Wilam: A birrarung story by Aunty Joy Murphy and Andrew Kelly. Illustrated by Lisa Kennedy

Birrarung is wilam to many

Wilam means home in Woiwurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri clan and this stunning book brings to life many different words from this clan.

The setting is the Yarra River in Victoria, Australia as it is now and how there is still so much connection with country from the traditional owners.

As you flow through this story you will see the animals and plants who also make this urbanised area home in the small pockets of natural space, and how they have remained untouched or have been modified by white settlers.

Wilam: A birrarung story explores the life that teems within our cities and on the edges. It shows us the importance of living in harmony with the natural world and the respect we need to have to the indigenous owners, the animals and the native plants who still inhabit the area.

Readers will learn about the creator spirit, they will learn about the role humans play in ensuring animals and humans can live in harmony and the effect each and every thing has on the natural world.

Lisa Kennedy’s illustrations add so much more depth and conversation to the story with animals hidden in their homes, traditional patterns of art and the detail of wildflowers and plants.

It is wonderful to see more of these books becoming available for children so that they can start to learn and appreciate the fact that so many different languages were spoken in Australia and with collaboration over time we can speak them more frequently in our daily lives.


So what can you do?


Explore your local dialect and clan and create books and posters to share this language.

Look at the different words in this picture book and explore the meaning. Make posters or a mini dictionary to teach others the words.

Talk about the harmony we need to live in and explore what needs to change around you to ensure we can support the natural world.

Explore Walker books and the teacher notes supplied on their website.



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