Dr Hilary A Smith

DipTESL, MA (Applied Linguistics), PhD (Linguistics) Victoria University of Wellington, NZ
Honorary Affiliate
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Applied Linguistics And Educational Linguistics 200401
  • Language In Culture And Society (Sociolinguistics) 200405
  • Curriculum And Pedagogy 3901


Hilary Smith has an applied linguistics in education background, with over 30 years of teaching and researching in New Zealand and Australia, the South Pacific, and Southeast Asia. She has lived in Tonga, Papua Guinea, and Lao PDR, and has also worked in Indonesia, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands, Nepal, Thailand, and Timor-Leste. Hilary's academic focus is on education in multilingual and developing country contexts, with particular expertise in English language education, innovative methods for measuring attitudes, language policy, and the implementation of language revival. Since 2016 she has been supporting the language revival of the Gamilaraay language in New South Wales. Hilary also has a particular interest in organisational development and leadership of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and monitoring and development (M&E) for NGOs. She has had a long involvement with New Zealand's international volunteer sending organisation VSA (Te Tuao Tawahi Volunteer Service Abroad), including serving as national Chair for nine years, and is one of six life members. She is a past president of  TESOLANZ (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), and is the current President of ALANZ (Applied Linguistics in Aotearoa New Zealand - Ko te ropu rapu reo o Aotearoa: Kua ki te kete, he nui nga hua).


Researcher's projects

Yaama Gamilaraay! (2019-)

This project is for the trial of an early childhood program to support the revival of the Gamilaraay language. It will be developed and administered by the Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre, an Aboriginal-owned not-for-profit organisation based in Gunnedah, together with the Gunnedah Preschool.

The project is part of the New South Wales Government's Ninganah No More Fund. 



Nguu Gamilaraay (2021-2022)

Lead researcher in a project to develop ten books in Gamilaraay and English, linked to the school curriulum.

This project will be a collaboration by Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre with Gamilaraay educators/teachers and support workers, children and families, photographers and artists, to develop books in Gamilaraay and English. Based in Gunnedah, we will buildon our existing language reawakening program and a previous successful small pilot of earlyreader books, to co-design picture books which reflect local interests and traditions andstrengthen language and culture. It is planned that some stories will be totally bilingual,but more complex stories will be in English with Gamilaraay words, using a translanguaging approach. The books will be trialled and developed to print-ready stage, after which they willbe produced in hard copy and recorded and produced as e-books with audio and/or video.

Funded through New South Wales Aboriginal Languages Trust for New South Wales Government Aboriginal Affairs Community Investments Program.  


Gamilaraay Voices (2018-2021)

Lead researcher to develop an online resource of 12 videos and supporting booklet, aiming to provide a background to the Gamilaraay languag, through the perspectives of people living ‘on country’, i.e. on the traditional Gamilaraay lands in inland north-western New South Wales and southern Queensland in Australia. The interviews were carried out in conjunction with the Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre in Gunnedah, New South Wales.

Gamilaraay Voices is intended to support Gamilaraay people who are on their own journey to reclaim their language, as well as other Australians and those who would like to understand more about the background to the current use of Indigenous languages in Australia.

Project director: Carmel O'Shanessey.

Co-funded through the ANU Linkages for Learning and Teaching Grant (ANULLTG) scheme (2018): Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (COEDL): ANU School of  Literature, Languages and Linguistics: and Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre.



Develping a Model of Second Language Acquisition for Indigenous Language Revival in Eastern Australia (2017-2018)

Many Australian Indigenous communities are seeking to revive their traditional languages, and are gaining support from state Education Departments in this process. However, communities often have little access to research on second language acquisition, and they may have strong views on community ownership of languages, and community control of language programs.

This case study aims to investigate the experiences and expectations of a school language revival program. Through a partnership approach with Indigenous community members, this will increase our knowledge of the teaching and learning in Indigenous language revival programs, and how best they can be supported.

2016 Transdisciplinary and Innovation Grant, ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language http://www.dynamicsoflanguage.edu.au/






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Updated:  20 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers