WUJAL Wujal elders are immortalising the stories of their childhood for future generations with a series of books planned in collaboration with the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
Elder Doreen Ball is among the first to have her stories put to print, and is looking forward to reading a copy.
“I’ve written mine in Kuku Yalanji, the story starts at Topsy Creek (south of the Bloomfield River) where I grew up,” Ms Ball said.
“The community was much smaller then, just a reserve, but I’ve got strong roots and now my four children and five grandchildren are all still there.”
Ms Ball said she would read her story to her children and grandchildren, as they could understand spoken Kuku Yalanji, but couldn’t read it.
“I’ll be talking to my children and grandchildren and others too, asking them if they want to write their own stories – they just need to start,” she said.
Wujal Wujal Justice Group acting coordinator Lucille Cassar said local elders had been working on writing their stories for the past few years, and had seized the opportunity provided by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
“I saw this opportunity and thought the elders will really like this,” Ms Cassar said.
“It’s the Year of the Elders, so this is something we can do for them and with them to keep them happy and hopefully it also inspires the younger generation.”
Supported by Australia Post, the ILF’s CREATE program brought experienced writer and editor Lystra Rose to the community in July to work with elders on their stories.
ILF CEO Ben Bowen said he understood the value of elders sharing their knowledge and stories.
“Having worked with the Wujal Wujal community over the years it was amazing to be able to sit and learn from the elders, listening to their stories and vision for their community,” Mr Bowen said.
“To be able to platform the knowledge, skills, spirit and strength of the people in community to publish their stories in languages is a privilege.”
Ms Cassar said it was hoped that once published the books would be available for sale at the Bana Yirriji Cultural Centre in Wujal Wujal, as well as the town’s Indigenous Knowledge Centre and local libraries.