Gathang flavour to new campus signage
Gathang flavour to new campus signage

Directional and building signage at the Great Lakes campus of TAFE has had a major upgrade with input from students studying Gathang, the traditional language of the local Indigenous people.

Each major sign encountered by visitors to the campus now features a welcome and explanation in the Gathang language. This recognises the important role Aboriginal people have on the campus and in the local community.

“Late last year, elders studying the Certificate I in Aboriginal language course were asked to come up with a different acknowledgement for each sign in the TAFE campus, at Tuncurry, and for the adjoining school premises. They then got the whole class involved in discussing relevant wording,” said Campus Manager, Neil Hopkins, who oversaw the signage project.

“After we had decided on the wording, local sign manufacturers, Barrier Signs, from Taree, designed the signage in consultation with TAFE, the community and the language group,” said Neil.

The result was a colourful set of new signs and a great learning opportunity for the students.

The local community has taken great pride in the revival of the traditional Gathang language of the Warrimay (Worimi) and Birrbay (Biripi) people. TAFE is soon offering the Certificate II in Aboriginal Languages-Gathang at both Great Lakes and Taree Campuses, continuing the ground-breaking progress made last year. Many years of work had to be done before classes could commence as the Gathang language was a spoken, not a written language.

Classes use a locally developed Gathang grammar-dictionary, published by Muurrbay-Many Rivers Aboriginal Language Centre, as well as the Accelerated Second Language Acquisition teaching method (ASLA), developed in USA by Stephen Neyooxet Greymorning, an Arapaho language teacher.

Students of all ages quickly make progress with their language and have a lot of fun, speaking, singing and discussing cultural traditions.