Yolngu Studies

Yolngu Studies

Yolŋu Studies is the academic space where Yolŋu knowledge is shared and managed by Yolŋu.


Good morning

Guritjmitj walu marrtji galkithirra - Christmas time is coming close.

Before taking a break during the Christmas and New Year time, the Yolŋu Studies team would like to post information about the 2024 languages and culture program.

From next year, 6-week short course will be delivered by Yolŋu lecturer(s) for 2hrs every week on-campus(Tue)/online(Wed) + 1hr every week online(Fri) western linguistics session by a non-Indigenous language worker.

Introductory course 4 March - 19 April 2024 (8-12 April - one week break)
Internal mode: Tuesday (5-7pm @ Casuarina campus)
External mode: Wednesday (5-7pm blackboard collaborate)
Registration https://webpay.cdu.edu.au/YOLNGU-INTRO-0403-19042024
More information https://www.credly.com/org/charles-darwin-university/badge/introduction-to-yolngu-languages-and-culture

Intermediate course 22 April - 31 May 2024
Internal mode: Tuesday (5-7pm @ Casuarina campus)
External mode: Wednesday (5-7pm blackboard collaborate)
Registration https://webpay.cdu.edu.au/YOLNGU-INTERME-220431052024
More information https://www.credly.com/org/charles-darwin-university/badge/intermediate-learners-of-yolngu-languages-and-culture

For those who are keen to start with the Graduate Certificate of Yolŋu Studies, please follow this link https://www.cdu.edu.au/study/course/graduate-certificate-arts-uarts1 or contact [email protected].

Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

YS 08 8946 6278 | [email protected]


Good morning nhämirr nhuma

This new Djambarrpuyŋu Reference from Ŋurruyurrtjurr (Flinders Point) has been produced by Joy Bulkanhawuy and Dilipuma Dhamarrandji from Ŋurruyurrtjurr and Maratja Dhamarrandji from Garrata,

Special thanks go to Adam Guluŋgulk Waṉambi and Ben Ward for professional audio editing and mastering work, and Janelle Guyirkuyir for spelling checks.

Cover designed by David Djarrka.

It contains 482 example sentences in Ŋurruyurrtjurr Djambarrpuyŋu (audio files are downloadable with a QR code printed on the back cover of the Reference Book), an alphabetical list of kin terms, and some lists and paradigms for the study of grammar.

Last week we delivered several copies to the CDU bookshop https://bookshop.cdu.edu.au/products/9781922684646

Thank you bukmak



Gululu bukmak Yolŋu gurruṯumirri mala ga Balanda gurruṯumirri ga djämamirri, napurru dhu gurrupan dhäruk Birrinymal (Dr W. Gaykamaŋu)-walaŋawuy bäpurru.

[Dear Yolŋu families and Balanda families and colleagues, we are very sad to announce the passing of Birrinymal (Dr W. Gaykamaŋu) last week.]

Dr Gaykamaŋu was born on Milingimbi Island in the early 1950s. Her father was Djäwa, the leader of the Gaykamaŋu Gupapuyŋu people. She trained and worked as a teacher and was appointed as an Educational Consultant with the NT Department of Education in 1990.

In 1994, when the Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies was established at Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin University) the Dean established an advisory group of eight Yolŋu elders to oversee the establishment of a Yolŋu Studies Teaching Program. Birrinymal who was living in Darwin, helped to establish that group and was its Darwin representative. The Yolŋu Senior Advisers Group, which included three men and three women, and three elders from each moiety, and represented the communities and homeland centres of Milingimbi, Ramingining, Galiwin’ku, Gapuwiyak and Yirrkala, called for applications for the position of Yolŋu Lecturer. Birrinymal applied and was appointed in 1994 and continued to be actively involved in the program until late 2020.In the first years of her appointment Birrinymal worked with the course coordinator Michael Christie, then later with John Greatorex and Hayashi Yasunori to develop and deliver a suite of undergraduate and postgraduate coursework according to the specifications of the Yolŋu Senior Advisers.

