Borobi comes out of retirement to teach Indigenous languages


The loveable mascot of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will return to the spotlight as an animated Indigenous language champion.

Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones said Borobi would help the Gold Coast’s Yugambeh Museum teach primary school students in southeast Queensland about Indigenous languages.

“At the height of his career, images of Borobi were beamed into the homes of 1.5 billion sport fans around the world,” she said.

“This year, Borobi will retrain as a teacher and will share his extensive knowledge of Indigenous languages and culture with local primary school children.”

Assistant Tourism Industry Development Minister and Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said Borobi’s return to the workforce was a win for local students.

“Working with the Yugambeh community on the Gold Coast to promote the local Indigenous culture was a key priority of the Commonwealth Games. Giving Borobi a full-time job helps to ensure that legacy lives on in the future,” she said.

“This is a great legacy of the Commonwealth Games – to see Borobi promote Indigenous culture and language in the International Year of Indigenous Languages.”

With the agreement from the Commonwealth Games Federation, the Borobi character will be animated and incorporated in the Yugambeh Online Language program, which has been trialled in more than 18 schools and 36 early education centres in southeast Queensland since October 2018.

Yugambeh Museum Chief Executive Officer Rory O’Connor said the animated Borobi will feature on the online classroom teaching portal and may have broader applications in the future to help promote tourism and koala conservation.

“Borobi’s unrivalled recognition and appeal to younger Queenslanders has been proven. Now the Yugambeh Museum, with the support of the Queensland Government, will ensure his happy blue face is synonymous with language, storytelling and cultural revival,” he said.

“There used to be 250 Indigenous languages spoken in Australia, now 90 per cent are considered endangered. Borobi will be a great asset in keeping Indigenous Australian language alive.

“The potential for Borobi as a language ambassador is yet to be imagined. He may help to introduce and promote Indigenous language words in everyday situations, sharing stories and language to help make us all more aware of local language and stories.”

Commonwealth Games Australia President Ben Houston said Borobi’s involvement in the Yugambeh language program is a tremendous legacy of GC2018.

“We were delighted when Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin announced during the closing ceremony that Borobi would have a new job promoting Indigenous languages. It is great to see the Queensland Government getting behind the Yugambeh Museum in its important work, particularly during the International Year of Indigenous Languages,” he said.

Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones said the government’s Commonwealth Games Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was aimed at celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures.

“We were the first hosts in history to have a Reconciliation Action Plan,” she said.

“The GC2018 RAP will leave a lasting legacy in many ways by setting a benchmark for future host nations of the Commonwealth Games and by highlighting the important role First Nations peoples play in celebrating tradition and culture in our community.”

Mayor Tom Tate welcomed Borobi’s appointment as a champion for Indigenous language.

“This is one of the great legacy outcomes of the Games,’’ said Mayor Tom Tate.

“Knowing Borobi will be working with the Yugambeh Museum to promote indigenous language throughout south-east Queensland primary schools is fantastic.
“Thousands of visitors and locals get to see Borobi every day, with life-size statues spread along our coastline.

“To have him engage with students through this animated program means his legacy will live on for generations. I say to Borobi, Jingeri from everyone on the Gold Coast.’’
Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin DBE said she was happy to see Borobi back at work.

“Borobi was a massive success – capturing the hearts and minds of spectators and athletes at Games Time, as well as raising awareness and understanding of the traditional owners of the land on which the Games were held,” she said.

“Through the Reconciliation Action Plan, the Games went further than any other major multi-sport event to acknowledge, respect and support Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“We’re delighted to see Borobi back in action, continuing to support the Yugambeh Language Group as part of its ongoing educational work.”

The Yugambeh Online Language Program is available to South East Queensland primary schools on application to the Yugambeh Museum.

For members of the public, the Yugambeh Museum Language and Heritage Research Centre has developed a Yugambeh language app, which is available on iTunes.




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