Wavesound about it.

      Thank you for your interest in my work!


  38. Hi Lynne,

    I have just come across your work after talking with a friend in the Kimberley, Western Australia. I have got “memory code” which I am about to embark on, but found your “Conversations” interviews and listened first. I was especially transfixed by your Avebury stories and ceremony.

    I have lived in the Kimberley for 30 years and have been recording the songs and stories as a film maker for the whole time. I have been taken too many stone circles and ‘tables’ and have recorded their deep stories and understand completely about the stories being in the stones.

    Here we have a stone arrangement with a table laying down surrounded by 18 small stones and 2 large stones in a ring around the ancient table. Interesting the tale of the Emu and the berry is not dissimilar to the Ava berry which is steeped in ancient legend in that part of the world.

    The cosmology of that story, the stone circle and the emu in the sky (with the berry) above its head is one of the oldest lessons… and stories.

    We are very lucky in this country that we still have knowledge holders… I believe if unlocked here, then other places can be unlocked as well.



    1. Hi Mark,

      Thank you for such an intriguing comment. I am very keen to know more about the stone arrangement you talk about. How can I find out more?

      I agree totally about the luck we have (mostly unappreciated) with the Elders and their knowledge. I also agree that understanding what they do could unlock so much more about cultures and places around the world.

      Thank you again for your comment!


  39. Hi Lynne,
    I’m on Chapter 3 of Memory craft when you mentioned that you live on Dja Dja Wurrung land. I was wondering if you heard about the protesters at the sacred tree site on Djap Wurrung land, and if you would consider using your voice to add to the protest? Ps I am enjoying Memory Craft immensely and enjoyed The Memory Code a great deal also- I believe I heard you speak on the All in the Mind podcast and purchased it immediately after.
    Please consider lending your voice to that of the protesters out on the land, so much about what you write about landscape and memory makes me think about their struggle.

    1. Hi Natalie,

      I am certainly on Dja Dja Wurrung country and am, of course, well aware of the protest. I have written to Daniel Andrews and signed various things in support. What do you want me to do in terms of ‘lending my voice’? I will email you and we can talk that way. I am horrified that a new road has to go through sacred trees.


  40. Hi Lynne,
    I’m on Chapter 3 of Memory craft when you mentioned that you live on Dja Dja Wurrung land. I was wondering if you heard about the protesters at the sacred tree site on Djap Wurrung land, and if you would consider using your voice to add to the protest? Ps I am enjoying Memory Craft immensely and enjoyed The Memory Code a great deal also- I believe I heard you speak on the All in the Mind podcast and purchased it immediately after.
    Please consider lending your voice to that of the protesters out on the land, so much about what you write about landscape and memory makes me think about their struggle.

  41. Dear Dr. Kelly, I truly enjoyed listening to your interview with Sean Carrol on Mindscape. One of the best! Your interview speaks to me personally as a native of West Africa (Ivory Coast) where there is a long and rich tradition of Griots aka Djelis. Djelis are storyteller, historians and troubadours of some sort. They are known to have a gigantic memory and to have good knowledge of past historical events, of genealogy, etc. I am not sure if they use “memory palaces” as a technique to remember anything but I suspect they do. In their case I also suspect that melodic music and rhythms play a big part in their ability to record the community’s past and to boost their nearly encyclopedic memories. Interesting research path to explore . . .

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Lew. I talk about Griots in The Memory Code. I have watched documentaries as well as read about them and am astounded by their achievements. I have not found anything about using memory palaces, but I couldn’t find anything about techniques despite looking. I was only able to conclude about the role of music and rhythms. I was researching so broadly that I didn’t have time to do more on Griots, and your giving me the key word Djelis is a huge advantage. Thank you so much. I am longing to get into finding out more about them and their extraordinary skills.

      If you do find out anything about the use of memory palaces with Djelis, then I would really appreciate hearing about it.