Throughout the nearly 30 years of her involvement in Yolŋu Studies she taught many hundreds of students and was a Chief Investigator for a large number of research projects.

She was a regular Guest Lecturer for Anthropology and Linguistics students at CDU and the Batchelor institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education.

In 2005, Birrinymal and three others in the Yolŋu Studies team were awarded the Prime Minister’s Awards for University Teacher of the Year.

In 2007, Birrinymal and others involved in the Yolŋu consultancy group were awarded the Charles Darwin University’s Vice Chancellor’s Award for Exceptional Performance in Research.

In 2010, Birrinymal was awarded The Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council National Elder of the Year.

In 2014, Birrinymal was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Charles Darwin University.

A long term Darwin resident, Birrinymal was a key contact for hundreds of Yolŋu in remote communities concerned about their relations in hospital, the renal unit, and the justice system. Her community engagement stretched to work with many different language groups, as well as all levels of non-Indigenous society in Darwin.

Napurru ga buku-gurrupan Birrinymalgu djäma ŋunhi ŋayi ga guŋga’yurruna bawala’mirrinha Yolŋunha ga Balandanha. Birrinymal, butthurruna nhe djiwarrlilina.

[We sincerely appreciate Birrinymal’s work that supported many Yolŋu and Balanda people. Birrinymal, Rest in Peace.]

*Dr Gaykamaŋu's family gave permission for this image to be shared


CDU’s First Nations Diplomacy team and Law School have come together to deliver an exciting new program which aims to increase understanding of Treaties in the Northern Territory. These Treaty Making modules are designed for anyone who’s keen to learn:

1) Understanding Treaty - the role that treaties have played in Canada and New Zealand, and might play in relations between First Nations Peoples-places and non-Indigenous people in Australia;2) Indigenous and Other Sovereignties - the concept and history of sovereignty as people-place in relations between First Nations Peoples and non-Indigenous people;
3) Lawful Relations with Indigenous Peoples - the concept and history of lawful relations between First Nations Peoples and non-Indigenous people; and
4) Recognition, Reconciliation, Refusal - the interlinked concepts and practices of First Nations recognition, reconciliation and refusal.

For more information including cost and registration, please visit https://bit.ly/FNSDC-courses

Contact - Intensive course team | 08 8946 6278


Nhämi bukmak (how are you all)?
Dhaŋu yän Wangurrimurru (this is in Wangurri language)

This Wangurri Reference Book has been produced by Miriam Y Dhurrkay, Joanne D Dhurrkay, and Galathi Dhurrkay with John Greatorex.

Several copies are available at CDU bookshop https://bookshop.cdu.edu.au/products/9781925167375

Yow ŋuwakurru marimi djutjdjutjna

Galathi Dhurrkay


Indigenous Women's Diplomacy Panel Session

Date: 20 July 2023
Time: 1.15pm - 3.30pm
Location: CDU Casuarina campus, Blue2A and sanded ceremonial space

This event is a part of the Indigenous Diplomacy intensive workshop (17-20 July 2023). As a finale to the workshop, Elders from various Indigenous communities will host a public seminar. This is open to anyone interested in learning and taking seriously, the profound knowledge and insights of Indigenous Diplomacy.

At this seminar, Mawng people of Warruwi (South Goulburn Island in the Northern Territory) will invite all attendees to Mamurrng, a Mawng diplomacy ceremony celebrating the meeting of people and places. This ceremonial performance will be followed by a panel discussion with senior women, Dr Matilda Williams-House (Ngambri), Leilani Bin-Juda PSM (Torres Strait Islands), Joy Bulkanhawuy (Yolngu), Jenny Manmurulu (Mawng), and Falemalu Malua (Tuvalu) who are leaders in Indigenous diplomacy across local, national and/or international settings.

