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2.2 What was said at Waalumbaal Birri (Endeavour River) in 1770?

<p>A page from Joseph Banks’ <em>Endeavour</em> journal, August 1770</p>

State Library of New South Wales, IE1566678

<p>A page from Joseph Banks’ <em>Endeavour</em> journal, August 1770</p>

Aboriginal languages were completely new to the European visitors, and vice versa. During the 48 days that the Endeavour crew spent at Waalumbaal Birri (Endeavour River) fixing a hole in the ship, Guugu Yimdhirr people watched them carefully. We know the visitors and the local people tried to communicate with each other.

1. Communicate the following to a partner using only mime and signs.

Food Hungry Danger Go away Shoot
Mine Us Kick Eat Tree
Water Drink White Sun Sky
Friend Captain Family Wait Run

Actions, objects, descriptions and ideas can be difficult to communicate without using a common language. Some of Cook’s crew recorded Aboriginal words, and the languages were very different to English. They used English letters to write the words they heard.


2. Now think about communicating through simple diagrams and drawings. Pick four of the words from the table above and try to represent them in a picture or simple diagram on a piece of paper. Make sure you don’t write your words down!


3. Show one of your pictures or diagrams to a classmate. Can they tell which word you’ve tried to communicate? Now see if you can work out one of theirs.

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