Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre

Wangka 2023 Conference

Survive! Revive! Thrive!

Photos of this conference can be found on GALCAC’s Facebook page. Watch out for the next conference 21-23 October 2025.

Conference keynote addresses are available on the GALCAC YouTube channel, Wangka, by clicking on the below links.

  1. Professor Peter Yu – 24 Oct 2023
  2. Denise Smith-Ali OAM – 25 Oct 2023
  3. Professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann – 26 Oct 2023

Conference papers are now available:

  1. A Domain Centred Approach to Language Work – Troy Reynolds. Paper. Powerpoint slides.
  2. A Guide to Toolbox for Language Workers – Troy Reynolds. Paper
  3. Baa Baa Black Sheep – Children’s Songs in language – Sue Hanson. Songs created by delegates.
  4. Devoicing my Cognition – by Sue Hanson. Paper. Powerpoint slides.
  5. Future Proofing Language Centres – by Sue Hanson. Paper and Powerpoint slides.
  6. Heart of the Matter: Moving on from the Settler’s Narratives. By Troy Reynolds. Paper and Powerpoint Slides.
  7. Honouring the Tjukurrpa. By Gizem Milonas. Paper and Powerpoint slides.
  8. Language Rejuvenation Policy and WA State Language Policy. By Sue Hanson. Paper and Powerpoint slides.
  9. Using Law and Cultural Protocols in Language Revitalisation. By Laura Curtis. Powerpoint slide.
  10. Who Owns My Languages: A Call for for First Nations’ Linguistic Rights. By Sue Hanson. Paper and Powerpoint slides.
  11. Mirniny Languages : a snapshot. By Jackie Coffin. Paper and Powerpoint Slides.
  12. Missionary Linguistics. By Jackie Coffin. Paper and Powerpoint Slides.
  13. Ngadju Kakurtu. By Troy Reynolds. Paper and Powerpoint Slides.
  14. Playdough for Children’s Stories- book made at conference. By Sue Hanson.
  15. Productive Morphological processes for Language Revival of Goldfields Aboriginal Languages. By Sue Hanson. Paper and Powerpoint Slides.
  16. Reading Old Documents Hurts Me: Archival Trauma and Creating Safe Access Space. By Jackie Coffin. Paper and Powerpoint Slides.
  17. Reviving the Concepts of Time: Glossing First Nation’s Languages. By Gizem Milonas. Paper and Powerpoint Slides.
  18. Water in the Context of Colonisation in the Goldfields. By Matt Wrigley. Paper.
  19. Language Revival and Aboriginal Well Being. By Professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann. Powerpoint Slides

The conference program is now available.

The Goldfields Aboriginal Languages Centre Abor. Corp. (GALCAC) held a language conference in Kalgoorlie 24-26 October 2023. The theme of the conference was language decolonisation, rejuvenation, and linguistic rights. Survive, revive, thrive!

This conference is suitable for language workers, teachers, linguists, anthropologists, native title holders or anyone with an interest in First Nations languages!

The First Nations languages of WA have suffered during European colonisation. Many languages have been damaged with a loss of lexicon and grammar. Today, there are few domains where languages can be freely used. Its time to discuss linguistic rights and creating new place for First Nations languages.

This conference will address the decolonisation of language through rejuvenation processes, and rejuvenation of language domains, reclaiming linguistic rights, and ways to make a language thrive. 

Three fabulous keynote speakers will present:

Professor Peter Yu : Yawurru Language Revivalist – Link to bio

Denise Smith-Ali OAM : Noongar Linguist Link to Bio

Professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann : Revivalistics Linguist Link to Bio

Email to be put onto the conference email notification list.

Mark your diary 24-26 October 2023 for a trip to Kalgoorlie to join in the conference.

The conference will be held at the Curtin University Kalgoorlie Conference Centre, 95 Egan Street, Kalgoorlie 6430.

The conference dinner will be a 3 course meal with entertainment by comedian Kevin Kropinyeri! An event not-to-be missed!!

Wangka Kanyilku Wangkawa is from the Tjupan language and translates as ‘Language, save for the future and speak it!’

Conference Flyer

Papers, Presentations and Workshops as of May 2023

Maureen Yanawana – workshops

1. Make a skin system poster

2. Make a relationship terms poster.

Sue Hanson

Sue Hanson is the CEO and Senior Linguist of the Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre Aboriginal Corporation. Sue is a qualified teacher and a qualified linguist. Her background is 40 years in remote Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields Aboriginal communities and organisations using language as a means for connecting people, places and story. She advocates for First Nations’ linguistic rights, empowerment of grass-roots First Nations NGOs, and State Aboriginal languages legislation.


  1. Recovering Our Voice : Using Typological Morphological Processes to Decolonise Sleeping Languages : Several highly productive morphological universalities employed by Goldfields languages can be used to inform language rejuvenation. Using these morphologically productive processes decolonises language loss and places speakers back in charge of their language, its use, development and future. These processes re-voice heritage languages speakers.
  2. Who Owns My Language? : A Call for First Nations’ Linguistic Rights : What are linguistic rights? Who has them and what are they in Australia? Who has the right to decide what happens to my language? What can I do to assert my linguistic rights?
  1. De-voicing my Cognition: The Educational Destruction and Appropriation of First Nations’ Languages : Since a 1990 State and Federal policy change, WA children who speak a First Nations’ language have only been able to access education in Standard Australian English. The policy direction has devastated the education outcomes for two generations of children who think in a First Nations language. Many schools have introduce a token weekly language class to re-teach children their language and are applauded for ‘saving languages’. This paper examines the irony of disavowing First Nations children’s linguistic rights and the appropriation of the language as a school subject.

