First graduates for Wiradjuri language program

Monday 21 Dec 2015

There was a profound sense of achievement and pride as Charles Sturt University's (CSU) first 17 graduates in the Wiradjuri language, culture and heritage program received their awards during a ceremony in Wagga Wagga.

Graduate Mr Harry Lambshead with his wife Joanne, and 5 of their 10 childrenDeveloped by Wiradjuri Elders in conjunction with CSU, the Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage began in 2014 as a means to revive the language of the Wiradjuri nation.

The program is an eighteen month block release program offered by CSU and all of the inaugural cohort have successfully completed the course.

While one of the new program's driving force, Wiradjuri Elder Uncle Stan Grant was on stage for the graduation ceremony in Wagga Wagga on Monday 14 December, another key player was not.

CSU academic Associate Professor Ros Brennan Kemmis AM, who developed the course and nurtured its students, died in July 2015.

During the ceremony, there was a moving tribute to her dedication to the program, as each of the inaugural graduates shook hands with her husband Emeritus Professor Stephen Kemmis before receiving their awards from the Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann.

Course coordinator Mr Lloyd Dolan said, "The course has been a great opportunity for students to relearn, share and expand their language skills, improve their employment outcomes and to play an active role in the revitalisation of Wiradjuri language, culture and heritage within their own communities."

Reflecting on the inaugural program, Emeritus Professor Stephen Kemmis said, "This course guides, educates and supports students, but it is also designed to allow students to find their own ways into Wiradjuri language, culture and heritage, drawing on and sharing their own backgrounds, experience and expertise.

"They have built a living network of Wiradjuri minds, every day deepening their Wiradjuri knowledge and along with it renewing the living knowledge that refreshes Wiradjuri country, culture and communities.

"This network makes a great contribution to sustaining the Wiradjuri nation. It has become a vital a resource for Wiradjuri nation-re-building.

"It contributes to building a more certain, stronger and safer Wiradjuri future for Wiradjuri people," said Professor Kemmis.

You can read more about the program in CSU News here.


Media contact: Ms Fiona Halloran and Ms Emily Malone, (02) 6933 2207

Media Note:

Further information is available from CSU Media.

Photo caption: CSU Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage graduate Mr Harry Lambshead with his wife Joanne, and 5 of their 10 children.