Jack Guttie's story (Muda Aboriginal Corporation) PDF Print E-mail

Thirty years ago Jack Guttie's parents died.

Their passing should have been unremarkable in terms of history, except that this marked the silencing of the Yandruwandha language after many thousands of years.

Their son who had spoken the language as a child no longer used it. There was no one to speak to.

Other friends and relations who had conversed with them in Yandruwandha had died before them or moved away.

Fortunately for members of the local community, the couple had worked with linguist Gavan Breen before their death, recording their speech en tapes which were stored in the Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies archives in Canberra.

These tapes provided the starting point for community people, (including the Gutties' son Jack), who were determined to retrieve the language of the elders.

For Jack it was a sometimes emotional experience, as he learned again the words and phrases he had spoken as a child.

The results have been his reward however, with the Yandruwandha language now being taught in all
schools in the area.

For the local community this success. feeds their enthusiasm as they now continue to develop training programs and boost awareness.

From being so nearly lost, Yandruwandha lives.