Sparking young people’s interest is a crucial part of creating a deeper understanding of Victorian Aboriginal Language revival in the broader community. On February 23, Mandy presented a workshop to Year 9 students at Mount Scopus Memorial College in Burwood with a focus on language and culture. She explained her Woiwurrung language revival story which generated a lot of questions in relation to Aboriginal language and identity from the students. At the end of the workshop, Mandy taught the students how to sing "heads-shoulders-knees-and-toes" in the Woiwurrung language.
Ittay Flescher, Community Service and Achshav Coordinator at Mount Scopus Memorial College, had attended a VACL event at the State Library of Victoria and was keen to invite VACL to present a cultural program at their school. He described Mandy’s presentation as exceptional due to her “breadth of technical knowledge of the history and related issues, as well as her ability to relay their symbolic cultural significance to the students.” Ittay added that Mandy presented a very difficult history with both honesty and sensitivity, being inclusive and not alienating the audience of students.
Mandy was interested in hearing about the history of Hebrew language revival and the parallels with Victorian Aboriginal languages. Students at Mount Scopus Memorial College were appreciative of this opportunity to discuss language revival with Mandy. Drawing these parallels and discussing difficult history has a positive impact on young peoples’ cross-cultural awareness and understanding.
To see students singing in Woiwurrung click here
For digital resources in Woiwurrung language click here
On the 5th of October the fourth annual Tanderrum Ceremony took place at Federation Square. This ceremony is a traditional Eastern Kulin gathering comprising of 5 language groups, Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri), Boon wurrung, Taungurung, Dja Dja wurrung and Wathaurong. VACL assisted with extra support in language translations, pronunciation for each of the language groups, as well as the recorded voiceover component. VACL staff who are part of the Kulin Nation also participated in the ceremony.
In Tanderrum, the lore of the creator spirit Bunjil is acknowledged and the vibrant living culture of this country is celebrated. Tanderrum is significant as the ceremony wasn’t practiced in Melbourne between 1835 and 2013. Now every year the different groups of the Kulin nation meet to practise in the months leading up to the ceremony where the hours of work are well and truly evident in this outstanding event. Tanderrum attracts thousands of people to witness the rich linguistic and cultural knowledge of the people of the Kulin Nation in the combination of traditional songs, dances and ceremony.
To see more images from Tanderrum click here
To watch a video from the making of Tanderrum click here
The Melton West Primary School Language Program began in April 2016, with Mathew Gardiner teaching Woi wurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri people on whose land the school is situated. Prep students are currently engaged in a 10 week program where they are learning kinship & relationships, colour & counting, body parts and greeting phrases. Wurundjeri Educator Mathew Gardiner says the "first day the kids and I hit it off like a house on fire, also with the teachers I received a very warm welcome by all. I am very happy and proud". Both teachers and students are excited to have this new program up and running in the school.
To read more about the program at ABC News click here
Read about Mathew's success in the Star Weekly click here
Listen to Mathew on 774 ABC Melbourne
Photo: Wurundjeri man and Woi wurrung educator Mathew Gardiner with Melton West Primary School student Mary Jane
Photo curtesty of ABC Local, Clare Rawlinson
VACL would like to welcome Mathew Gardiner to the VACL office as part of our team for the next two weeks. Mathew started his internship on the 29th March 2016 as part of his journey towards teaching Woiwurrung at Melton Primary School, commencing on the 13th April 2016.
Mathew Gardiner is a 25 year old Wurundjeri Man. He is the 6th generation of the Terrick line, his ancestor is Annie Borate. William Barak is Annie's brother.
Mathew said "firstly ngoon godgin (Thank You) to Paul Paton and staff for the warm welcome. As a young lad in my youth I have always had a querying mind for Woiwurrung Language but I was a bit apprehensive due to uncertainty. Now I feel as though I have been spiritually drawn or lead now that I am a man, to learn, revive, teach and mostly complete my murrup (soul) with Language. Since learning about the Woiwurrung Language I have felt more connected and grounded to my ancestors, lands, waterways and language more so then ever."
