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Indigenous australian artwork featuring many circles around a central large circle, with lines cutting across the space

July 4, 2022

Bagung, Yeagak, Keeya: Renaming library spaces in local language

This week is NAIDOC Week – an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  

Over the past few years, the library has collaborated on many projects to support Indigenous inclusion and an understanding of Indigenous knowledges and perspectives. We are learning through listening to and engaging with First Nations Australians, including our colleagues in the University and the library industry, as well as the communities on whose lands we work.  

One of the key ways libraries can be inclusive of Indigenous cultures is by incorporating local languages into their spaces, both digital and physical. Dr Spencer Lilley, a senior lecturer and specialist in Māori Knowledge at Massey University in New Zealand, put ‘use of indigenous languages’ as number one on the list of factors he considered when performing his study on how academic libraries were perceived through an indigenous lens (‘Through indigenous eyes: looking for indigenous services in Australian and New Zealand university libraries’, September 2019). 

Given the importance of incorporating Indigenous languages in our libraries, over the last few years we have been working to rename rooms at each campus in local language. In collaboration with the Office of Indigenous Strategy and Innovation, and local First Nations leaders, spaces across our Burwood, Waterfront and Waurn Ponds campuses are now identified with Woi-wurrung and Wadawarrung names that suit the purpose of each space. 

We’ve also developed pronunciation guides to help our university community learn how to correctly pronounce the names – a great chance to learn a little bit of local language this NAIDOC week.  

Burwood Campus room names and pronunciation guide 

Room Woi-wurrung name Meaning Pronunciation 
Honours and Masters room Yurleng Wilim Intelligence room Yoor-leng Will-im 
Scholars’ room Dhangula Yaila Higher learning Dung-gulla Yah-la 
Conference room Ngulu-bul Many voices New-loo bull 
Executive room Bagung Gather Bah-gunn 
Training room orange Yeagak Seek Yee-gak 
Training room glass Ngarrgu Knowledge Nah-goo 
Staff consultation room Loorende-gat Guidance Law-ren-dee-gat 
Student tea room Ngahna ba Ngala Sit and rest Nuh-guh ba Nah-la  

Waterfront Campus room names and pronunciation guide 

Room Wadawurrung name  Pronunciation  Meaning  
Study room Ngal  N’yahl  Quiet  
Training room Ngarrwa  N’yah-wah  Go and learn  

Waurn Ponds Campus room names and pronunciation guide 

Room Wadawurrung name Pronunciation Meaning 
Study room Nyanee  N’yay-nee  Think  
Consulting room Mun.gurre  Moon-guh-ree  Sit down  
Training room Karree  Car-ree  Tell  
Computer lab Yarrka  Yah-kuh  Search  
Group study room Getjawil  Get-chah-will  Many  
Meeting room Mok-borre nyal  Mock-bore-ree-n’yahl  Place of peace, quiet  
Study room Gupmaa   Do your work  
Group study room Woordee-a   Big place  
Assistive technology room Marna-a  Mar-nah  With my hand  
Consulting room Keeya  Key-yah  Ask  
Small meeting room Marren-korren  Mar-ren-core-ren  Small number/few  

Want to learn more about one of the oldest continuous living cultures on earth this NAIDOC Week? 

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