Jonathan Hill is a high school teacher in the South Coast area between Sydney and Victoria in Australia. He teaches Dhurga (dhu) in conjunction with an Aborigine speaker, using a course created by a linguist as part of a revitalization program. The course is 100 hours long and students are exposed to not only language but Dhurga culture and history as well.
In an essay Hill submitted last year, winning second place in the Margaret Dooley Award, Hill ponders the question of what would happen if all schools in Australia had such a program, describing the positive changes in attitude that would result and how doing so would further the Reconciliation process.
Dhurga is currently listed at the Ethnologue as a sleeping language, but it is offered in a certificate program at the Moruya campus of the Illawarra Institute of TAFE. See “Walawaani njindiwan – hope you had a safe journey” on the Narooma News site for a history of the program.
For reference material on Dhurga, start with “Selected Bibliography of material on the Dhurga language and people held in the AIATSIS Library.”
This post was inspired by the blog entry “Essay on the Dhurga school language program” on the Australian Aboriginal Languages Student Blog.
The Margaret Dooley Award is given to writers under 30 for “a reasoned ethical argument based on humane values.”