NEW bi-lingual place signage featuring Kuku Yalanji language at 25 locations across Douglas Shire is helping the local community recognise the rich Indigenous culture.

The first bi-lingual place signs are part of the Indigenous Language Signage Program, a Douglas Shire Council-Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation led partnership.

Further signs will be installed in the coming months, including ‘Welcome to Country’ and ‘Town Entry’ signs.

The progress to date rounds out 12 months of close consultation with the Indigenous Language Signage Committee, which features six members representing a specific area of the Shire they are connected to.

The ILS committee visited the region identifying sites and place names for twenty-five locations in Eastern Kuku Yalanji Country holding approximately 10 meetings on country.  A map was prepared for further consultation amongst the community of Kuku Yalanji Elders and Traditional Owners.

ILS Project Officer Tim Ellis said committee would like to see the signage program move further north into Kuku Nyungkul Country.

“The Douglas Shire is paving the way for further recognition of Indigenous culture and language across regions beyond our Shire,” he said.

“Traditional Owners and elders worked closely with the committee since March 2019 with community workshops held in Wujal Wujal and Mossman, as well as many meetings on country.”

Douglas Shire Council and Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation would like to thank the following Elders and Traditional Owners for their time, knowledge and support with the preparation of this project:

Francis Walker, Laurel Doughboy, Lizzie Olbar, Calvin Olbar, Linda Burchill, Phillip Missionary, Jackie Ball (Snr), Bobby Ball, Doreen Ball, Kathleen Walker, Lesley Walker, Doreen Doughboy, Bobby Ball (Jr), Matty Boatboy, King Doughboy, Adelaide Baird, Ngumbi (Jack Martin), Jinamul (Oscar Olbar Snr.), Andrew Solomon, Jason Solomon, Linda Walker, Jimmy Olbar, Agnes Burchill, Cissy Ross-Kelly, Clare Ogilvie, Bennett Walker, Sheryl Burchill, the Kuku Yalanji Language Advisory Group (KYLAG) and Kelly Schreiber – Burungu Aboriginal Corporation (BAC).

The ILS Committee features:

  • Francis Walker and Laurel Doughboy for the northern area;
  • Lizzie Olbar and Calvin Olbar for the central area, and
  • Linda Burchill and Phillip Missionary for the southern area.

View Yalanji map here. 

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said the signage helped recognise Indigenous language and was a show of respect to the traditional owners in the region.

“The project was the product of many months of consultation, adding cultural value to the various local areas and embracing our local Indigenous language,” he said.

The ILS Committee expressed their gratitude in getting the project underway:

“It’s been a long time coming, and is a step forward towards reconciliation with the Bama’s on their land”, said Elder Francis Walker,

“It makes us feel proud”. Lizzie Olbar said “I am happy that family and visitors will see Yalanji Language”.

“It is good for young ones to see their language recognised” said Calvin Olbar.