Wiradjuri garray (land) covers a vast area in Central New South Wales and is bordered by the Lachlan, Macquarie, Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers. The name Wiradjuri comes from the words Wiray (meaning no) and dhuray (meaning having) and forms part of the ‘no having’ language group. The ‘no having’ language group is made up of Wiradjuri and some neighbouring countries. Providing these two words of ‘no’ and ‘having’ enabled people to communicate what was, and wasn’t allowed by lore.
Wiradjuri ngurambang (country) was and continues to be protected by Wiradjuri mayiny (people). Wiradjuri ngurambang has a rich history and culture, and an abundance of wildlife and ecological diversity which sustained Wiradjuri for more than 60,000 years through a natural balance that was maintained with mother earth. The natural balance was underpinned by yindyamarra (meaning a deep respect and patience), ngurrbul (meaning love) and buyaa (meaning lore).
Wiradjuri were involved in many disputes with white European settlers and government from the late 1700’s when the settlers made their way from the Sydney region. They travelled through the Blue Mountains and into Wiradjuri ngurambang. The arrival of settlers brought many challenges for Wiradjuri including the decimation of sacred sites, ceremonial and burial grounds, disease and laws allowing Aborigines to be shot and killed without punishment.
The further introduction of laws prohibiting Aborigines to practice culture, lore or speak in traditional language severely interrupted the natural balance of Wiradjuri. Against all odds and the tireless work of Wiradjuri Elders and supporters, Wiradjuri have been able to maintain connection to culture, lore and language with extensive reclamation work growing rapidly. This work is further evident with the Graduate Certificate of Wiradjuri Language and Heritage being successfully delivered by Wiradjuri mayiny at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga.
Sources:Hobson J., & Lowe K., & Poetsch S., & Walsh M. (2010). Re-Awakening Languages Theory and practice in the revitalisation of Australia’s Indigenous languages (pp. 14-90).
Kabaila, P R., (1999). Archaeological aspects of Aboriginal settlement of the period 1870-1970 in the Wiradjuri region, 116-117. http://hdl.handle.net/1885/9244
Mathews, R H., (1904). The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. The Wiradyuri and other languages of New South Wales, Vol. 34, 284-305. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2843103
Read, P,. (1909-1929). Breaking up these Camps entirely: The Dispersal Policy in Wiradjuri Country, 45. http://press.anu.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/article042.pdf
Rudder, J., & Grant Snr, S. (2014). Yuwin-galan-dhi (about names) Nouns (are naming words). In A Grammar of Wiradjuri Language (pp. 11-21). Wagga Wagga: Restoration House.
Schobel, E. (2011). History and distinguishing features of Australian English. Available from http://www.grin.com/en/e-book/306950/history-and-distinguishing-features-of-australian-english
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