Fieldtrip to Gamilaraay country

For a week in June 2018, five students of Gamilaraay, Dr John Giacon and I travelled to walk Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay country. Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay are Aboriginal languages of northern inland New South Wales which were forced out of use in the context of invasion, massacre, and forced resettlement of Aboriginal people. Both languages have been revived and reconstructed from archival materials by the tireless work of John Giacon and many others.

We heard from Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay people involved in language revival and teaching, and had the very special opportunity to visit language classes in action. We spent time reflecting at Bangate Station, Angledool Mission, the Collarenebri and Moree Aboriginal cemeteries, and the 180th Myall Creek Massacre memorial event. The trip put language revival in context, and many of the students are keenly continuing with Gamilaraay 2 this winter session.

Deep thanks go to everyone who hosted us on the journey, and to the College of Arts and Social Sciences at ANU for providing us with a Student Experience Grant to support the trip.

Fieldtrip participant Liska Fell had a piece published in ANU’s student paper, Woroni, which you can read here. You can also read my reflection on the trip on my blog here.