Published: 24 July 2020
Queensland Volunteers are have had quite a different experience during COVID-19. While other Volunteers in Sydney have been forced to remain low-key during the pandemic and some even to quarantine, the Queensland group have been working with Bigambul Aboriginal Corporation of Goondiwindi to reconstruct their language. This has required much work in research by Volunteers with regular zoom meetings and phone calls to keep up to speed with the requirements of the community. To date, some hundreds of words have been recovered from lists compiled by early pastoralists, explorers and even church pastors as they recorded the language they heard in late 19th and early 20th Century incursions into the Condamine area.
Volunteers have spent early weeks of the lockdowns following up all leads to recover the lists of Bigambul words that are extant and to set these up in a new listing juxtaposed with the lists of Yugambeh(Gold Coast) and Kamilaroi people(Moree, Walgett and surrounds). The Corporation have reviewed their work as the basis of new funding to continue the recovery into the next two years.
More recently the Linguist, Jeremy Steele,with the Officer, Augustinian Justice & Peace, reorganised the words into a list by spelling, origins and pronunciation. These were recorded spokenon Garage Band so that the community can now compare pronunciations ofthe words they can no longer remember. The Officer and Aunty Rhonda Sandow of the community will travel to Goondiwindi for a meeting with Elders on 31st July. Volunteers are excited to see their work taken up by the community.