Aboriginal Australia

Macro-Pama-Nyungan_languages.png

The divisions on the map represent the major Indigenous Australian languages. The majority of them, in the yellow area, belong to the Pama–Nyungan language family (wiki).

Western Australia, from south to north:
Noongar – South West, from south of Geraldton to east of Esperance
Ngadjunmaya  – Kalgoorlie and out along the Bight
Yamaji – Geraldton, Carnarvon and inland (Murchison and Gascoyne Rivers)
Ngayarda – Roebourne and inland (Ashburton and Fortescue Rivers)
Marrngu – Port Hedland to Broome
Walmajarri – Northern Great Sandy Desert to Fitzroy Crossing
Western Desert Group, the large area in the central west of the map:
Wangkatja – Kalgoorlie, Eastern Goldfields
Ngaatjatjarra – around the WA, NT and SA borders
Martu – around Newman, Jigalong, Great Sandy Desert
Kimberley (more here):
Nyulnyulan – Broome to Derby
Worrorran – Derby to Wyndham
Jarrakan – Wyndham to the NT border and down towards Halls Creek
Bunuban – around Fitzroy Crossing

For a more detailed overview of Indigenous language sub-groups or dialects see:
AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia (here).
Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre (here)


30 June 2017. Uluru Statement from the Heart

We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from
all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. (continued here)
Final Report of the Referendum Council (here)

To access what I have posted about Indigenous Australia the sidebar (which is beneath the post on mobiles) contains ‘Aboriginal’ as both a category and a tag. In general, the former discusses works by Indigenous Australians and the latter, works about Indigenous Australians by white authors.

For a comprehensive reading list see ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List (here). Indig.Lit. books I’ve reviewed are listed below.


06 July 2017. University of Newcastle has produced a map of currently known sites of Aboriginal massacres 1788-1872. Introduction (here). Map (here).

27 July 2018. Stage 2, Massacres up to 1930 – not including WA (here). Map (here)

My posts:
The ‘Battle’ of Pinjarra, Pinjarra WA, 1834 (here)
Wardandi Massacre, Wonnerup/Lake Mininup WA, 1841 (here)
Cocanarup (Kukenarup) Massacre, Cocanarup Station, Ravensthorpe WA, 1880s (here)

Kim Scott (here) covers the Cocanarup Massacre in Benang, Kayang & Me and Taboo (and he supplied the newspaper reports I wrote up in my post)

Rosa Praed’s experience of the 1857 Hornet Bank Massacre (of whites) in central Qld and the subsequent reprisals which led to as many as 300 police-sanctioned Aboriginal deaths is central to her novel Lady Bridget in the Never Never Land (here)

Other massacres which have come up in the course of my reading/reviewing are the 1816 Appin Massacre of Gandagarra in the Blue Mountains, NSW (here); killings of Wiradjuri around Wagga, NSW in the 1870s (here); the Black Line, Tasmania, 1820s (here). J.J.Healy, in Literature and The Aborigine in Australia discusses white Australia’s failure to acknowledge the many massacres in our history (here).


22 Sept. 2016. A new study, published in Nature, reveals Papuan and Aboriginal ancestors left Africa around 72,000 years ago and then split from the main group around 58,000 years ago. They reached the supercontinent of ‘Sahul’ that originally united Tasmania, Australia and New Guinea around 50,000 years ago, picking up the DNA of Neanderthals, Denisovans and another extinct hominin along the way. Papuans and Aboriginals then split around 37,000 years ago, long before the continents were finally cut off from each other around 8,000 years ago. (Full story here).


15 March 2017. Patterns of Aboriginal migration and settlement revealed by DNA study (here)


Indig.Lit. Reviews

Larisa Behrendt, Finding Eliza, 2016 (here)
Ngarta Jinny Bent, Jukuna Mona Chuguna, Eirlys Richards, Pat Lowe, Two Sisters, 2016 (here)
Claire G. Coleman, Terra Nullius, 2017 (here)
Jack Davis, No Sugar, 1986 (here)
Jack Davis, A Boy’s Life, 1991 (here)
Lizzie Marrkilyi Ellis, Pictures from my Memory, 2016 (here)
Ruby Langford Ginibi, Don’t Take Your Love to Town, 1988 (here)
Charmaine Papertalk Green & John Kinsella, False Claims of Colonial Thieves, 2018 (here)
Anita Heiss, Dhuuluu-Yala: To Talk Straight, 2003 (here)
Colin Johnson (Mudrooroo), Wild Cat Falling, 1965 (here)
Marie Munkara, A Most Peculiar Act, 2014 (here)
Alice Nannup, When the Pelican Laughed, 1992 (here)
Doris Pilkington Garimara, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, 1996 (here)
Kim Scott, True Country, 1993 (here)
Kim Scott, Benang, 1999 (here)
Kim Scott, Kayang and Me, 2005 (here)
Kim Scott, That Deadman Dance, 2010 (here)
Kim Scott, Taboo, 2017 (here)
Ellen van Neerven, Heat and Light, 2014 (here)
Alison Whittaker, Blakwork, 2018 (here)
Alexis Wright, Carpentaria, 2006 (here)
Alexis Wright, The Swan Book, 2013 (here)
Alexis Wright, Tracker Tilmouth on … (here)
Alexis Wright, Tracker, 2017 (here)


Waipuldanya/Phillip Roberts: as told to Douglas Lockwood, I, the Aboriginal, 1962 (here)
Fanny Balbuk Yooreel, 1840-1907 (here)
“It’s Still in my Heart, this is my Country”: The Single Noongar Claim History (here)