Language Stories

Our library of videos is an opportunity to learn about Aboriginal Language revitalisation straight from the Community and Language Custodians.

Across NSW, Aboriginal Languages are being reawakened by the love, commitment, and hard work of Aboriginal Language Custodians and their Communities. The Aboriginal Languages Trust is working with Aboriginal communities across NSW to gather the stories of the reawakening, growth and nurturing of their Languages.

The Aboriginal Language stories and videos promote effective Language activities, bring together people with knowledge of Aboriginal Languages, and highlight the opportunities in Language activities. These align with the functions of the Trust as defined in the Aboriginal Languages Act 2017.

Below are just some of the stories of the Language revitalisation work for which the Aboriginal Languages Trust has helped assist.

The ALT wishes to acknowledge these communities whose passion and commitment to revitalising the Language for future generations is inspiring.

Freedom to Speak: the launch of the Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School

The Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School in Coff’s Harbour has become the first bi-lingual primary school in NSW. The bi-lingual school teaches in both English and the local Gumbaynggirr Language.

Gumbaynggirr elder and ALT Board member Dr Raymond Kelly spoke passionately at the passing of the Aboriginal Languages Bill that reawakening Aboriginal Languages is about giving Aboriginal children their sense of belonging and investing in them for the future.This is precisely what the Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School is doing.

In 2019-2020 the Aboriginal Languages Trust invested $90,000 in Gumbaynggirr Language revitalisation projects. That funding directly supported the planning and development stages of the Gumbaynggirr Gingana Freedom School to become NESA certified. 

From that funding 13 school policies were developed along with a financial viability framework and a full kindergarten to year 2 integrated curriculum for the bi-lingual school.In its first year the school had 15 enrolments from kindergarten through to year 2 and employs a school principal, a classroom teacher and 2 Gumbaynggirr Language teachers.

As an independent Aboriginal school run by the local Community in Coffs Harbour, it embodies self-determination.The bi-lingual school provides students with a culturally safe, strength and inquiry-based learning environment, where Gumbaynggirr children are immersed in their ancestral Language.

This is a significant achievement for the revitalisation of the Gumbaynggirr Language and for the education of Gumbaynggirr kids. Watch the launch and hear the story of this historic moment below:

Yoowaga Yuinda – All Yuin Talk

Uncle Warren Ngarrae Forster is a valued Yuin Community Leader, Knowledge Keeper and Sharer. His extensive study, practice, and exploration of Djiringanj culture has seen him engaged as a Cultural Advisor by the National Museum of Australia, Bangarra Dance Theatre and the National Library. 

Uncle Warren uses Language for songs, dances, stories, ceremonies and often speaks to Country in Language. Warren wrote a local language dictionary for families to use that focuses on local dialects of Bjirringanj, Ngariga and Dhurga. He also uses the published Dhurga dictionary.

Uncle Warren is a talented Musician, Actor, Singer, Songwriter and hip-hop Performer. Performing on both the national and international stage, Warren has supported Mark Atkins, William Barton, David Leha, and Neil Murray.

In Yoowaga Yuinda, Uncle Warren shares the story of the discovery of his Language and why he feels it is important to revitalise.