From Home to School in Multilingual Arnhem Land: The Development of Yirrkala School’s Bilingual Curriculum

  • Gemma Morales
  • Jill Vaughan
  • Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities book series (PSMLC)


This chapter presents a case study of Yirrkala School, a remote Indigenous school in the Northern Territory of Australia that has succeeded in maintaining its long-standing bilingual programme in spite of great pressure to move towards a mainstream, English-only model. Bilingual policy and education in the region is discussed, and the history and current realities of Yirrkala School itself are described. The chapter draws on a set of interviews conducted in 2015–16 with community members intimately involved with designing and implementing the local school curriculum, as well as on various community-based publications spanning several decades. These are used to articulate local perspectives on the role of language and culture in the classroom and the journey of two-way education in Yirrkala.


Yolŋu Matha Bilingual education policy Curriculum Two-way education Australia 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gemma Morales
    • 1
  • Jill Vaughan
    • 2
  • Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs
    • 3
  1. 1.University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Yirrkala Community SchoolYirrkalaAustralia

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