WHY AWABAKAL LANGUAGE RESEARCH HAS BEEN SO CHALLENGING
Newcastle and Sydney were the first settlement areas. Therefore the Aboriginal langauges were the first to be negatively impacted and speakers lost. This means we have a greater challenge compared to many other Aboriginal languages in our language research and revitalisation.
1830s - Awabakal was first recorded language in Australia...
....at the same time as the Darug language of the Eora people by William Dawes in Sydney. The source is raw. There are no speakers or recordings of speakers (that we know of). This presents different challenges in language conservation to other Aboriginal communities - including dealing with two different styles of English. Thelkeld's documentation - our key source from the 1880s - is old English, which we also need to make sense of in our language work.
1890s - Approximately five more Aboriginal languages...
...were documented in Australia.
1900s - Other languages documented
245 Aboriginal languages were documented at this time.
OUR LANGUAGE WORK HISTORY
Our work in the understanding and sharing of the Awbakal language is a long process. It involves many staff over many years. It also involves uncertainty and hitting research obstacles, as well as finding new discoveries.
Over time, we gain a greater understanding. Not just about what certain Awabakal words mean - but through these words, about what the Awabakal way of life is.
OUR RESEARCH TIMELINE
Warlpiri man and Warlpiri speaker, Liam Price joins thee Awabakal Language program after assiting with the development and management of Miromaa's PULiiMA 2019 conference. Liam becomes the key researcher for the Awabakal Program developing a updated evidence-based pronounciation and grammar system for the Awabakal language (soon to be launched).
NATIONAL INTERACTIVE LANGUAGE MAP
ABC TV's PLAYSCHOOL
LOCAL ABORIGINAL VIRTUAL REALITY PROJECT
NATIONAL DREAMTIME AWARDS
TV SERIES ‘MUGU KIDS’
DUAL NAMING IN CONJUNCTION WITH NEWCASTLE CITY COUNCIL
FIRST POSSUM SKIN CLOAK WORKSHOP
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM TRANSLATED INTO AWABAKAL
Awabakal woman, Terri-Lee Darcy joins the team and continues Miriam's language work. She also brings special Awabakal cultural knowledge from her family into the program.
Between 2013-2019, Terri-Lee is guided and supported by Gamilaraay woman and Aboriginal linguist, DonnaGayfordMcLaren.
In the years of 2009-2016 and 2019-2020, Terri-Lee is also assisted by Wanaruah woman and team member, Jacqui Allen.
Sadly, Alex passed (we still miss him). Next, social anthropologist, Miriam Pieper joined the team to continue Alex's work in researching the Awabakal language structure and the specific meanings of words.
DR ALEX ARPOSIO
Alex Arposio joins the Awabakal Language Program. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy with a major in linguistics. Alex researches Thelkeld's writings and Perc Haslam, ultimately producing documents regarding the first interpretations from a lingusitic perspective of the Awbakal language system. This work was pivotal in informing the content of the program's first education resources.
FIRST VOLUNTEER TEAM
The workload demanded a volunteer team, which was sourced via the CDEP. Our first volunteer was Beverley Collins.
AWABAKAL LANGUAGE PROGRAM CREATED