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Austrians Ancient Language Goes All the Way Back to 130 Years Ago

By: Jenny Liang

Australia is the home to more than 250 spoken languages plus 800 dialects. Australia has one of its linguistic cornerstones that wasn't spoken but carved on sticks and wood that are known as message sticks.

Message sticks are flat rounded and oblong pieces of wood etched with ornate images on both sides of the message stick that conveyed important messages and held the stories of the information about the Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal people are considered the oldest and living culture. Message sticks are believed that it could be thousands of years old and were typically carried by messengers over long distances to reinforce oral histories or deliver news between Aboriginal nations or language groups.

The motifs imprinted on each stick could signify news, war, death, peace, marriage, and many other things that is unknown to us. For people like oral historian Dr Lorina Barker, a descendant of the Wang kumara and Muruwari Indigenous people of Australia, these message sticks carry a meaningful connection to their roots.

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