The Project began in 2001 with a significant group of dedicated people: the Daungwurrung Elders Committee and The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL) in collaboration with a Language Worker.
The Language Worker, Mr Bill Nicholson Jr, established a data base of Taungurung language through research of community members and historical records.
In 2004 Aunty Judy Monk became the Language Worker as the position had not been filled for some time. Aunty Judy produced a wordlist which consisted of about 300 words from the data base that was put in place previously. Aunty Judy put her heart and soul into learning and teaching of the Taungurung language. Language camps were introduced to bring the community together to learn language and culture through games, songs and dances that Aunty Judy, along with volunteers, produced.
People simply pronounced the words that the written form suggested. The importance of this stage was to access the words as a means to reconnect with language, identity and culture.
It was in late 2006 that Aunty Judy retired from work.
In 2007, Mrs Lee Healy became the Taungurung Community Language Worker. Lee explains her work:
“I put it on myself to challenge the wordlist with phonological reconstruction of the pronunciation of each word. “Discovering How Your Ancestors Pronounced Words”. Through historical records, my greatest challenge was training on the job in basic linguistics and how to deliver the results to the community in a way that assists their acceptance without undermining the achievements of the first stages of language reclamation.
My aim has been to compile a wordlist that makes some sense of the many words that have been recorded and spelt in so many ways; to provide a major resource that both supports the authenticity of historical records and community knowledge; and the appreciation of all who dedicated their valuable time to the final stages of publication, which consists of over 4,500 entries.”
The publishing of our 1st Edition wordlist marks a significant achievement in Taungurung history.