Uncle David Tournier has been involved in language all his life. His Country involves three places; Narrindjerri (Mothers side-Tateari Clan), Yorta Yorta (Birth Fathers side), Wathaurong (Great, Great, Great Grand Father).
Gobata! is the Wathaurong Language class Uncle David Tournier runs every Thursday. The class has a mix of people including school teachers, members of the Geelong One Fire Reconciliation Group, Aboriginal people and people from the Geelong community. Uncle David is keen to teach anyone who is interested and welcomes all to his classes.
Uncle David says that language is moving along well in Geelong, “people from the community are flooding in with language requests and various schools are screaming out for language.” He is thankful to be working closely with his daughter on language.
“My biggest worry is that when I retire who will continue my work? It’s so good that my daughter Myranda is taking on language responsibilities. We have always had keepers, the keeper of songs, of clapsticks, of stories, this hasn’t changed today and we need to continue that cultural way of doing things. I hope she can continue the language program” said Uncle David.
As well as the language program Uncle David works tirelessly on a range of other projects including handling community translation and naming requests, working with local artists on various projects, sharing knowledge out on country, re-telling creation stories in Wathaurong for upcoming publications and working on translations for the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) to assist in getting Wathaurong language into local school curriculums.
Uncle David is also working with the Wathaurong Children’s Choir whose members have developed their own song about the magpie. David is working on translating this song into Wathaurong which he will then teach to the children. The choir have also worked with primary school students to submit a song to the Marrin Gamu song competition hosted by First Languages Australia.
Wathaurong Language Classes run each Thursday from 11am – 12pm at the Wathaurong Co-operative in Geelong. These classes are open to anyone interested in learning language. To register your interest, call Meryl on 5277 0044.
For those interested in keeping up to date with Wathaurong language news, you can join Uncle David’s Language Clan group on Facebook
Learn more about Uncle David Tournier in this story Deadly Dad on the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative website
Watch this video of Uncle David reading Yengying Karroong
This July, VACL's own Bruce Pascoe and Mandy Nicholson shared fascinating knowledge at the NGV "Points of Knowledge" event. The event was held in reponse to Emily Kam Kngawarray's monumental artwork "Anwerlarr anganenty: Big Yam Dreaming". Pascoe and Nicholson presented alongside senior NGV curator Judith Ryan, celebrity food critic Matt Preston, artist Clinton Nain and author Ellen van Neerven.
As part of the event Pascoe shared their insight into Aboriginal agriculture and land management, while Nicholson spoke on the role of women in Aboriginal society.
If you missed the exciting event be sure to check out the live recordings on the NGV website (linked below):
VACL Executive Officer Paul Paton was a guest speaker at Melbourne Mueseum’s 2013 Knowledge Week program. He discussed VACL’s close ties with Indigenous communities and the expert team at Bunjilaka Cultural Centre, and how these conversations have been so integral to the success of the First People’s exhibition. Paul also explained the role of languages in sustaining communities and how the language revival process is gathering momentum in Victoria.