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
The Robinvale Language Program 'Yakila Yarna Thalingi' (Learning to Speak Language) began at Robinvale P-12 College in July 2015, with Brendan Kennedy teaching local Aboriginal languages Tati Tati, Latji Latji, Wadi Wadi and Mutti Mutti to students from Prep to Grade 3.
The College has chosen an innovative approach to their Languages Other Than English (LOTE) program, offering all Prep to Grade 2 students classes in four different language groups; Aboriginal Indigenous, European, Pacific Islands and Asian. Students are then given the option of choosing which one to specialise in from Grade 3 onwards.
As part of the Aboriginal Languages class students have been learning songs, stories, games, body parts, plant names and places, all of which are imbedded with local knowledge and culture.
"I have a passion for my past, my peoples and my ancestral history. Language is imbedded within the landscape and it's not fair that our language doesn't recieve the respect and recognition it deserves. I've got a responsibility to make sure our kids and our grandkids have access to our language. All the answers we are looking for are in our language." - Brendan Kennedy
Brendan was born at Robinvale on Tati Tati Country and is a descendant of the Tati Tati, Wadi Wadi and Mutti Mutti tribal lands and language groups.
Brendan is also currently teaching language classes at Murray Valley Aboriginal Co-operative Early Child-Care Centre, Robinvale Pre-School and Mallee Family Care Playgroup.
To download a pdf version of Yakila Yarna Thalingi (Learning to Speak Language) click here
There are many elements to starting a Language Program. We have written a guide for planning a successful program called Peetyawan Weeyn. We can visit your community to assist in the implementation and training of this guide.
We also have limited funds available to partner with communities to undertake a language project. Below are the guidelines and application form for working with us on a language project.
The current round of Community Language Partnership Program are open from 1st July 2016 to 30th June 2017