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Language of the Month | Language, Crow, Tjitarti, Culture, Bird, Kaarnka, Centre, Children | FATSILC, Fed. Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages and Culture
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Keeping our language and culture alive in the Goldfields

Gabi Garlgurla - "The place of the silky wild pear" is the original name for the city of Kalgoorlie.

Over the 1000 kilometer stretch from Coolgardie to the Western Desert, there are nearly 800 Wangkatha people for whom English is the second language to their own. This is spoken in three dialects, Wangkatha, Ngaanyatjarra and Wangkatja.

As in most other parts of Australia, the culture of the goldfields region suffered the effects of the mission years, when children were punished for speaking in their own language. The result here is that fluency is found amongst Elders and children, with the noticeable loss being for the 20 - 45 year old. (There were four missions in the Western Desert alone.)

The determination of these people to maintain their own culture is reflected in the work generated from the Wangkanyi Ngurra Tjurta Language Centre. Language and Cultural Awareness courses have been taken to a total of eleven Primary and High schools, as well as Kalgoorlie College and the local Regional Hospital.

Staff at the centre consist of Co-coordinator; Sharon Hume, receptionist; Patricia McGillibray , Language Workers; Anthony Adams and Calista Parfitt, and Linguist; Kathleen Trimmer, a vocal ambassador for the preservation of her culture.

Says Kathy, "Language is like a child to you. It has come from your bloodline through your mother and you to your children. We have to look after our own language and culture although the Government is putting more emphasis on foreign languages."

The Centre is continuing to compile dictionaries, collect stories and songs, translate and interpret, conduct workshops and educate local community and business people.

They are developing a range of lessons in cultural education, including the traditional symbols of Aboriginal art and sign language.

For further information Contact:
Wangkanyi Ngurra Tjurta Aboriginal Corporation Language Centre
PO Box 1470
Kalgoorlie WA 6430
ph. 090 914705
fax. 090 914704

Kathleen Trimmer
Kathleen Trimmer
These stories, written by Kathleen Trimmer have been reproduced on Moorditj a multimedia CD-ROM on Australian indigenous artists and their cultural expressions.

Papalu kaarnka ngangu wartangka. Kaarnkalu kuka tjaangka kanyirnu.
Papalu watjarnu, "Kaarnka!" Walykumunun. Wangka nyuntuku walykumunu mularrpa. Kaarnka karnany-karnanyarringu.
Palunyalu tjaa yarlanyangka, kuka punkarnu. Papa yikarringkula kuka ngalangu ngurrakutu yang. Kaarnka tjuni walykurringu, purtu kulirnu, wantingu.

The Crow in a Tree A dog saw a crow in a tree. The crow had a bit of meat in it's mouth. The dog said, "Crow you are good. You really speak the truth". The crow got bold, opened his mouth wide. The meat fell out. The dog laughed and ate the meat and ran off home. The crow was left hungry and bewildered.


Tjitarti wartangka nyinanfu. Myangka tjitjilu nyakulaipi yaturnu.
Tjitjilu tjitarti paarnu ngalangu.
Nyaarru! Tjitarti wiyarnu.

The bird at on a tree. A child saw the bird and threw a stone, hit and killed the bird. The child then cooked and ate it. Poor bird was no more.