Music and language have come together as part of the revival of the South Coast Dhurga language and resulted in a new song being gifted to schoolchildren.
The Four Winds Koori Choir Djinma Yilaga recently presented the song, titled Ganbi, written in Dhurga by its members to the Indigenous Australian children at Bermagui Public School.
"I know each and every one of us know how important it is, not just for us, but for the kids as well to be able to learn our language again," Aboriginal creative producer for Four Winds as well as Djiringanj and Walbunja woman Cheryl Davison said.
"The dream is to have our kids speak fluently in their language again one day."
Ganbi was written as a response to the recent bushfires. It is one of four songs the choir's members wrote in Dhurga since the group was formed last year, with the words researched from multiple sources and supported by the recently-released Dhurga Dictionary and Learners Grammar.
"It's important for the wider community to understand Aboriginal culture is not in the past, it's happening now," Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung language activist working with the Yuin community Dr Lou Bennett, AM said.
The use of traditional language slowed after colonisation, as Dr Bennett said due to societal attitudes "our language basically had to be beaten out of us".
"For them to survive they had to leave their language," she said.
"For them to not be caught in chains, locked up, pushed off missions or separated from their families they had to stop speaking their language."
Dr Bennett said using songs was a good way to foster the learning of a language, as recalling the melody of a song featuring a new language made it easier to remember new words.
"Anyone that has a voice can sing. It doesn't matter what sounds you make it's about the feeling that comes from your spirit when you sing," the former member of acclaimed music trio Tiddas andco-founder of the Black Arm Band said.
"Languages are patterns. When we attach knowledge and comprehension to it, it all makes sense. Without the knowledge it's all sounds."
Ms Davison said it meant a lot to the choir's members to come together and "sing songs in the way our old people would have sung them".
"When we first came together we were singing old church hymns our people used to sing at funerals," she said.
"We'd sing songs they liked, like From Little Things Big Things Grow.
"With the songs now created I feel they are much more involved in the choir than they were before."
Dr Bennett said it was wonderful to see communities across the nation working to bring language back, and it was being done at a grassroots, community-driven level.
Ms Davison said the choir's four new songs were not the only songs written in Dhurga in modern times as other musicians had also been writing in language.
"What's really great about it is the Dhurga dictionary has just come out so people can write Dhurga songs in their own time," she said.
It is hoped the Indigenous Australian children from Bermagui Public can perform Ganbi at the Four Winds Youth Music Festival in November, while Djinma Yilaga will perform their other three songs written in Dhurga.