Learn a little Yolgnu Matha in a new book from Nhulunbuy

Learn a little Yolgnu Matha in a new book from Nhulunbuy

In August 2018, a group of talented students at Nhulunbuy Primary School in the Gove Peninsula, NT participated in their second round of workshops. Both workshops, including some class time in-between, has been dedicated to working on their publishing project which is in their home language and English.

Now, the beautifully illustrated book will be off to print in the next few days!

The workshops at Nhulunbuy were conducted by ILF ambassador and award-winning illustrator Ann James and former teacher-librarian Ann Haddon, both founders of Books Illustrated, which promotes the work of Australian illustrators.

Yolngu teachers were also on hand during the workshops to assist the students in the writing of the story in Dhangu, one of the Yolngu Matha languages, while Yolngu woman Lisa Dhurrkay acted as translator so the storytelling could take place in the students’ first language before their words were captured on the page.

“This was very important, explains ILF Program Director Tina Raye. “The kids understand English but are most confident when speaking Yolngu Matha.”

Further, kids of all ages will be able to delve into the world of these talented Yolngu students – and learn a few words in Yolngu Matha along the way. What better way to celebrate the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages!


Both the English and Yolngu Martha versions will be launched at Garma Festival in August 2019, and copies of the book will be gifted to remote communities across Arnhem Land as part of our Book Supply program.

The English version (with some Yolngu Matha words) will be launched at the Sydney Opera House on Indigenous Literacy Day 4 September, and be made publically available for purchase via the ILF website and bookshops. 

Bookshops are encourgaed to stock the book for Indigenous Literacy Day and can pre-order now from Pan McMillan here with IBSN: 9780648155492. 

  • Posted 29 July, 2019

Sign Up