Nick Thieberger and Rachel Nordlinger Gurrk


How does language evolve? And do the words we use define out identity?

Gurrk means blood in the Woi wurrung language of the Wurundjeri people, the traditional custodians of the land that is now part of Melbourne. The original inhabitants of Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, belonged to over 700 different nations. These groups spoke hundreds of different languages, making Australia one of the most linguistically diverse places on Earth. Fewer than 150 of these languages remain in regular use and all but a few are now considered endangered.

Originally produced by Norman Tindale in 1974, the Tindale Map is an attempt to represent the languages of the Aboriginal people of Australia. This interactive version allows you to explore the vast array of languages through one word, blood. The memetics (evolutionary transfer of cultural information) of human language can be visualised across Australia.

Digital map, 2017
Image: Tindale map; David Hobson, Damien Evans & Andrew Wilson

What do you bloody think?

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The Artist: Nick Thieberger and Rachel Nordlinger

Research Unit for Indigenous Language

Located within the School of Languages and Linguistics at The University of Melbourne, the Research Unit for Indigenous Language works with Indigenous communities across Australia and the region to expand and strengthen research into Indigenous languages, and to support efforts by communities to maintain their linguistic and cultural heritage. Our activities include linguistic research, training, and policy advice for industry and government.


The Social and Cultural Informatics Platform (SCIP) encourages opportunities, methodologies and innovation for digital scholarship led by researchers and facilitated by technology. The SCIP team and partner network support a broad range of researchers through consultations and by partnering on priority research projects. SCIP specialises in exploring and applying technology for research in Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Education. SCIP can also help researchers navigate the range of platforms and services provided by our partners, across the University, nationally and internationally.

Booking: Free Entry

27 July – 1 November
Science Gallery Melbourne
University of Melbourne - Building 189,
781 Swanston Street, Parkville

Frank Tate Building, University of Melbourne