Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages PDF Print E-mail

An ongoing project for VACL is its support for the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Indigenous Languages of Victoria, with VACL maintaining a presence on the VCAA Reference Group. This team is now focusing on two major tasks, training pathways for the teachers of languages, and supporting more schools to be in a position to introduce the VCE Indigenous Languages of Victoria course at their school.

The "Endangered Languages" funding received has been used to work on the following four projects;

  • The Ganai Yirruk-Tinnor Language Program is developing storybooks aimed at children to keep the language and stories told in the oral traditions. To date, they have met with the Illustrator and publisher for the storybooks and are progressing towards developing the pictures to go with the stories.
  • The Wathaurong Language Program has been working on the CD-ROM that will act as an educational tool, to assist and preserve the teaching of the Wathaurong Language now and for future generations. Most of the film and sound has been recorded for the CD-ROM and is now in its compilation and editing stage.The linguist has been working on the compilation of words to be included in the CD-ROM.
  • The Waywurru/Dhudhuroa Language Program aims to publish a dictionary that will build on the research already undertaken over the past five years. The program has had several meetings with the linguist and has held a community workshop to discuss the details and the construction of the dictionary.The linguist has produced three reports on the findings so far and is now at the stage of compiling the word list to be ready for publication.

The William Thomas Papers Transcription

Through the Endangered Languages Program,VACL employed historian,Toby Heydon to undertake a transcription of the William Thomas papers that are currently on microfilm at VACL.William Thomas was one of four original officers of the Port Phillip Aboriginal Protectorate (1839 - 50), and kept voluminous notes and papers on most aspects of his work.Thomas developed strong and lasting relationships with many Aboriginal people from across south-eastern Australia.

As a result, his papers contain a vast collection of material that reveals much about the languages,customs and daily life during the contact era.Toby has progressed through the microfilms with some interesting findings that have revealed information about the local people during the late I 800's and quite an amount of language information recorded by William Thomas.The transcription is nearing its completion, with VACL planning to publish the language information retrieved.

Community Language Programs

VACL currently funds four Community Language Programs as they continue to develop the research, retrieval and teaching of languages. TheVACL is now looking to support a further Language Program in the South- West of Victoria.

A brief outline of what each program has been working on and what they have achieved is listed below:

Ganai Yirruk-Tinnor Language Program

The Ganai Yirruk-Tinnor Language Program has two staff who have continued to develop the teaching program through:

  • New Group Training for Koorie Educators Course to be taught at Sale to include language model.
  • Continue working with 20 kindergartens in delivery of a language / culture program and over 300 children in Gippsland learning language/ culture program.
  • Include Park Rangers in Language Training Program
  • Ongoing assistance, training and development of the language program at the KODE School.

Wathawurrung Language Program

The Wathawurrung language program has recently lost their language worker. In the meantime, the VACL linguist is periodically assisting the Wathawurrung Language Program continue whilst a new language worker is sought. The previous Wathawurrung Language worker, Bruce Pascoe, has also returned to assist in this transition period.The program continues to progress nonetheless with the following examples.

  • Extraction of language information from various publications relevant to the Wathawurrung Language.
  • The language program has also worked with the Education Program at the Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative in developing language materials for use in the Homework Centre.
  • The program is now co-located with the local child-care & homework centre to increase involvement with the children.
  • Liaison with local schools and tour list attractions such as 'Sovereign Hill' to include language in publications.
  • Liaison with Brambuk Cultural Centre to translate traditional stories.


Waywurru and Dhudhuroa Language Program

The Waywurru and Dhudhuroa Language Program have one part-time staff member and another assistant under the CDEP Program.The majority of time over the last six months has involved the collation of material and working on the production of the Waywurru / Dhudhuroa Dictionary funded under the "Endangered Languages Funding".This project will shortly be coming to completion with the dictionary available to the
community for future use to assist in language revival in the area.

  • Research and retrieval of language materials.
  • Databasing the language information.
  • Production of Biographical document on Neddy Wheeler, one of the primary informants for the Dhudhuroa language. (Draft format)
  • Contribution to VACL Newsletter
  • Language Newsletter for

Daungwurrung Language Program

The Daungwurrung Language Program recommenced in March 2004 with Judy Monk taking over as the Language Research Officer based in Healesville. Judy has been steadily going over the material that has been collected in the past by previous language workers. The project has a proactive Steering Committee, drawn from the Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation. The Daungwurrung program is keen to pass on the language to their own people before making it available to the wider community. As an initial step towards achieving this, Judy is starting to put together booklets that tell traditional stories to children in Daungwurrung language. The program recently held a Cultural Camp at Camp Jungai where local Taungaurung adults and children participated in language learning activities. The program is now looking to progress and produce an interactive CD-Rom built on the same software as the"Nambur Ganai" CD.

Executive elected

An election was held for the executive positions on the FATSIL Governing Committee with the following results:

Chairperson:Denise Karpany (South Australia)

Vice Chairperson: John Atkinson (Victoria)

Treasurer: Doris Paton (Victoria)

Secretary:Barbara McGillivray (West Australia)

The Public Officer is Melinda Holden (Queensland)