Muurrbay Aborigional Language and Culture Co-operative working to revitalise First Nations Languages


MUURRBAY Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative, is a leading not-for-profit Regional Language Centre.

Muurrbay’s mission is the revitalisation of the languages of seven Aboriginal communities of central and northern NSW.

Muurrbay was established in 1986 by Gumbaynggirr Elders, with the help of linguist Brother Steve Morlli, to revive the Gumbaynggirr language.

Julie Long, Regional Co-ordinator at Muurrbay, explains that Gumbayngirr Elder Uncle Gary Williams, long serving CEO of Muurrbay, has been vital to the Gumbaynggirr language revival in the Valley.

According to Julie there are very few First Nations language centres in Australia, with Muurrbay being one of the few located in the country.

Gary shared that Muurrbay is the only Regional Language centre located on the East Coast of NSW.

News Of The Area was present at a meeting recently when Gumbaynggirr youth Marli Bateman opened the meeting with a Welcome to Country.

She initially spoke this in Gumbaynggirr, and then provided the English version.

“It is very heartwarming to see young people get up and do Welcome to Country in Language without fear,” said CEO Uncle Gary Williams.

“Muurrbay has created this.”

As a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) Muurrbay runs First Nations community courses in language, and conducts a range of language training courses.

This includes Certificate courses that qualify First Nations students to teach their language in TAFE.

Muurrbay is also actively involved in the publication of language dictionaries, teaching and online resources.

These are available for purchase from Muurrbay for the public.

The Co-operative welcomes multiple visitors from outside of Nambucca Valley throughout the year, including academics and students from Sydney University.

Gumbaynggirr Elder Uncle Micklo Jarrett wears many hats, one of which is working with Muurrbay.

He also offers Gumbaynggirr language courses, which are open to everyone, in Nambucca Valley at Valla Preschool on a Thursday at 4:30.

The class includes both Gumbaynggirr and non-Gumbaynggirr students and is by donation.

Uncle Micklo also runs an open course in Bellingen on Mondays at 4:00.

In the final week of May Muurrbay is working remotely with Living Languages, located in Victoria, and hosting a Linguistic Training course for 6 First Nations youth from a range of different language group areas.

During the course the students will be learning about the linguists of their language.

Muurrbay welcomes enquiries from the public.

Information regarding Muurrbay can be found on their website at

Muurrbay is located at 14 Bellwood Rd Nambucca Heads.



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