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By Contributor Leonie McIntosh from Albury Wodonga VIC

A Welcome to Country from three generations of Wiradjuri women.

My name is Leonie, I'm Nancy's granddaughter and Tjanarra's mother (they're the two voices you hear in the film). I really enjoyed making the 'video postcard' of the land, the birds and plants because I feel that I have a really strong connection with those things. Traditional Wiradjuri farming practices were about sustainability and looking after the land because we were custodians and never owners of the land. This is one of the important lessons that I've learned from my nan.

Wiradjuri country covers a great distance and we are all connected through our love of the land, the animals and the river systems, which are a big part of our country. Local people speak Wiradjuri every day without even realising it. The word for kookaburra is googaburra – it's a Wiradjuri word!

Bungambrewatha is the Wiradjuri word for Albury. It means to 'listen to the earth' and 'to hear.' We used to have earthquakes in the around here. They originated in the Alpine region, so we would regularly need to 'listen to the earth' to hear the tremors here in Albury.

The town of Urana, which is traditionally spelt Uurranna, means 'entry' while Mungabareena means 'meeting place.' We use some of the Southern Wiradjuri words here in Albury like garlu, for magpie; jirri jirri for willy wagtail. Then there's buuja buuja for butterfly, gywain for moon and waargan waargan for crow.

I learned some Wiradjuri language by listening to the elders. It's very important to always listen to your elders. They give you strength and direction and help you make meaning out of the things that are going on in your life. Our elders are awesome storytellers and this is a way that we've always been educated.

Language and respect of country is vital. Through education and community partnerships, we can share our love of our land and language with others.

The image of Nancy Rooke, above, was part of the Possum Skin Cloak project and Albury LibraryMuseum's 'Home / On Country' exhibition.

Sarah Rhodes, ABC Open Albury-Wodonga


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