1. Home
  2. Aboriginal Languages
  3. Learning from each school's experience
  4. Parkes High School - Wiradjuri Stage 4
Print this page Reduce font size Increase font size

Parkes High School - Wiradjuri Stage 4


Esther Job, Languages Teacher and Virginia Wake, Aboriginal Education Assistant, Parkes High School
This video requires QuickTime to be installed.
Download and install the latest version of QuickTime.

'Yamadhu marang.' ('Hi, are you well?')

'Ngawa baladhu marang.' ('Yes, I'm well')

Esther Job, Languages teacher and Virginia Wake, AEA, Parkes High School

Introducing the Aboriginal Language Team

Steve Maier, Virginia Wake and Esther Job, Parkes HS
  • Virginia Wake, Aboriginal Education Assistant
  • Esther Job, Languages Teacher
  • Steve Maier, Anti-discrimination Officer, HSIE Teacher, Coordinator
  • Chris Summerhayes, Aboriginal Studies Teacher
  • Stan Grant Snr, Wiradjuri Language Researcher and Elder
  • Chris Kirkbright, Aboriginal Language Researcher, Coordinator Sydney-based Wiradjuri Language Programs.
  • Geoff Anderson, president local AECG
  • Ron Wardrop, Wiradjuri language teacher
Interview with Geff Anderson and Ron Wardrop
This video requires QuickTime to be installed.
Download and install the latest version of QuickTime.

'Yinnagalangbu, gibirbangbu,gawaymbanha-dhu nginyalgir Wiradyurigu ngurambanggu.' ( Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you all to Wiradjuri country.')

'Yamandhu marang? Ngadhi yuwin Ron Wardrop.' ('My name is Ron Wardrop; I started learning Wiradjuri approximately 2 years ago. I was born in Parkes, have moved a few places and have moved back to my mother’s country.')

Parkes High School Aboriginal Language Team


Virginia Wake

'… being a Gamilaraay woman and living in Wiradjuri country and not knowing much about my own language really, I only know a few words. When I heard about the Wiradjuri language workshop that was happening in the school holidays two years ago I thought it’d be an interesting way to bring it into the school.

'The Wiradjuri language workshop with Uncle Stan Grant Snr and Dr John Rudder… it went for four days during the Easter holidays. I also took along a community member from Parkes. And he also enjoyed it for the four days. We both went over together and I thought both him and I could start something off with Wiradjuri language within the community and also in the schools.

'And then a year later Esther, one of the teachers, came in and asked if I wanted to be involved in setting up the Wiradjuri program in the school because she’d been to a conference, to a meeting with the Board of Studies [2004 Sharing Workshop]. And I said yeah I’m happy to come on board if you need me, so yes.

'At first I was a bit hesitant doing Wiradjuri because I’m a Gamilaraay lady and I thought "Oh gosh I don’t know how I’m going to do this" but I thought maybe if I got it going then I could take a step back … and let the community go with it.

'[In 2005] well Esther and I sat down and we talked about how we are going to go about it. And then yourself [Jennifer Munro] came over and met with me and talked about how we are going to implement it into the schools and workshops and stuff we were being invited to go to. After meeting with you [Jennifer Munro] I actually talked to Steve, knowing that he’s the anti-racism officer here at the school and he does a lot with the Aboriginal community itself. He gets involved with a lot of the excursions that I take away with the kids. He was really happy for it and then I talked to another teacher, Chris Summerhayes, he’s a History and Aboriginal Studies teacher, and he was happy to do that as well, because he’s got a big interest in Aboriginal culture as well. After speaking to those guys we went to our first workshop in Forbes, Esther and I, but with other schools being targeted as a pilot program for the Board of Studies.'

Virginia Wake, Aboriginal Education Assistant and Wiradjuri Language Program Coordinator, Parkes High School, 11/11/05
Esther Job, Language teacher, Parkes High School
This video requires QuickTime to be installed.
Download and install the latest version of QuickTime.

'Being a language teacher I think you’re just naturally interested in other languages and other cultures too, and then going to the workshops in Forbes and wherever else we’ve been and meeting Stan and John and lots of other people with just such interesting cultural backgrounds. And just what really grabbed me with the Wiradjuri was how it’s tied in with relationships and everything sort of on a relationship, which is quite different to European languages and our language [English]. I just found that whole concept really interesting and I just wanted to find out more and was keen to find out more about it. But I think yeah, just generally, just interested in languages generally. [I don’t know what you mean by relationships.] Well every time you came up with a word or cultural thing it’s all really bound in with something else. As an example too, with the numbers, so you have "one" and "two" and then "many". It doesn’t matter if there’s five or six it’s just a few sort of thing, whereas with us it’s always so precise.'

Esther Job, Languages teacher, Parkes High School, 11/11/05
Steve Maier, Anti-discrimination Officer, Parkes High School
This video requires QuickTime to be installed.
Download and install the latest version of QuickTime.

'Well I became interested because I have a personal interest in the language and the culture particularly and I wanted to learn more for myself [and] teach my own kids the Wiradjuri language. Then at a school level I wanted to be a part of bringing more Aboriginal education into the school. I think it’s good for all the kids to increase their awareness of Aboriginal culture and particularly Wiradjuri culture of this area and I think it’s a good avenue for Wiradjuri kids and Indigenous kids to express their pride and celebrate their own culture in school. That’s the reason why I’m behind it and hopefully it will be a success from there.'

Steve Maier, Anti-discrimination Officer, Parkes High School, 11/11/05

The team building at Parkes High School has been solid and progressive and it's been a great experience to work with people who are so open and genuinely interested in working together to create something good for their students, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, as well as for the wider community. The team will go from strength to strength.

Print this page Reduce font size Increase font size