Completed Projects Tue, 23 May 2017 03:45:53 +1000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Taungurung Dictionary

History of the Project

TaungurungDictionary webThe Project began in 2001 with a significant group of dedicated people: the Daungwurrung Elders Committee and The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL) in collaboration with a Language Worker.

The Language Worker, Mr Bill Nicholson Jr, established a data base of Taungurung language through research of community members and historical records.

In 2004 Aunty Judy Monk became the Language Worker as the position had not been filled for some time. Aunty Judy produced a wordlist which consisted of about 300 words from the data base that was put in place previously. Aunty Judy put her heart and soul into learning and teaching of the Taungurung language. Language camps were introduced to bring the community together to learn language and culture through games, songs and dances that Aunty Judy, along with volunteers, produced.

People simply pronounced the words that the written form suggested. The importance of this stage was to access the words as a means to reconnect with language, identity and culture.

It was in late 2006 that Aunty Judy retired from work.

In 2007,  Mrs Lee Healy became the Taungurung Community Language Worker. Lee explains her work.

“I put it on myself to challenge the wordlist with phonological reconstruction of the pronunciation of each word. “Discovering How Your Ancestors Pronounced Words”. Through historical records, my greatest challenge was training on the job in basic linguistics and how to deliver the results to the community in a way that assists their acceptance without undermining the achievements of the first stages of language reclamation.

My aim has been to compile a wordlist that makes some sense of the many words that have been recorded and spelt in so many ways; to provide a major resource that both supports the authenticity of historical records and community knowledge; and the appreciation of all who dedicated their valuable time to the final stages of publication, which consists of over 4,500 entries.”

The publishing of our 1st Edition wordlist marks a significant achievement in Taungurung history.

The dictionary is available for purchase through VACL or the Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, RRP $100 (incl. GST)

Click here to order a copy


]]> (Paul Paton) Completed Projects Thu, 06 Feb 2014 12:37:57 +1100
Songs & Stories in Tati Tati, Mutti Mutti and Wadi Wadi

final cover

Wangilatha Wangu nga Kiyawatha

VACL has collaborated with Brendan Kennedy from the Tati Tati Aboriginal Corporation in Robinvale to publish his songs and stories translated into traditional Tati Tati, Mutti Mutti and Wadi Wadi languages of North Western Victoria.

Brendan has written dozens of songs and stories, from which nine were chosen to be included in this book, sharing local stories and connecting to country. 

"I was born on the flood grounds of the Murray River on my Ancestral lands in Tati Tati Country. I dedicate this book of language songs and stories to my mother's people, River people and Mallee people because these songs and stories are about their land, water and animals." - Brendan Kennedy

Please contact VACL for more information about this publication.

To see Brendan reading one of the stories from this book, check out the video link below.

To learn more about Brendan, you can view his profile on our board members page here.




]]> (Paul Paton) Completed Projects Thu, 10 Oct 2013 16:28:18 +1100
Aboriginal Creation Stories of Victoria

artsvictoriaFollowing the success of the Kulin Creation Stories Booklet published in collaboration with Arts Victoria, we have extended this project and are pleased to announce the publication of 'Nyernila, Listen Continuously: Aboriginal Creation Stories of Victoria'. Nyernila brings together stories of creation and Aboriginal life from Koorie communities across Victoria, capturing over 18 language groups.

"Language connects to spirit and the land. Languages uphold and reinforce Indigenous world-views held by previous generations. Reviving and maintaining language is core to reviving cultural and spiritual practices. Aboriginal knowledge is a resource to everyone and this publication provides an insight into the diversity and depth of Aboriginal people's connections to the land."  

Paul Paton, Executive Officer, Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages


"Our stories are our Law. They are important learning and teaching for our People. They do not sit in isolation in a single telling. They are accompanied by song, dance and visual communications; in sand drawings, ceremonial objects and body adornment, rituals and performance. Our stories have come from 'wanggatung-waliyt' - long, long ago - and remain ever-present through into the future."  

Vicki Couzens, Project Co-ordinator, Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages



This publication was launched at Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum during Naidoc Week on Wednesday July 9th, 12-2pm, 2014.


Contact us at VACL to find out how to get your copy, or download a digital version through Arts Victoria by clicking here.