Mathew also said "I have a vision. To pass on my knowledge to the younger generation especially to the disadvantaged Wurundjeri youth who have veered off course from their roots and culture." Mathew hopes that by having language programs this will really help the younger generation to regain respect, self-respect and most importantly a purpose to willingly make something of themselves. He hopes they begin to feel confident and strong in their identity.
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.
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.
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.
The Digital Children's Book Fair is an international event in Japan celebrating the best digital children's books from around the world. Authors, illustrators, app developers and distributors were brought together at the end of August to select and award stories targeted at children made as ebooks, apps and other formats. The international event is the first of its kind focused on digital publishing for children.
The Wurundjeri Creation Story called Dulaiwurrung Mungka-nj-bulanj (How the Platypus was Made) received an award for excellence in the Digital Children's Book Fair. Congratulations to Thornbury Primary School and Kiwa Digital who worked in collaboration with VACL on this project.
In April 2015 VACL launched three interactive digital storybooks featuring Creation Stories of the Wurundjeri People in both Woiwurrung and English; Balayang Wurrgarrabil-ut (Why Bats are Black), Gurrborra Nguba-nj Ngabun Baanj (Why the Koala Doesn't Drink Water) and Dulaiwurrung Mungka-nj-bulanj (how the Platypus Was Made).
To download the story in the app store by click here
To learn more about this project click here
To read more about the Digital Children's Book Fair click here
Thornbury Primary School students make giant leaps for digital language reclamation in Victoria! On Monday the 20th of April VACL launched three interactive digital storybooks at Thornbury Primary School, featuring Creation Stories of the Wurundjeri People in both Woi wurrung and English.
The release of the Apps marks Thornbury Primary School’s fourth year of commitment to teaching and learning Woi wurrung, with the support of key Wurundjeri Elders.
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-ut (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.
VACL, VAEAI and Thornbury Primary School celebrated the launch of the Apps with a special assembly at Thornbury Primary School. The assembly was attended by all students, interested parents and special guests including VACL Board Members Vince Kirby, Uncle Sandy Atkinson and Brendan Kennedy; VACL staff Paul Paton (Executive Officer), Mandy Nicholson (Project Officer & Woi wurrung Language Worker), Jenny Gibson (Administrative Officer) and Emma Hutchinson (Digital Projects Officer); Aunty Geraldine Atkinson (President VAEAI); Uncle Lionel Bamblett (General Manager VAEAI); Vaso Elefsiniotis (Policy & Research Officer VAEAI); Uncle Phil Cooper (Koorie/Woi wurrung Educator Thornbury Primary School); Julie Reid (Languages Program Manager VCAA); Maree Dellora (Languages Curriculum Manager VCAA) and Karen Mazurek (Principal Thornbury Primary School).
The development of these digital resources will support language reclamation and revitalisation activities in Victorian schools and communities. VACL would like to thank everyone who attended the launch and offer a special congratulations to all the students involved in creating these groundbreaking new resources.
The Apps are available now for FREE download at the App Store, for use on iPad (coming to iPhone soon).
For more information about the Schools Digital Resource Project click here
Our very own Mandy Nicholson has created new signs for the Wurundjeri Stories Indigenous Signage Trail at Warrandyte State Park. Nicholson helped revitalise the outdated 'past tense' signage, to show that Wurundjeri is still a living, relevant culture and language.
"Woi wurrung [Wurundjeri language] is used throughout all the signs to raise awareness of our language and that we still use it" she says.
The Wurundjeri stories trail comprises of six signs which share knowledge on Wurundjeri history, culture, traditional life and people associated with this sacred site
Catch the full story here:
Vicki Couzen’s, VACL Board Member, lauched her first solo exhibition ‘Marooka – to take care of'’ at Maroondah Art Gallery in July. The exhibition showcased artwork, language, song, dance and ceremony “taking the audience on a journey into Gunditjmara Country” – (quoted from the Maroondah art gallery program).
As part of the exhibition Vicki Couzens and Dr Kris Eira held a free public lecture on the 12th of July during NAIDOC week, where they told their stories and connections to each other, as language workers and artists.
VACL Project Officer Mandy Nicholson performed with the Djirri Djirri dance group, and held language workshops for primary school students as part of the exhibition. To see a video clip of the students from the Village School Croydon learning to count to five in Wurundjeri with Mandy click here.
Below are a selection of photos from the exhibition.