Friday, 05 February 2016 11:59

Woi wurrung

Woi wurrung Digital Resources

On Monday the 20th of April 2015, VACL launched three interactive digital storybooks at Thornbury Primary School, featuring Creation Stories of the Wurundjeri People in both Woi wurrung and English. As part of the project 15 Indigenous students from Thornbury Primary School were selected to create illustrations and record narratives for the digital storybooks. The student’s creative use of language, art and technology has enabled the telling of Balayang Wurrgarrabil-u (Why Bats are Black), Dulaiwurrung Mungka-nj-bulanj (How the Platypus Was Made) and Gurrborra Nguba-nj Ngabun Baanj (Why the Koala doesn’t Drink Water) to a global audience.

Available on the App Store

Click the icon above to download the apps.

The Apps are available now for download at the App Store, for use on iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch.

 Teacher Resources

Woi wurrung Language Worker Mandy Nicholson is currently developing teacher resources which accompany these apps. Check back soon for updates, or contact the VACL office on 9600 3811 for more details. 

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Published in Projects
Friday, 05 February 2016 11:18


Gunnai/Kurnai Digital Resources

A set of six Gunnai/Kurnai story books originally published in 2008 have been redeveloped into digital resources and released as six brand new Aboriginal language apps featuring Gunnai/Kurnai language of the Gunnai/Kurnai peoples of Gippsland in east Victoria. Launched on Monday 14th December 2015 at Dala Yooro Pre-School in Bairnsdale, the six interactive digital storybook apps feature traditional Gunnai/Kurnai Creation Stories including why Kowern the Echidna has spikes on his back and how Wurrin the Sun was made. These stories are supported by illustrations and narration from Gunnai/Kurnai community members and artists. Interactive digital story books are a great resource for children of all ages to develop reading and comprehension skills and can be used as part of a lesson plan or reading strategy and to help children learn spelling and pronunciation.

Available on the App Store

Click the icon above to download the apps.

The Apps are available now for download at the App Store, for use on iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch.

Teacher Resources

Doris Paton is currently preparing teacher's notes to accompany each app. Please check back soon for updates, or you can contact Emma Hutchinson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the VACL office on 9600 3811 for further details. 


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Published in Projects
Thursday, 04 February 2016 13:39


Gunditjmara Digital Resources

Students at Heywood & District Secondary College, Warrnambool Primary School, Merrivale Primary School and Warrnambool East Primary School have all contributed to a suite of six Aboriginal language apps featuring local Gunditjmara languages. Launched on the 26th October 2015, the six interactive digital storybook apps feature five traditional Gunditjmara Creation Stories and one original story about friendship and reconciliation, written by students at Warrnambool Primary School. With the support of key Gunditjmara Elders, Laka Gunditj Language Worker Joel Wright, Koorie Engagement Support Officers, principals, teachers and local artists, students have beautifully illustrated six stories and recorded narratives in four languages; Peek wurrung, Dhauwurd wurrung, Keerray woorroong and English.

Available on the App Store

Click the icon above to download the apps.

The Apps are available now for download at the App Store, for use on iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch.

 Teacher Resources

Laka Gunditj Language Worker Joel Wright has developed a series of teacher resources to accompany each app which explore the story in more detail and offer suggestions of classroom activities and topics for further discussion. Please take note of the cultural protocols for undertaking this work at your school. If you have any questions, please contact Joel Wright at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call the VACL office on 9600 3811.

Click on the app icons to download a pdf of related teacher resources.

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Published in Projects

Local History Project Award goes to The Journal of William Thomas

Huge congratulations go out to Marguerita Stephens and the team at VACL for picking up the 'Local History Project Award' yesterday at the Victorian Community History Awards announced at the State Library of Victoria. The awards are managed by the Public Records Office of Victoria in partnership with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. 

Here's what they said:

'Described in the forward as 'the best white man any Aboriginal was likely to meet in Melbourne in 1839' [Bruce Pascoe], Thomas left very substantial journals covering nearly 30 years of almost constant contact with Aborigines in Victoria. 

Long recognised as an important source about 'contact history', the hand written journals, mainly held in the Mitchell Library, were microfilmed in the 1980s. This massive work makes material that is notoriously difficult to read much more accessible through transcription. It also published journal material recently acquired by the State Library of Victoria. 

The journals are impeccably and appropriately annotated. The index is very comprehensive both for people and subjects. The fourth volume collects language material from Thomas and others. Overall, this publication is enormously useful. It represents sustained effort by those involved. It has had considerable involvement of representative Victorian Aboriginal communities and approval by them.'

More about the project

More about the launch

How to pick up a copy 

Read about all the winners at this years awards 

Read about Annie's Story

Published in Blog

Annie's Story: fragments of agency and resistance


On September 16th, Dr Marguerita Stephens, the 2013 Redmond Barry Fellow, gave a free lecture at Melbourne University about her research on Assistant Aboriginal Protector William Thomas, and his important journal. Dr Stephens' research led to a collaboration with VACL staff, culminating in the publication of a four volume transcription of the journal of William Thomas in June 2014. 

In her lecture, Dr Stephens focused in on one of the many people whose story is brought to life through these transcriptions. The story of Guartugurck, who regularly appears under the name of "Annie" in Protector William Thomas' journal from 1863 to 1867. 

We have 'known her from a baby', wrote Thomas. She is 'very intelligent, .... a prudent fine Aborig/l woman', but, like Green, he was unsure how to deal with this rebellious woman. 

'I know not what to do with her', Thomas wrote. 'She would make a good rough servant. Mr Green has frightened her once more away. [Perhaps we could find] some farmer about Kew who would take her as a servant, she can milk cows[;] when at De Castella's at Yering she milked every morning, she is a good rough servant, can clean well, sew, iron and can read and write...'

A Taungurung woman, born around 1840, she was probably an occasional tiny scholar at Thomas' own rough school at the Merri Creek from 1843-5 when the Taungurung came to Melbourne, and was possibly one of the girls at the school run by the Baptists at the Merri Creek in the late 1840s. She married Pulbunyahung, or 'Tarra Bobby' of the Bratawooloong clan of the GunaiKurnai people around 1859. Their son, Tommy Yering, was born in 1860. Annie and Tommy fell out with John Green at Coranderrk and he banished them from the station but would not let them take Tommy with them. But Annie refused to accept the separation from her child. Protector Thomas recorded, 'by what I can glean, "Annie" is determined not to leave [Coranderrk] without her child'. 

The four volume set of William Thomas' journal is available for purchase through VACL, to find out more click here

Thank you to Dr Marguerita Stephens for providing the text for this story. 

Published in Blog