The Moolyawongk

Our Culture

Added by First Languages Australia

Description The Walkandi-Woni Art Group from the Riverland of South Australia is celebrating their Indigenous heritage and at the same time continuing a long tradition of oral storytelling.

It's sad to say that colonisation has resulted in the loss of hundreds of Indigenous languages in Australia, with the the Murray River Tongue being one of those.

Some River Tongue words are still spoken today but in mélange of different languages from surrounding areas.

Luckily in 1816 the South Australian Protector of Aborigines, a pastoralist by the name of Matthew Moorhouse, recorded a wide range of words and phrases, along with their phonetic pronunciations. So now we are seeing a sleeping language being given a new lease on life, and a new generation of speakers.

Walkandi-Woni is leading this charge to put the language back into the community from where it came. The dreaming story of the Moolyawongk, or bunyip, is a great starting point to put some of the tribal language into a form where it is accessible for all.

This version of the Moolyawongk story was recorded in 1964 and has been transformed into a picture book by the art group, using linocut printing. ABC Open's involvement has meant that the story has transformed again into a digital form that can be shared across the world.

All eleven pages of the full Moolyawongk story can be found here in this video.

ABC Open Producer: Daniel Schmidt

This video was originally contributed to the ABC Open Mother Tongue project, which invited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to share a story about their mother tongue.

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