Indigenous language project wins commendation for Scenic Rim libraries

Queensland Reconciliation Week has ended on a high note for Scenic Rim Regional Council with a Yugambeh language project receiving statewide recognition at an awards presentation in Cairns.

Council’s libraries were Highly Commended in the Community category of the Queensland Reconciliation Awards for the Jarjum Gurema Indigenous language children’s storybook which was launched in September 2021.

Cover image of the Jarjum Gurema children’s storybook.

Council Chief Executive Officer Jon Gibbons said the award recognised the Council’s library team and community effort behind the project to encourage early literacy as well as a revival of the Yugambeh language in the region.

“Jarjum Gurema’s vibrant original illustrations and online resources celebrate the local Mununjali dialect and encourage families with young children to share the language through story, song and dance,” he said.

“The award is a tribute to everyone involved in the project, which has brought the wider community together through the sharing of stories, cultures and values and strengthened relationships between the Mununjali community and education providers.”

Championed by footballer Jamal Fogarty, a proud Mununjali man, the book was created in partnership between Council and Mununjali Jymbi Support Services, Jabu Jabuny Club, and the Mununjali Playgroup and was made possible with funding from the Queensland Government and the State Library of Queensland’s First 5 Forever program, which encourages early literacy.

“My thanks to Jamal Fogarty for his contribution to the project and for being such an excellent literacy champion,” Mr Gibbons said.

“The reconciliation award for our libraries is testament to the valued friendships we share and what can be achieved when we work together for our community.”

Scenic Rim libraries have distributed 1,500 free copies of the book to families with children under five years old through sporting clubs, playgroups, early education facilities and family support services.

“Council’s investment has benefited the community through the recognition and development of an awareness and connection to Indigenous culture,” Mr Gibbons said.

“This vital work is supporting literacy development in the local community and strengthening the links between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.”

First 5 Forever is an initiative of the Queensland Government, coordinated by the State Library of Queensland and delivered in partnership with local government.