Aunty Lee Healy was born at Alexandra, Victoria. Her family moved to Healesville in the 1960s, and she has been living there ever since. She is a proud Dhagung Wurrung elder, traditional weaver and cultural knowledge holder. Her country is Dhagung Wurrung (Taungurung), which is centred in the middle of Victoria.
Aunty Lee has worked as a hairdresser, a librarian, a bursar/bookkeeper, an office manager, an admin officer, and as a language specialist for over 25 years. She has worked in the training of linguistic tools for 11 years and is currently VACL’s Language Revival Specialist and Education Officer. Aunty Lee holds a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Anthropology with a specialisation in linguistics, and specifically in phonological reconstruction.
From 2007 until 2011, Aunty Lee compiled an analytical dictionary for the Dhagung Wurrung (Taungurung) community, which was launched in February 2012. The dictionary had a word list of about 200 words; Aunty Lee’s heart was telling her that Dhagung Wurrung were not speaking old ways because they all had an English mind set. Aunty Lee put it on herself to collect words from primary and secondary sources, and through those sources and her own Indigenous knowledge, embarked on a journey that took her four and half years to complete – reviving and reclaiming Dhagung Wurrung (Taungurung) language back to the community where it belongs.
Aunty Lee’s passion for languages has given her the great opportunity to work with communities and individuals who want to learn their own endangered languages. Reclamation and revitalisation of an endangered Indigenous language is a very powerful statement any language group can accomplish; take an oral tradition and turn it into a written statement so our languages can never be lost or taken from us again.