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National Anthem sung in Ngunawal

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Date: 18 September 2017

There’s been some great media coverage of the historic moment when, for the first time, the Australian National Anthem was sung in Ngunawal (also spelt Ngunnawal) in Parliament House. 

Ngunawal elder and language custodian Tyronne Bell translated the verse into his traditional language with assistance from CoEDL Research Associate, Doug Marmion of AIATSIS.

Tyronne and Doug also tutored the Gondwana Children’s Choir ahead of their performance (top photo). The full story in The Canberra Times here contains a link to YouTube footage of the choir performing.

The traditional territory of the Ngunawal encompasses Canberra. Mr Bell previously helped Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull learn phrases in Ngunwal for his Closing the Gap speech in parliament in 2016. 

The Gondwana Indigenous Children's Choir often performs traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander songs. The Gondwana Choirs also regularly commission works. An example is  Boori Guman, to be premiered next month at the Sydney Opera House and composed by Owen Elsley in collaboration with Yidinji elder Gudju Gudju.

The Gondwana Children's Choir sing the Australian National Anthem in Ngunawal at Parliament House. Photo: Adam McGrath

Immediately above: The Gondwana Children's Choir sing the Australian National Anthem in Ngunawal at Parliament House. Photo: Adam McGrath

At top: The Gondwana Children's choir at rehearsal with Tyronne Bell and Doug Marmion. Photo: Bernie Heard

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University