As part of State Library’s commitment to the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, we will be promoting a ‘word of the week’ from one of the 125+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and dialects from across Queensland.
This week’s word is woongarra [pronounced one-garra], from the Taribelang language of Bundaberg. This word was nominated by Robert McClellan through the Bundaberg Regional Library Services with acknowledgement to the Central Queensland Language Centre!
The original meaning ‘burning mountain’ referred to The Hummock and dates back beyond 10,000 years when smoke erupted from the volcano’s crater. Today, the word has been used for various placenames in Bundaberg, including a street, suburb and the former Shire Council for the Eastern and Southern parts of Bundaberg.
“Bundaberg Words”, Meston Papers OM64-17:
There are minimal linguistic materials for Taribelang with one of the few sources being the Meston Notebooks – the image above shows a selection of words collected from Bundaberg in the 1900’s by Meston in his role as Southern Protector of Aborigines. The word list includes several placenames for towns and localities across the region. Contemporary linguistic work was undertaken by Helon in 1994 on behalf of the Gurang Land Council; while Holmer’s Linguistic Survey of South-Eastern Queensland also includes references to languages of the Bundaberg region.
The Central Queensland Language Centre based at Gidarjil Aboriginal Corporation in Bundaberg plays an active role in the revival and maintenance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages across the region, including Taribelang. The above image is from the Gladstone Observer and features Kaitlyn and Melinda from Central Queensland Language Centre teaching Gurang language at Tannum Sands State High School during 2018.
State Library of Queensland invites you to celebrate the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages as we raise awareness of the rich diversity of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
Join the conversation as we post a new word for each week!
Week Eight 19-25 February 2019.
#IYIL2019 #IYIL #IY2019WordoftheWeek #SLQIndigenousLanguages
Indigenous Languages Coordinator, State Library of Queensland
State Library of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Webpages
State Library of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Map
UN IY2019 Links
UN International Year of Indigenous Languages webpages
UN International Year of Indigenous Languages Resources
The word of the week has been nominated by Robert McClellan through Bundaberg Regional Library Services with thanks to Central Queensland Language Centre.
Sources: Central Queensland Language Centre and Meston, A. (undated) Archibald Meston Papers 1860-1960. OM64-17
Other materials in the State Library collections relating to Taribelang and neighbouring languages include the following:
Breen, G. (2009) “The Biri dialects and their neighbours”. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, V133, No.2. SER 506.942
Curr, E. M. (1887) The Australian Race: its origins, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia and the routes by which it spread itself over that continent. John Ferres Government Printer: Melbourne. RBF 572.994 cur
Gladstone Observer, 13 February 2018 “Indigenous language program a first in the state” Online article.
Helon, G. (1994) The English-Goreng Goreng-English dictionary. G 499.15 1994
Holmer, N. (1983) Linguistic Survey of South-Eastern Queensland. J 499.15 HOL
Meston, A. (undated) Archibald Meston Papers 1860-1960. OM64-17
Thomas Illidge Papers OM72-115
Tindale, N. B. (1974) Aboriginal tribes of Australia: their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits and proper names. Q 994.0049915 tin