Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative is a leading regional language centre that provides strategic support to revitalise the languages of seven Aboriginal communities, of central to north of NSW. We work closely with Elders, local language, culture and educational organisations to conduct research, publish accessible grammar-dictionaries and develop engaging education courses and resources.
Muurrbay began in 1986, when Gumbaynggirr Elders, particularly Aunty Maggie Morris, joined together to revive their language with the support of linguist, Brother Steve Morelli. They accessed old recordings of the language, analysed its grammar and produced the first Gumbaynggirr dictionary-grammar. Gumbaynggirr language classes began in 1997 and many graduates have gone on to teach Gumbaynggirr in schools and community groups.
In 2004 Muurrbay expanded to become a regional language centre, supporting a further six languages. Strategic support in project planning, linguistics, IT and teaching expertise, has assisted language revival in several communities by publishing dictionary-grammars, developing teaching resources, employing language workers and delivering community based language workshops and accredited courses.
Muurrbay publishes a wide range of resources on Aboriginal language and culture. In-depth research, community consultation and peer review ensure high standards are maintained:
- Dictionary-grammars for seven languages provide a strong foundation for language revitalisation and make linguistic research more accessible.
- A handbook of Aboriginal languages of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, a groundbreaking reference work.
- Language teaching resources, Elders’ stories in books, DVDs and CDs, and comparative linguistic research on the Gumbaynggirr dialects.
- Online language resources, such as dictionaries and websites to support language learning.
- To be published in 2016:·Gumbaynggirr Collected Stories and A comparative linguistic analysis of Gumbaynggirr Dreaming stories in three dialects: Nymboidan, Northern and Southern.
Muurrbay has four main activities: supporting the revival of the Gumbaynggirr Language, auspicing Many Rivers Aboriginal Language Centre (a regional language centre activity), publishing Aboriginal language materials and providing a community centre for all language and cultural activities, including computer and internet access and administrative support.
Registered Training Organisation
In 2005, Muurrbay was re-registered as a Training Organisation through VETAB. We were reregistered in 2011 (by VETAB, now Australian Skills Quality Authority) to deliver two courses:
- Certificate II in Gumbaynggirr Language and Culture Maintenance – 91257NSW, and
- Certificate IV in Gumbaynggirr Language and Culture Maintenance – 91258NSW
Many partnerships and links have been formed or are in development, including:
- Local Aboriginal Land Councils – Macksville, Bowraville, Nambucca Heads and Coffs Harbour
- Local Schools – including State and Catholic Schools as well as pre-schools
- Department of Environment and Climate Change
- Goori Broadcasters and Radio 2 TLP Taree
- Nambucca Shire Council
- Aboriginal Organisations in the Nambucca Valley
- NSW Aboriginal Language Research and Resource Centre
- Aboriginal Education Consultative Group
- NSW Board of Studies
- NSW Department of Education and Training
- Ngurrala Aboriginal Corporation
- Darkinyung, Dhanggati, Gathang and Yaygirr Language Groups, Bundjalung Elders, Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation
- Wollotuka School of Aboriginal Studies situated at University of Newcastle
- Koori Centre situated at University of Sydney
- TAFE North Coast