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 balulbara [pronounced bal-ul-bah-rah], from the Gudjul language of the Charters Towers region – it is sourced from William Santo’s book My Country. The text explores the landscape of Gudjal country including this word meaning ‘moon’.
William Santo created a series of books on the Gudjal language which are held in the State Library collections – Gudjal book of Animals, Gudjal book of birds, Gudjal pocket dictionary as well as My Country. In 2007, State Library adapted My Country into virtual book featuring William’s daughter Keesha as the narrator.
Gudjal is also known as Gudjala, Kutjala, Gudjali and also Gudjalbara which refers to ‘the people who speak Gudjal’. It is related to Warungu, Gugu Badhun and other languages grouped under Upper Burdekin languages as they are located along the headwaters of the Burdekin. Gudjal takes in the area around Lolworth and Cashmere Stations to the north of Charters Towers.
There is minimal linguistic material on Gudjal which is undergoing language revival. The North Queensland Regional Aboriginal Corporation Language Centre supports language communities across the region, including Gudjal in their language revival.
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 Twelve 19-25 March 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 sourced from the following item in the State Library collections.
Source: Santo, W. (2006) My Country. JUV 499.15 SAN
Images are sourced from William Santo’s books My Country and Gudjal Animals.
Other materials in the State Library collections relating to Gudjal and neighbouring languages include the following:
Brayshaw, H. (1990) Well-beaten paths: Aborigines of the Herbert-Burdekin, North Queensland. G 306.0899915 1990
Santo, W. (2006) Gudjal language pocket dictionary. GSD 499.15 2006
Santo, W. (2006) Gudjal book of animals. JUV 499.15 SAN
Sutton, P. (ed) (1974) Languages of Cape York: papers presented to the Linguistic Symposium, Part B, held in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Biennial General Meeting, May, 1974. G 499.15 1976