Cassy Nancarrow

Photo Cassy Nancarrow

Cassy Nancarrow


Areas of expertise:

Education, General Linguistics, Performance Studies

Research interests:

Australian languages of North Queensland, Aboriginal languages in Education, Language and song revival and maintenance.


Cassy initially studied undergraduate Linguistics and Performance Studies at the University of Sydney before making her home in North Queensland. She then worked with Lardil people on Mornington Island to coordinate the teaching of Lardil language in the local school and to work with songmen to research and revive traditional song culture. This was followed by work in Doomadgee compiling a dictionary and other resources for Ganggalida language. Meanwhile, Cassy also studied Education at James Cook University in Townsville and grew her experience as a Primary classroom teacher whilst continuing to work with of local Aboriginal language groups on community language research and revival projects. At JCU, Cassy has co-developed the subjects ED3443 Teaching English to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students and ED5981 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Classrooms and Communities and is currently teaching AN2009 Anthropological Linguistics. Since 2009 Cassy has also held roles within the Queensland Department of Education working with teachers who have Indigenous EAL/D learners as well as providing curriculum support to schools teaching Aboriginal languages, including Yarrabah (Yidiny and Gunggay) and Aurukun (Wik-Mungkan). She has a strong commitment to the support of all people's rights to quality education and access to cultural and linguistic heritage.

Current Research Projects:

  • Language reconstruction and reclamation with Ewamian people of the Mt Surprise area of North Queensland.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the Wik-Mungkan P-2 language curriculum at Aurukun State School.

  • JCU Sessional Staff Award for outstanding contribution to teaching and learning - 2013

  • AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies), since 2017
  • Queensland College of Teachers (registration no. 803871), since 2004
  • Australian Linguistics Society, since 1998
  • 2017 'Finding laka for burdal: song revitalization at Mornington Island over the past forty years' in Recycling songs: maintenance and revitalisation of ancestral song traditions in Indigenous Australia, Asia-Pacific Linguistics. Co-authored with Peter Cleary.
  • 2014 Gangalidda Dictionary. Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation.
  • 2012 Evaluation of the suitability of Language Leaders course content for informing teachers of Indigenous ESL learners. Report commissioned by the FNQ Indigenous Schooling Support Unit, Cairns.
  • 2011 (ed) Ngirrma Djabugay: A Djabugay Language Dictionary (by Michael Quinn). Djabugay Tribal Aboriginal Corporation, Kuranda.
  • 2009 'What's That Song About?: Interaction of form and meaning in Lardil burdal songs', in Australian Journal of Linguistics, Volume 29, Issue 2.
  • 2006 (ed) Mitakoodi Bush Tucker (by Margaret Ah Sam). Black Ink Press, Townsville.
  • 2006 (ed) Gudjal Language Pocket Dictionary. Black Ink Press, Townsville.