Noongar lullabies for South West children

Noongar Boodjar Language Centre education officer Charmaine Councillor and textile artist Marcelle Riley with project participants.
Noongar Boodjar Language Centre education officer Charmaine Councillor and textile artist Marcelle Riley with project participants.

The Community Arts Network, South West Aboriginal Medical Service and the Noongar Boodjar Language Centre are working together so that future younger generations of Noongar children can be lulled to sleep with songs sung in their traditional language.

The three organisation have joined forces to help Noongar families in Bunbury to make this happen through an integrated arts and language program called Lullabies.

Lullabies has been specifically designed for Noongar parents, babies and grandparents, providing the basis for learning Noongar language and transferring the language into creative outcomes including song writing and storytelling.

Community Arts Network manager June Moorhouse said it was about using art to create transformation.

“Language is a fundamental part of any culture and composing lullabies in Noongar language encourages language interest and builds the musical skills of all involved,” she said. 

Weekly Noongar language lessons are being facilitated by Noongar Boodjar Language Centre education officer Charmaine Councillor on Tuesday morning at South West Aboriginal Medical Service Kwilenap Maternal Health Clinic in Australind and Tuesday afternoons at the Noongar men’s group in Bunbury.

At Kwilenap, participants follow on each Tuesday with an eco-dyeing bush doll workshop led by Marcelle Riley.

This provides participants with the opportunity to practice Noongar and revive the tradition of Noongar women and children making rag dolls and toys while living on reserves.

All participants are working towards building their language skills in preparation for three full-day creative song writing workshops to be held at Roelands Village in June and July with a showcase performance at NAIDOC week in Bunbury on Thursday, July 12.

Lullabies was first developed in Collie and Midvale in 2017 with award winning artist Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse.

It resulted in the creation of 15 original songs and over 30 Noongar story dolls being created for families to share.

To participate in the weekly workshops and attend the upcoming creative workshops at Roelands Village on June 23 and 7 July email brooke@canwa.com.au.