Troy Reynolds

Troy Reynolds is a linguist from Perth, Western Australia. After completing his honours dissertation on tense and aspect in Yindjibarndi and Kurrama languages spoken in the Pilbara in 2017, he spent a year working at GALCAC in Kalgoorlie on the Kaalamaya language before returning to Perth for further study. Troy re-joined the GALCAC team permanently in 2022 and now works on the Ngadju language. Troy also produces the weekly online Wangka Ninti video series introducing young and old to reading, writing, and the structure of Goldfields First Nations’ languages.


  1. Speakers, Readers, Listeners, and Viewers: In which domains do First Nations’ languages thrive? Media play a critical role in a language’s health and represent a tangible domain of language use. How are Australia’s media helping to decolonise First Nations’ languages, support linguistic rights, and increase these domains?
  2. The Heart of the Matter: Decolonising a language calls for the decentring of the settler’s narrative and English language. What is being done to refocus and reframe First Nations languages in their rightful central place in the 21st century? 
  3. Ngadjumaya Kakurtu: Ngadju is a language of the southern Goldfields of Western Australia. What is the history of Ngadju language work, records, and recordings? What recovery work is being done by Ngadju people and GALCAC today, and what problems might we face? What does the future hold for Ngadju and what are the opportunities we have to re-populate the vocabulary? 

Jackie Coffin

Jackie Coffin is a field linguist at the Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre Aboriginal Corporation (GALCAC). Originally from country Queensland, Jackie has a BA in Linguistics and Writing and a Master of Applied Linguistics. Jackie moved to the Goldfields in 2019 to begin working at ALCAC and enjoys the parallels between country Queensland and regional Western Australia. Jackie’s research areas include language revitalisation and reclamation, phonology and verbal morphology. At GALCAC Jackie studies Mirniny and Pitjantjatjarra. She also manages the internship program and the language centre archives. In her own time, Jackie is a regular guest on ABC Goldfields and Esperance where she presents the short segment Word Nerd.


  1. Missionary Linguistics in the Goldfields There is a long history of Missionary linguistics in the Goldfields region. Historically missionary linguistics has taken many forms. Policies of the time encouraged missionaries to only permit Standard Australian English amongst mission residents. This paper addresses the policies and the repercussions of the missionary linguistics movement in the Goldfields. What are the ongoing effects of these policies, and how can First Nations people and linguists work with the close connection between linguistics and Christianity?
  2. Reading Old Documents Hurts Me: Archival trauma and creating safe access space

    An archive is a critical component of a language centre, arts organisation or historical society. Accessing an archive can also be a cause of sadness and trauma for First Nations people as difficult historical information is viewed. This places both archivists and archive users in a difficult position. How can we manage our data storage in a way that is mindful of the pain it may cause Indigenous people who hope to use archives as a means to connect to language, family and culture?

  3. Mirniny Language: A snapshot Mirniny language has been severly impacted due to colonisation. GALCAC linguist Jackie Coffin has spent four years working with speakers and combing historical records to recapture this sleeping language. This paper presents an over view of the language including grammar.

Laura Curtis: Solicitor Terri Janke and Company Pty Ltd

 Our presentation will address: 

1. Cultural Protocol Awareness – Language work frequently involves both Aboriginal language practitioners and non-Indigenous researchers or linguists. TJC recognises that to continue the growth and to support respectful engagement with communities and encourage language preservation it is crucial to implement cultural protocol awareness. This True Tracks® presentation is bespoke in nature and tailored to provide awareness of cultural protocols specifically for language practitioners and non-Indigenous linguists so that they are able to respectfully engage with Aboriginal knowledge holders. 

2. ICIP knowledge – As it stands unlike other parts of Australia, WA has not released state policy or legislated around the protection of Aboriginal languages. This will leave Aboriginal knowledge holders with questions around the protection of their Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) rights In line with the Conference’s aim to Decolonise First Nations’ Languages,  TJC’s presentation will explain the difference between Intellectual Property (IP) and ICIP, outlining the ongoing ICIP that remains with the knowledge holder even after that knowledge is consensually shared. This will be beneficial in circumstances when commercialising ICIP, providing an understanding of commercial opportunities but also respecting ICIP and providing an understanding of where a balance can be struck allowing for faster output and more successful outcomes. 

3. Understanding of best practice contracts – Due to the lack of proper legislation surrounding how languages are to be preserved and the Aboriginal knowledge holders’ rights, TJC has expertise around best practice contracts and will deliver a presentation that gives the participants an understanding of what best practice contracts should look like. This will have the effect of providing an increased sense of security. Participants will be equipped to recognise what good contract drafting looks like and how agreements can balance IP and ICIP. 

Conference 2016 delegates
Kalgoorlie WA State Aboriginal Language Conference 2016