Reviving and Teaching in NSW PDF Print E-mail

Kevin Lowe, ACU Chief Education Officer
Kevin Lowe, ACU Chief Education Officer
In recent developments in NSW, the aspiration of Aboriginal communities to revive their languages, using living knowledge in conjunction with archival sources, is being supported by the formal (though non-mandatory) introduction of the study of Aboriginal languages into the NSW school curriculum. To this end the Aboriginal Curriculum Unit (ACU) in the Office of the Board of Studies NSW has been developing the Aboriginal Languages K- 10 Syllabus. The aims of the syllabus are to enable students to gain language proficiency, focus on the study of languages as systems and understand the relationship between land, language, culture and identity.

The development of the syllabus has been managed by Kevin Lowe (pictured), Chief Education Officer in the ACU. Dr Jaky Troy has also been a driving force behind it. In the early phases of the project Jaky worked closely with a team of syllabus writers and coordinated extensive consultation with schools across NSW, Aboriginal community members and organisations and language owners and custodians — all of whom have informed the design of the syllabus. As the project developed further, subsequent state-wide consultation with similar groups was undertaken by Dr Michael Walsh of the Department of Linguistics at Sydney University, together with Tony Lonsdale, a Wiradjuri man from Mudgee. Jaky has since been appointed as manager of the NSW Aboriginal Languages Research and Resource Centre.

Language revival projects involving Aboriginal community members, linguists and schools have been in operation for several years in a number of locations in NSW, eg the Bundjalung, GamilaraayYuwaalaraay, Gumbaynggirr, Baakindji-Ngiyampaa and Wiradjuri language programs.

Bundjalung Language Keeper, Uncle MickWalker was a member of the FATSIL Governing Committee in the early days of the organisation.

A year after the passing of Uncle Mick, his family have asked that this tribute be published. Born at TurtlePoint, Tabulam, Uncle Mick is the great grandson of Dalai, the Prince of the Bundjalung on of Harry and Tribe, the grandson  Jenny (Rhodes)Walker. He is the son of Cecil and Ethel (Young/Skinner) Walker.

Uncle Mick often spoke about where he obtained the knowledge of life from, not from a book or classroom. It was around the campfire with his father, uncles and grandfather.

During his early days, Uncle Mick roamed the hills and rivers hunting in and around Tabulam. His first journey away from the safety of his home and family, was up the Tops, to Guyra, Inverell,Tingah and Glen Innes. The friendships which were made in the early days still exist today. Uncle Mick is well known for his hard his own sons he yakka, along with also had his nephews out in the y  Paddocks with them.

During the 70s his work had changed. He connected with and the education system a recorded and taught his language and culture so the Bundjalung ways will continue on.

He never just thought of his children, but he believed he was responsible for the who Bundjalung nation for the future.