FIGHT ING FOR THE PAST: Gidjabul women (from left) Delphine Charles and Melissa Chalmers are fighting to preserve the indigenous culture of the Allora and Warwick area, that pre-dates white settlement by tens of thousands of years.
FIGHT ING FOR THE PAST: Gidjabul women (from left) Delphine Charles and Melissa Chalmers are fighting to preserve the indigenous culture of the Allora and Warwick area, that pre-dates white settlement by tens of thousands of years. Michael Nolan

Call to preserve native languages as Allora turns 150

THOUSANDS of people packed into Allora at the weekend to celebrate 150 years since the town was founded.

But between the relics of the town's colonial past there was one group of people fighting to preserve a history much older than Allora's.

Melissa Chalmers and Delphine Charles are two of only a handful of Gidjabul people in the area.

They are the decadents of a culture that numbered more than 3000 in the 1840s, when Europeans moved in to the area.

"By the 1890s you would have been lucky to see a single member," Mrs Chalmers said.

"Most were killed or hunted off the land and forced into the Muli Muli mission at Woodenbong."

The women want to establish a language group to preserve their words.

They have reached out to Warwick kindergartens and primary schools to run language classes.

"Last year Delphine went to Warwick West State School to teach language," Mrs Chalmers said.

"I have put together some picture cards of animals with the English and Gidjabul name for Good Start Kindergarten and we looking to do something similar for Warwick Community Kindergarten."

Mrs Chalmers, however is concerned too much time has passed.

"I feel sad because we have lost so much, but we have managed to maintain some of our history, beliefs and practices," Mrs Chalmers said.

"It is about learning what we can and passing that onto our children."