Local communities banding together for language revival.



Muurrbay is a regional language centre supporting seven Aboriginal languages along the NSW coast from the Central Coast (about 1 hour north of Sydney) up to the border of Queensland.  They started when elders of Gumbaynggirr, near Nambucca Heads, joined together to revive their language and with the help of linguist Brother Steve Morelli and produced the first Gumbaynggirr dictionary.  The language centre increased in 2004 to add a further six languages from along the coast line and it is now a thriving centre which develops language resources, research and provides community support for cultural activities. Further developments have been made with the centre, in 2011 it became a registered training organisation and now offers two certificate level qualifications in Gumbaynggirr language and culture.

With the number of Indigenous languages on the verge of extinction as discussed in Lecture 5 a cooperative such as this allows smaller groups of language speakers access to resources and support and a greater chance of survival and revitalisation among the younger generations.  Through the use of this digital centre, more remote or small communities of some distance have access to cultural and linguistic resources at their disposal.  It is also a step forward in encouraging or role modelling for other communities to begin or continue their efforts in language and culture preservation.

This centre is a great example of the power of cooperation and how even in small numbers when banded together can be successful makers of change.

Susan Davison Ling366

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