For more information, please visit https://www.cdu.edu.au/.../indigenous-womens-diplomacy-panel



Hello everyone

Both introductory and intermediate 6-week courses in learning Yolŋu languages and culture are available, with the following details:

Introductory course 10 July – 25 August 2023
Internal mode: Tuesday (4-6pm @ Casuarina campus)
External mode: Wednesday (5-7pm blackboard collaborate)
Learning program: https://learnline.cdu.edu.au/yolngustudies/EarningCriteriaIntroductoryS22023.png
Registration https://webpay.cdu.edu.au/ILOYLAC100723

Intermediate course 28 August – 6 October 2023
Internal mode: Tuesday (4-6pm @ Casuarina campus)
External mode: Wednesday (5-7pm blackboard collaborate)
Learning program: https://learnline.cdu.edu.au/yolngustudies/EarningCriteriaIntermediateS22023.png
Registration https://webpay.cdu.edu.au/ILOYLAC280823

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Yolŋu Studies program at Charles Darwin University.


YS 0889466278 | [email protected]


Good morning everyone

Here is a DRAFT program for the upcoming Indigenous Diplomacy Workshop (17-20 July 2023).https://learnline.cdu.edu.au/yolngustudies/DRAFT%20PROGRAM_IndigenousDiplomacyWorkshop_July_2023.pdf

For more information, please visit https://webpay.cdu.edu.au/IDIW170723



Indigenous Diplomacy 4-day workshop
Dates: 17-20 July 2023
Venue: Charles Darwin University, Casuarina campus

Dhuwal workshop bukmakku limurruŋ Yolŋuw ga Balandaw. Ga limurr dhu marŋgithirr rrambaŋi dhiyakiyi yäkuw workshop-ku yurru Diplomacy-w. Yolŋu walal ga marrtji beŋur Torres Strait-ŋur, Canberra-ŋur, South Goulburn Island-ŋur, Larrakia-ŋur ga beŋur East Arnhem Land-ŋur. Napurr dhu nhumalaŋgal melkum Yolŋuw dhukarr ga limurr dhu maḻŋ’maram rrambaŋin dhukarrnydja ga melgurrupan märrma’lil world-lil ga rrambaŋi djäma guŋga’yunamirr bawala’mirriŋur.

This workshop is for everyone, First Nations people and non-Indigenous people. All of us learn together about Diplomacy. First Nations people from the Torres Strait Islands, Canberra, South Goulburn Island, Larrakia, and East Arnhem Land will come to deliver the workshop. We will show you First Nations ways so that we, Yolŋu and Balanda find ways in which two different worlds - First Nations people and non-Indigenous people - work and help each other in many places.

For more information, please visit https://webpay.cdu.edu.au/IDIW170723

Thank you,

First Nations Sovereignty and Diplomacy Centre: Language and Culture Study

Attached image - courtesy of Merri Creek Productions


Good morning bukmak (everyone)

The Yolŋu Studies micro badge course, also known as 6-week short course information is now ready.

Introductory level (6 March - 21 April)
Learning contents https://learnline.cdu.edu.au/yolngustudies/EarningCriteriaIntroductoryYS2022.png
Registration - https://webpay.cdu.edu.au/YolgnuIntro2023

Intermediate level (24 April - 2 June)
Learning contents https://learnline.cdu.edu.au/yolngustudies/EarningCriteriaIntermediateYS2022.png
Registration - https://webpay.cdu.edu.au/YolgnuIntermediate2023

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us directly on [email protected] or 08 8946 6278.


Yolŋu Studies


Manymak yuṯa dhuŋgarra bukmakku limurruŋgu (Happy New year for everyone).

The Yolŋu Studies at CDU offers languages and culture learning program at both postgraduate and undergraduate levels.

Semester 1 starts on the 6th of March.

Postgraduate course for people with a recognised bachelor degree
The course details, including tuition fee can be found here https://www.cdu.edu.au/study/course/graduate-certificate-arts-uarts1

Undergraduate course - Diploma of Arts and Bachelor of Arts

6-weeks short course information will be posted in a few weeks time (we are still sorting out a few things...)

Embodied skills - ŋurru djambatj (skillful nose), buthuru djambatj (skillful ears), mel djambatj (skillful eye), goŋ djambatj (skillful hand)


Yolŋu Studies
[email protected]
08 8946 6278

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