Our Team

Our Team

MDWg is made up of a dedicated team of Language Workers, linguists, Elders, consultants, admin and management staff. We work in a multicultural environment and aim to increase the use of Miriwoong language wherever possible.

Scroll down to read a brief bio of the people that make up MDWg:


Management and Board

DAVID NEWRY- Director

DAVID NEWRY has played a crucial role in establishing the work of Mirima Council since the 1990s and was the chair of the organisation for over two decades. He was instrumental in developing the work of the Kimberley Interpreting Service (Now AIWA) in 2000, after initiating a feasibility study regarding the need for interpreting in the health and justice sectors. David also helped found a range of further Aboriginal organisations now operating successfully in Kununurra. He is the Senior Language and Culture Consultant and main presenter of the cultural awareness program at MDWg. Among his many achievements in working with the Language Centre, David was a key figure in developing the Miriwoong Seasonal Calendar. This resource links Miriwoong language and culture with the land of past, present and future generations. In recognition of his skills as a language and cultural mentor for the community, he was recognised for his Outstanding Individual Contribution to Arts and Culture by the East Kimberley Aboriginal Achievement Awards in 2011.

AGNES ARMSTRONG – Elder & Language and Culture Consultant

AGNES ARMSTRONG is a renowned artist with the Waringarri Arts Centre as well as a major contributor to many of MDWg’s activities. She supports Miriwoong language revitalisation by functioning as a language consultant, attending field trips and conducting welcome addresses.

KNUT J. “KJ” OLAWSKY- CEO & Senior Linguist

KJ OLAWSKY has been the Senior Linguist and Manager at the MDWg since 2005. He works with the Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people to preserve and revitalise their traditional languages and cultures. Operating in close partnership with a governing committee of traditional Elders, Knut has initiated a range of strategies for Miriwoong language revitalisation, some of which have been highly innovative for Australia. His efforts in helping to maintain and revitalise the Miriwoong language include initiatives such as the start of a Master-Apprentice program, Miriwoong Language Nest and other activities. In his role as a linguist, Knut has published grammars of Indigenous languages from Ghana and Peru. He is currently working with team members to describe the grammar of Miriwoong. Knut holds an MA and a PhD from Duesseldorf University (Germany) and has previously held postdoctoral positions at the University of California at Berkeley (USA) and the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology (La Trobe University, Melbourne).

ANNIE CUMBERLEGE – Office Management

ANNIE CUMBERLEGE has a great interest in languages, particularly in the way it intersects and interacts with culture, anthropology, literature, history, psychology and questions of identity. She loves people, and she is keen to see them reach their potential and support them along the way. With a BA (Linguistics, Literature) from the University of Melbourne, and a Diploma of Communication from ASCA, she hopes to support the Miriwoong people in their efforts to revitalise their language and culture by assisting the Board and staff of MDWg in the day-to-day running of the Language Centre.

Mirima Operations Support Officer


The Language Team


Interns and Volunteers for 2023