Noongar Language Centre opens in Bunbury

Chairperson George Hayden and Elder Gloria Dann inside the new language centre.
Chairperson George Hayden and Elder Gloria Dann inside the new language centre.

THE first Noongar Language Centre in WA was officially opened last week after 11 years of planning. 

The centre’s goal is to preserve and provide resources to the Noongar people. 

Noongar Language Centre manager Sue Hanson said it was an emotional evening because in the 11 years it took to build the centre eight of the elders involved in the process passed way. 

She said the official opening honoured the elders but also celebrated their achievements of what will now be shared with the community. 

There was $250,000 provided for the 2015-16 year from the Federal Government under the Indigenous Languages Support program and $300, 000 will be provided for each of the following years, she said. 

“The role of the centre is to record, analyse and preserve the Noongar Language,” she said.

“The centre provides resources for families and schools to fully understand the history of the language.

“It has been sadly under studied so we want to fully document the language and create dictionaries to retain the original speech.”

She said the Noongar language came with a wealth of information about land, season and country and if you lose a language you lose the history which goes with it.

Language equals identity which builds resilience and strength and their role will be to grow the understanding of the language within the Noongar community, she said. 

“Language is a way to develop our intellect and if you lose the language it means your intellect is crushed,” Ms Hanson said. 

The centre will be run by two full time and three part time staff, including a Noongar linguist, an education officer and community engagement officer. 

The centre is located at unit 3, 14 Ommanney Street, Bunbury. For more information call 9791 2224.