Arts & health: Wiradjuri signage program expands

Filed : ABORIGINAL ARTS, ARTS & HEALTH, In Hospitals, Lachlan Health Service Culture & Arts Program, PAST PROJECTS .

The award winning Wiradjuri language signage at Parkes and Forbes hospitals will now be rolled out to other hospitals in inland NSW, in local Aboriginal languages. 

Mali Marambir Ngurang: to make better place Lachlan was a project of the Lachlan Health Service Culture and Arts Program, coordinated by Arts OutWest at Parkes and Forbes hospitals.

The project involves key directional signage around the hospitals written in English beside the Wiradjuri interpretation, which is then translated back into English. The project aimed to make the hospital spaces more inviting, less daunting for Aboriginal people.


More than 20 key places in the hospitals have bilingual interpretation. For example: Ngaagigu Mulunma, (to see inside) is used alongside signage for ‘medical imaging’; Ngurang Mindyali (to be fixed fast) are the words for ‘operating theatre’. Waluwin Ngaan (‘healthy mouth’) points the way to ‘oral health’; and Wambuwanbunmaldhaany (medicine maker) points to the pharmacist.

An Aboriginal Signage Strategy (2016-2019) has now been adopted by Western NSW Local Health District and the signage will be rolled out at hospitals right across that health region, in local Aboriginal languages . This vision was launched at Parkes Hospital on March 17, 2017.

Western NSW Local Health chief executive Scott McLachlan with Uncle Stan Grant Snr at the launch of the Aboriginal Signage and Artwork Program in Parkes on March 17, 2017.

An number of local Wiradjuri Elders worked closely with Dr Stan Grant, co-author of the Wiradjuri dictionary, to ensure the words were correct and close to their English meaning.

LISTEN: David Acheson, Wiradjuri man and member of the Lachlan Health Service Culture and Arts working party speaks the words from the bilingual signage now in place at Parkes and Forbes hospitals. Listen below.


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