Sandra Delaney

Sandra Delaney is passionate about reviving her language.

Sandra Delaney, a proud Quandamooka woman, was behind the first speech performed in Aboriginal language by the Honourable Leeanne Enoch MP at Brisbane’s Parliament House. The speech was about the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2015, which was delivered on the 25 May 2016.

Sandra was contacted by the CEO of Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation to write a short speech in Jandai language for Minister Enoch. Sandra was asked to do the words for Minister Enoch about her connection to North Stradbroke and Moreton Island – Quandamooka country - on this occasion.

Here is an excerpt from the speech:

Nariba ngumbi Quandamooka nga malarajin baje galomajen
Quandamooka is my home and also my ancestors from long ago
Gooorijen Quandamooka ngali dada
Gooris from Quandamooka are strong people
Quandamooka jagan nga dada
Our country is also strong
Ngali jagijin marumba balga yari gana
So let us all welcome the good spirts here where we talk, think and understand

Jandai is the language spoken on Quandamooka country which encompasses North Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island, the bay islands and the coastal mainland opposite from the mouth of the Brisbane River to the Logan. Jandai is also part of the Yuggera language group.

As a child Sandra grew up speaking certain words of Jandai, even though it was forbidden to speak the language, and so she is passionate about reclaiming her language. Sandra says, ‘Like many Aboriginal people, we all know words and phrases but in my experience, Quandamooka people have always worked to incorporate language into all aspects of community life and organisations.

‘Working on constructing Aboriginal languages takes time and effort. It is not easy but you have to be dedicated and I enjoy sharing this information to those who are interested. I have gotten a lot of support and encouragement from my community to undertake this work so it is always about giving back.’

Sandra started working on language in the early 1990s with Kerry Charlton, Rosemary Bell and other community members to organise workshops on language. She also worked as part of a team with the Minjerribah Moorgumpin Elders in Council on the Jandai Dictionary so community can have a language resource.

Sandra feels privileged to be able to support language retrieval in whatever way she can – with local families, community and organisations and in the workplace.