]]> (Paul Paton) Completed Projects Mon, 13 May 2013 18:43:32 +1000
Nambur Ganai CD-Rom (Interactive CD-Rom)

The Woolum Bellum KODE School at Kurnai College Morwell, in partnership with the local Koorie Community officially launched the Nambur Ganai Language Interactive CD-ROM in 2000 in Melbourne at the Koorie Heritage Trust.

The Nambur Ganai CD-ROM is the brain child of two Koorie teachers from Gippsland, Doris Paton and Lynette Dent, and evolved from their success in the Yirruk-Tinnor Ganai Community Language Program in partnership with the Woolum Bellum KODE School and VACL. Once thought lost, Indigenous languages of Victoria have recently undergone a renaissance partially as a result of Native Title Legislation and also the Retrieval, Restoration and Revival programs conducted by VACL.

The Ganai Language extends approximately from Warragul to Genoa and is one of five community language programs currently in operation by VACL, with other programs located at Warrnambool, Geelong, Healesville and Wodonga.

The Nambur Ganai CD-ROM was funded by the Department of Employment Training and Youth Affairs and technically produced by CALC Multimedia, a business unit of the Victoria University of Technology. The CD-ROM took three years to complete and will assist in re-introducing Indigenous language back into the Ganai community by teaching the younger descendants through the many schools and preschools in the region.


A Workbook for Beginners has now been developed to complement the CD-ROM.

A Middle & Advanced Workbook is also set to be developed in the near future.

For Further information, contact the Yirruk-Tinnor Gunnai / Kŭrnai Language Program

]]> (Daryn McKenny) Completed Projects Tue, 17 Apr 2012 08:07:47 +1000
Flora and Fauna Names of Victoria

As extracted from early surveyors reports

Flora and Fauna Names of Victoria Report is an initiative of the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages and the Victorian Biodiversity Strategy. The researcher Ms Sue Wesson examined material from the archives of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE), the State Library of Victoria, the Victorian Public Records Office and the Australian Archives Office. This first stage of the project focused on the NRE archives, in particular the field notebooks of the earliest Victorian surveyors and their maps although other NRE resources, libraries and public records were accessed. A total of 3028 words were found of which a significant proportion have previously been unknown to linguists.

It appears that the place names and word lists in the early surveyors field notebooks, the 1858 surveyors responses to the Surveyor General and an extensive Wiradjuri wordlist by James Baylis have not yet been widely used or published. Fifteen percent of these 3028 words describe flora and fauna and six percent describe habitat. Of particular interest is the evidence provided by these lists of the existence of fauna in the mid nineteenth century in regions where it is now extinct. For example, magpie geese, eastern quolls, bustards and pademelons were assigned names in the Jardwadjali language area of the upper Glenelg and Wimmera Rivers. The outcomes of this project may help to assist in ascertaining the distribution of flora and fauna assets in Victoria. It is hoped that this pilot project, for which the Biodiversity Strategy (NRE) provided seeding funding, will facilitate the uncovering of more of Victoria's linguistic assets.



  • The languages of the Aborigines of Victoria contain information of importance for current cultural endeavours, historical and scientific efforts. DNRE archives (old Crown Survey records etc.) are an important source of information, yet much of the data has not been available to the public, Aboriginal communities, and specialist researchers (linguistics and ecologists).

  • Victoria's Biodiversity strategy recognised the importance of the aboriginal culture and its understandings to biodiversity conservation. As a tangible contribution to implementing this aspect of the strategy, Parks Flora and Fauna commissioned the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages to examine DNRE archives for the names of aboriginal biodiversity assets and related place names.

  • The resultant report represents a significant contribution to several aspects of the Victorian cultural and scientific environment with over 3000 Aboriginal words being identified into the various language areas in Victoria. The words refer to both biodiversity assets and place names for Victorian localities. The geographic spread makes the new knowledge relevant across rural and regional Victoria.

  • In the process of developing this report valuable contacts have been developed between agencies of DNRE (e.g. Registrar of Geographic Names and VACL).


  • The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages sees this project as a significant piece of work that will contribute to their goals regarding promotion and restoration of aboriginal linguistics and culture. It makes a significant contribution to the cultural renaissance currently underway.

