To research and document the Watha wurrung language and culture.
The Wathaurong Language Program has been in progress now since March 1998. Suzie Coates was the first Language Worker with Bruce Pascoe taking over the position in June 1999 in a part time capacity. Denise Charles joined the Language Program in September 2003, working 2 days per week. We have also employed a linguist, Sharnthi Pillay who is based in Melbourne to work with us. We have an office based at the Wathaurong Co-op, but later this year we will be relocating to the Wathaurong Education Centre so that we can network more efficiently with the Koorie Education workers. Originally the language research began with the 2,000 Wathaurong word list compiled by Professor Barry Blake (La Trobe University Linguist) and also words compiled by Sue Ferrier (Author of Wathaurong Medicines).
Since then an enormous amount of information has been unearthed by both Suzie and Bruce so today we have a list of .around 7,000 Wathaurong words including many sentences place names, property names and the names of indigenous and non indigenous people from the contact period of Geelong from 1835 onwards. Research into the re- discovery of Wathaurong words could go on indefinitely, as we are constantly finding new material.
The Program has produced several resources over the past few years, namely an interactive CD Rom titled “Learning Wathaurong” and more recently the publication of the Wathawoorrong Dictionary.