Gudang References and Archival Resources

“In the northernmost area of the Peninsula, people clearly used both Aboriginal and Islander languages, and sometimes mixed them. There is reference to such mixing in Brierly’s diaries (Moore 1979: 81-82):

‘[Baki] speaks both languages, that of Morolag – the kowra- and the
goodangarkigie [Gudang; garkigie means people] of the Cape York Blacks, and frequently mixed the two languages together in the same sentence.’” p96

“As long as the Gudang were camped close to the settlement, the Yadhaykenu were unlikely to attack them. When the Yadhaykenu did carry out a raid on them, they chose a time when the Gudang were camped on Albany Island and out of range of the Europeans’ protection. Mullins (1989: 127) speculates that if the two groups had joined forces they might have been able to overpower the small European party. The traditional hostilities between the Yadhaykenu and the Gudang, however, seem to have ruled out this possibility, it seems that it was easier for the Gudang to ally themselves with the Europeans than with the Yadhaykenu.”

“The demise of groups such as the Gudang, and perhaps also some inland groups, was so rapid that the break in language transmission was complete within one generation.”

“In the early days of the settlement, people continued to use their own languages. Elderly people today, who grew up in the 1920s and 1930s, remember their parents and grandparents using traditional languages, and remember, too, that these older people were not always very proficient in either Creole or English. The main languages used in the early settlement days were thus Anggamuthi and Yadhaykenu, and, from around 1929, Atambaya.

The factors which were to render these languages ‘non-viable’ – that is, to induce their speakers not to pass them on to their children – were more subtle than the sudden decrease in population and dispersal of people which had brought about the demise of the Gudang and Wuthathi varieties, and perhaps other NCYP language varieties too.”

“Of the Gudang, the original inhabitants of the Somerset area, very few remained, or at least identified themselves as such. After a visit to Injinoo in the early 1920s, the naturalist Wilkins (1928: 125) wrote:
‘Only two members of the Somerset tribe of blacks are now alive, and with the passing of these and the few natives of Prince of Wales Islands
still living will end the tribes which gave such trouble to those hardy pioneers, the Jardines, who struggled for so long against two of the most
cruel and warlike tribes in Australia’” p. 159

Helen Harper. 2001. The gun and the trousers spoke English: Language shift on Northern Cape York Peninsula. (Doctoral dissertation, University of Queensland; 380pp.)