+61 2 4940 9100
contact@awabakallanguage.org.au
2 Milton St Hamilton

Our Research

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

2019-present

LIAM PRICE

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).

2019-present

2019

NATIONAL INTERACTIVE LANGUAGE MAP

Awabakal language was added to the RUIL 50 words national Interactive Language Map.

2018

ABC TV's PLAYSCHOOL

Team member, Terri-Lee Darcy, collaborated with Edgeworth Public School, First Languages Australia and ABC TV'slongstanding children's program Playschool, to film the first episode in a new language series for theever-popular "Through the Window" segment on Playschool.

2018

2018

LOCAL ABORIGINAL VIRTUAL REALITY PROJECT

As part of NAIDOC Week's opening celebrations, City ofNewcastle and community partners today launched virtual reality (VR) technology to transport viewers back in time to when Awabakal andWorimipeople lived traditionally within the local lands of Newcastle. Using a virtual reality headset or a smart phone, theNiiarrnumberBurrai, or Our Country, video immerses the viewer in Newcastle's landscape prior to European settlement withEldercharacters sharing knowledge of their significant places, their traditional names and cultural stories.

2017

NATIONAL DREAMTIME AWARDS

Miromaa Aboriginal Language & Technology Centre won Community Organisation of the Year of the NATIONAL DREAMTIME AWARDS 2017. The Awabakal Language Program is managed by Miromaa.

2017

2012

TV SERIES ‘MUGU KIDS’

Awabakal language program team member, Jacqui Allen, works in conjunction with NITV and Windale Public School to film multiple scenes withtheirpreschoolchildren for the popular TV Series ‘Mugu Kids’.

2014 -2017

DUAL NAMING IN CONJUNCTION WITH NEWCASTLE CITY COUNCIL

Aboriginal names for some of Newcastle’s most recognised icons will take pride of place in new signage as part of a trial in the city. Smart City technology will bring the language of theWorimiand Awabakal peoples to the forefront, with signs listing the traditional names for landmarks including the harbour,Nobbysheadland and Shepherds Hill. The signs, which also feature the traditional stories of each place, will also use a sensor to recognise when people walk past, triggering the sign to play a recording pronouncing the traditional name. 

2014 -2017

2011

FIRST POSSUM SKIN CLOAK WORKSHOP

Co-faciltatedthe first Possum Skin Cloak Workshop in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarieregion at Newcastle City Hall withBanmirraArts. This workshop brought community together tocreate the regions first Possum Skin Cloak since colonisation.

2010

AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM TRANSLATED INTO AWABAKAL

The Australian National Anthem was translated into Awabakal and started being performed at local sporting events. It was also performed at small and large Newcastle City councils' eventsand gatherings from Newcastle Hunter New England Health.

2010

2009

WORKSHOPS BEGIN

Awabakal language staff start implementing language lessons at schools, sharingAwabakal language and culture through song.

2009-2020

TERRI-LEE DARCY

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.

2009-2020

2012-2017

MIRIAM PIEPER

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.

2004-2011

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. 

2004-2011

2003-2004

FIRST VOLUNTEER TEAM

The workload demanded a volunteer team, which was sourced via the CDEP. Our first volunteer was Beverley Collins.

2002-2003

AWABAKAL LANGUAGE PROGRAM CREATED

 Daryn McKenny & Abie Wright create the program. They commence research in an official capacity and begin uploading data from Thelkeld's writings into self-created database platformnow known globally as Miromaa.

2002-2003

Special relationship

We are fortunate to have a close relationship with First Languages Australia.

We are funded by