      Thank you again,


      1. Hello Dr Kelly,

        I too listened to you on Mindscape yesterday. I work in a library and today I leafed through a book on constellations, one that has the story associated with each constellation and how/when to find it in the night sky. Has anyone discussed or reflected upon the probability that the ancient Greeks and other pre-literacy cultures used the night sky as an incredibly complex memory palace?


        1. Absolutely! The sky and constellations – and dark spaces between – are used by every culture I have researched. I write about it in each of the three books on memory, especially in Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies and The Memory Code. In the most recent, Memory Craft, I look at implementing the memory systems and found it too complicated to implement the way Aboriginal cultures do. A good starting place is Emu in the Sky:

          There are numerous books and papers on indigenous astronomy, but also on the ancient Greeks. Metrodorus of Scepsis, for example, used the zodiac as a mnemonic device. That is explained in wiki:

          Once you become alerted to these ideas on memory devices, you will find them everywhere!

          Thank you so much for your comment,


  42. Well, I just received the book in the mail. I’m here in Canada.

    The first thing I did was converted to an audiobook. I am now going to listen to them all on Sheldon.

    1. Delighted to hear that a copy is now in Canada!

      Did you convert them somehow using text to audio software? What is Sheldon?


      1. Here is how I did it. I took a cardboard box, placed it on its side, and cut a hole in the top for the ipad‘s camera to be able to view downwards. I then cut 2 pieces of acrylic, and glued these together at 90 degrees. This would act as the flat page holder and to keep it open while scanning. I also placed a lamp at a low angle to avoid reflection into the ipad during the photos (scanning).

        The software is an ios app called Voice Dream Scanner ($7). It will automatically identify the page edges, and also automatically snap the picture without the person needing to push a button on the ipad (or iphone).

        Once the book is scanned, the software has already identified the text. I then was able to save/export just the text (to a word processing software of my choice), or the pdf with the ocr‘d text layer to

        The companion software, Voice Dream Reader ($7). This will read, using numerous selectable voices (male/female, different accents). I use this program to read to me while I am jogging or driving. (lol, Not *sheldon*, I was using siri voice dictation through the air pods, and it made this dictation error – usually I just use the iphone microphone which gets almost perfect dictation).

        I recommend you also try JustPressRecord, which is another ios app (for both ipad and iphone) which allows a person to record their voice. At this point it records audio by pressing the record button. It retains the audio file. Now, once this is done, it automatically transcribes in the background, locally. It does not send the file out of the phone to the cloud (so no privacy concerns). In a short time, the transcription shows in the audio file. One can then select this for sharing, or exporting to their word processor (or any other app).

        An example of usage for yourself is this: you walk along your outdoor path, and verbally describe the linkages you have in place for that walk. You add in punctuation phrases like “comma, period, new paragraph, question mark.“ At the end, you may have a 20 minute audio recording. The app/program will then transcribe to text. A few minutes later, the entire 20 minutes will be usable text, which you can then export to your word processor. As you get better at the audio format, this text will be completely correct, not requiring any editing or changes. The app keeps the original audio, so one can refer to it later if transcription errors occurred.

        For memory students, their memory palaces, and paths (and any other formats like in your book) can be recorded (for posterity) without the 40 words per minute slow pace of typing.

        Even if a person does not have any apple products, the above apps are so worthwhile, I recommend buying an iphone 6 or newer, or an ipad of a few years in age. These will be new enough to handle the scanning, reading, and audio recording/transcribing as described in my post here.

        1. How interesting. I am going to try recoding my memory palaces this way. Especially the one where I do 1000 digits of Pi.

          Thank you for taking the time to write out in such detail.


          1. so …. how did your recording of your memory palaces work out? Using JustPressRecord.

            I just converted your other book “Memory Craft“ to text, then modified it for epub, and using that I am able to send it to Voice Dream Reader to listen to while driving and jogging.

            I am really tweaking your books, to change the structure to highlight the memory systems used. Instead of the chapter and subheadings you used, I believe that a heavy focus on the systems used would be more useful.

            Furthermore, using easter eggs would be an excellent tweak. Surprises to readers, where they would be able to look back and realize that useful memory pegs were placed throughout the text, to aid the person in remembering the overall structure and components parts.

