Creating a ‘Word Zoo’ in Canberra
by Sarah Ogilvie
Every day for the past few months, the Sydney linguist Michael Walsh has been sitting in the Mitchell Library poring over old manuscripts. He is extracting old wordlists of Aboriginal languages from the library’s rich collection of early British settler diaries, missionary field notes, and unpublished historical documents for a project funded by the State Library of New South Wales and Rio Tinto. This week, Michael sent me twelve scanned pages of a leather-bound diary he discovered which belonged to Richard Tester, who had recorded his daily adventures in 1860, travelling overland from Kerkaraboo on the Wakefield River to Melbourne and the goldfields.