  • The Premier of Victoria, Hon. Steve Bracks has requested the Minister for Environment and Conservation give special consideration and encourage more extensive use of Aboriginal names in the current review of the 'Guidelines for Geographic Names'. This arose from the Government's response to the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (CAR) strategies. This report should assist in this process.

  • There is little controversy in the report. Indeed, it will probably be seen as a positive contribution to a variety of Victorian community interests. Land Victoria intends to further utilise this data and have established an on-going involvement with the aboriginal place names and other related issues. This may be of particular relevance in the year of the centenary of Federation.


Download a PDF of Aboriginal Flora and Fauna Names of Victoria

pdfAboriginal_Flora_and_Fauna_Names_of_Victoria.pdf1.84 MB

]]> (Daryn McKenny) Completed Projects Tue, 17 Apr 2012 08:03:23 +1000
Aboriginal Placenames of Victoria

In 2002 VACL commissioned the creation of a Database and Dictionary of Aboriginal Placenames of Victoria.

The database is available on CD-ROM and is also available in hard copy as a single full volume or four regional volumes.

The four regions are:

  • South West Victoria
  • North-West Victoria
  • Central Victoria
  • East & North-East Victoria

Click HERE  to order a copy.

]]> (Daryn McKenny) Completed Projects Tue, 17 Apr 2012 07:51:16 +1000
Wathaurong CD Rom

In 2004 Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative released the teacher's guide Learning Wathaurong as an interactive CD-ROM with an accompanying booklet. This is the result of collaboration between Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative Ltd and Multilocus Interactive Pty Ltd with funding provided by the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services (ATSIS).

This CD, together with teacher's resources and lesson plans, is used as a tool for teaching Wathaurong language. The project captures the enthusiasm young Aboriginal people have for computers. The CD is a mixture of stories, exercises and activities to encourage students of all ages to learn and practice speaking, reading and listening skills in Wathaurong language. The CD-ROM is made up of 11 modules designed to provide a basic introduction to the language and includes a Wathaurong to English vocabulary list and interactive colourful activities. These learning materials help to revive the Wathaurong language and teach children and community language in a fun interactive manner.


]]> (Daryn McKenny) Completed Projects Tue, 17 Apr 2012 07:38:37 +1000
VACL Short Film on Languages in Victoria

VACL has put together a short film highlighting the history of Indigenous languages in Victoria, the impact of colonisation and interviewing the language workers from across the state showcasing what is happening today in language revival and what language means to individuals.

The film will go into an "Education Kit" that is currently being developed by VACL to be distributed to Victorian Schools to raise the awareness of Indigenous Languages in Victoria and provide some basic activities that involve language.

Copies of the DVD can be ordered by calling VACL on +61 3 9600 3811 or 1300 97 36 97 (cost of local call) or emailing

]]> (Daryn McKenny) Completed Projects Tue, 17 Apr 2012 07:27:24 +1000
Gunnai Children’s Storybooks

gunnaibooksThe Gunnai Yirruk-Tinnor Community Language Program has been creating childrens story books written in language. These can be used as a teaching aid and as a way to bring language into childrens lives in a fun educational manner. 

 To order copies, please go to the VACL Book Order Form page

]]> (Daryn McKenny) Completed Projects Thu, 12 Apr 2012 15:31:22 +1000
Malmsbury Prison Project


The Malmsbury Language Program that was run by the Victorian Aboriginal Language Corporation for Languages (VACL) was a very worthwhile program for our youth who had come into contact with the Justice system.

The boys came from both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background.

The program gave them a connection to their language and culture through the two Elders who ran the program each week, Aunty Zeta Thomson and Aunty Fay Stewart-Muir.  They travelled up each week so that the boys had that continuous connection to Elders.

The language program taught them language of the traditional owners of the land on which Malmsbury Justice Centre is situated on and also language from where they were from as well.

Included in the language program was a yarning circle that would happen each week as new boys joined in the program, to welcome them and also to introduce ourselves and find out where they came from.

The boys looked forward to our arrival each week and were enthusiastic about learning language which was very encouraging.

This was a very successful program but unfortunately funding cuts saw the demise of this worthwhile program. 


]]> (Daryn McKenny) Completed Projects Thu, 12 Apr 2012 14:39:15 +1000