Gumbaynggirr language teacher Michael Jarrett educates National Parks rangers on Aboriginal Language.
Gumbaynggirr language teacher Michael Jarrett educates National Parks rangers on Aboriginal Language.

Words of wisdom

STORIES of the Gumbaynggirr nation passed down from elders through the generations have been shared with National Parks and Wildlife rangers.

Renowned Aboriginal language teacher Michael Jarrett of the Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Cultural Co-operative chaired a language and history workshop in Coffs Harbour this week.

“We covered Gumbaynggirr language, pronunciation and phonetics and some of the stories of important sites in the local area, which have come down through the ages from the old people,” Mr Jarrett said.

One such story he said was of the place known as Giidany Miirlari, at the base of Muttobird Island.

“This translates to mean the moon place, and refers to the reef that is seen near the island.”

“It was a special site used for hunting expeditions where muttonbirds were gathered as a food source.

“Another sacred site we covered was Moonee Moonee (Moonee Beach), which was an area where stone axes were made.

“The Aboriginal word for rock is Muniim, which explains how the area got its name.”

Mr Jarrett, who holds a masters degree in Indigenous Languages Education also teaches Gumbaynggirr languages in local primary schools and at the Coffs Harbour NSW TAFE college.



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