Wanggamanha (speaking) Wajarri

By Celeste Larkins

Last week we were invited by the Bunidyarra Irra Wangga Language Program to a language workshop in Mullewa (about an hour’s drive east of our base in Geraldton), held at the Mullewa Aboriginal Arts Centre. The language program aims to preserve, revitalise and maintain Aboriginal language and culture. It was a great opportunity to observe the workshop and hear from local Mullewa people, some of which could speak Wajarri (the local language), and others who had not learnt it because of past government policies.

During the workshop, we had the privilege of trying bimba, a traditional bush food, also known as ‘bush lolly’, which you get from going out bush. 

 Celeste enjoying some bimba.

Celeste enjoying some bimba.

To support the work of the Irra Wangga Language Centre, we help the community record their language for broadcast on the local Aboriginal community radio station, Radio MAMA, which we did in Mullewa.

We drove three hours onto Mount Magnet which is Badimaya country (a different language group). There we went to the District High School which started a language program this year in the school teaching both Wajarri and Badimaya. Due to family connections, many students are Yamaji or have Yamaji links (who speak Wajarri), as well as Badimaya. We met teacher Mrs Roslyn Little, who had a kindy (4-year-olds) and Pre-primary (5-year-olds) class while we visited. The students loved their language class, and with the help of their teacher, were able to record some great radio messages using Wajarri words. We aim to go back next school term to do more recordings in Badimaya. Have a listen to the radio messages the students recorded below.