          2. Hi Steve,

            This all sounds like great ideas and good fun. I haven’t had a chance to try anything new. When a new book comes out, it is a full time job doing interviews, writing articles and replying to readers. All time consuming and very rewarding, but means that testing recording memory palaces will have to wait. As will a brilliant idea from another reader using the bestiary for Chinese vocabulary and another idea … Too many great ideas! I just need time!

            I find your tweaks very interesting. Maybe in a later editions!


  43. Dear Lynne,

    Are you currently a professor or do post-graduate supervision? I have been thinking about this for a while and I am from the Pacific. After reading some of your material, I am interested in pursuing a PhD along this idea and was wondering if you could be someone that can help guide me in this.

    Thank you,

    1. Dear Kiblas,

      I would love to see you pursue a PhD in this field. I am an honorary researcher at LaTrobe University. Basically that means I do research for no pay – which gives me total freedom. But I also do no teaching and don’t supervise students. I am sorry.

      I do hope you find the right person to help with your academic goals.


  44. I only recently discovered The Memory Code. I’ll share my ideas based on this book as they evolve. Theres a lot of work I have to do first. I just want to know when the book comes out that explains a practical application of The Memory Code.

    1. Hi Mark,

      I look forward to your response to ‘The Memory Code’. The new book expanding on the practical application will be published early in 2019. Sorry it is so long, but there is a lot of new material and I need to thoroughly test every method I talk about, not only the ones I talk about in ‘The Memory Code’.



      1. Hi Lynne
        Thanks for replying. 2019 is great! it means i can read as much as possible on orality and internalize it. I teach music mostly to little people and I’d like to apply these techniques in my teaching as well as in my eveyday life. The Memory Code has been a trigger to another pathway through, making me a better teacher and helping me know a whole heap of stuff. I fugure thats what we’re here for
        Kind Regards

        1. Hi Mark,

          I am absolutely convinced that teaching these methods to school children is an essential application of my ideas. Indigenous people have been doing it for tens of thousands of years for every good reasons!

          Let me know how it goes.



  45. I went to Amazon where the ‘Spider woman’ book is listed but not available. How do I get it?


  46. Hi Lynne,

    I’ve seen you over at the mnemotechnics forum.

    I wonder if there is a place where you’ve listed your 52 ‘ancestors’ for playing cards? I love the idea of my 52 characters being useful memorable items themselves – and possible pegs for further info.



    1. Hi Graham,

      Thank you for your comment.

      That is something that I talk about in the new book, but I don’t actually list the characters. So it is a great question and the right place to answer it is here on the blog. I shall do so within the next day or so and then reply again here. Thank you for the question!


      1. Lynne,
        Pleasure to make your acquaintance.
        A suggestion, if you’re open to it. It occurs to me that myself and others would enjoy staying updated on your latest learning and experiments, as you are on the bleeding edge of memory. A “News” category here on your website, with a brief summary of each day’s relevant learnings, might accomplish this. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and thank you for what you do.

        1. Hi Thomas,

          I am very open to suggestions. The one I need most is how to find more minutes in the day. I agree there should be a News category. I will do that as soon as I can. The idea of updating it every day is terrifying, though. I am involved in too many projects at the moment due to interest in various aspects of my work. As I get life more under control I will add a News section. It is a great idea. But I won’t be updating it every day. I stopped the blog aspect because I just couldn’t find the time.

          So much to put in news: the adoption of my ideas into the formal high school Psychology course, lots of teacher training, research into Songlines at universities, implementing Chinese narrative scrolls in contemporary education, comparing memory techniques for French and Chinese (so different!) and the big one: the claim from American researchers that the NF1 gene acts as our knowledge gene, granting humans the ability for song, story, dance and connection to place – the very aspects which make up indigenous memory systems. The knowledge gene research is taking most of my time.

          OK, I’ve convinced myself to add a news tab!

          Thank you!


          1. I am humbled by your gratitude. The feeling is mutual.

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