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Laurie Baymarrwangga, 2012 Senior Australian of the Year, was born nearly a hundred years ago on Murrungga, largest of the outer Crocodile Islands. For the last twenty years, she has been working on a trilingual atlas and dictionary for children.

This 600 page reference documents the natural, historical and cultural knowledge of the region in full colour. The book includes the remarkable photographs of Donald Thomson (1937), W. Lloyd Warner (1929) and Sir Hubert Wilkins (1925). A companion bilingual education resource for Yolngu-speaking children in homelands schools across north-east Arnhem Land will be made available for free, as a gift from Laurie to the children because it is their ancestral inheritance.

The atlas is written in three languages: English, Yan-nhangu and Yolngu matha, the regional Indigenous language of some 7000 speakers. The book recognises and reinforces the right to bilingual education, and Baymarrwangga, who continues to give life to her own language, champions appropriate education as key to maintaining Indigenous culture and identity.

Before 1993, there were only 300 Yan-nhangu words recorded, but now there are more than 4000. These words reflect generations of intimate coexistence with the environment. Baymarrwangga wants to give this atlas to the children of North east Arnhem Land but her time is running out and at 97 she needs help to raise the money to print and distribute it.

Donations to the Yan-nhangu Atlas and Illustrated Dictionary of the Crocodile Islands are tax deductible.

Some Of My Previous Work

A video from 'Australian of the Year Awards' about Baymarrwangga and some of her work:

A preview for a documentary about Baymarrwangga's life and struggle:

A look at the Crocodile Island Ranger (CIR) Program - conceived, started and paid for by Laurie Baymarrwangga. The CIR was awarded the Chief Minister's Award for the most successful Ranger Program in the Northern Territory (2012):

How The Funds Will Be Used

The Atlas is ready to be printed, however, there are still many expenses to be covered. The budget breakdown from this point on is as follows:

- Printing and reproduction: $40,000
- Transport, storage and distribution (from Singapore to N. E. Arnhem Land): $10,000
- Travel costs and accommodation for key, senior people to hand over and explain the project and its significance to the children of fifty homelands, six community schools, and four ranger groups (over a 7-10 week period): $10,000
- Post for selected libraries and universities internationally and in Australia for archiving: $5,000

The total required is $65 000. We realise that this is a big ask within the Pozible framework so we are only asking for a fraction this cost, $15 000, to finish printing and reproduction.

The Challenges

The nature of this project is such that it has been difficult to attract funding, for this reason:

Laurie Baymarrwangga, one of the last speakers of Yan-nhangu, has explicitly instructed that the atlas shall not be put on the market for sale. The value of the atlas is as an educational tool and resource for the children of the remote Homelands in north-east Arnhem Land, in the vacuum created by the government abolition of bilingual education. It is part of their cultural inheritance. Rather than a product for the market we are asking for your help to distribute this resource to the children and schools of north-east Arnhem Land.

A short video documenting the distribution of the atlas will be made and put online in late 2014.
on 13th Mar 2014 at 8:24am. The payment portal is closed now.
A$100 +A thank-you letter portrait card from Laurie Baymarrwangga. (Portrait by Gillian Warden.)
28 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is August 2014
A$500 +A thank you letter from Laurie Baymarrwangga and two high-quality posters illustrating some of the content of the altas.
4 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is August 2014
A$1000 +A copy of the Yan-nhangu Atlas signed by Laurie Baymarrwangga.
5 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is August 2014