Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kamilaroi Entry Page

This is one of a number of entry pages established to provide a central point for posts and references dealing with specific Aboriginal language groups within New England. You can find a list of all the entry pages here.

The Kamilaroi, also known as the Gamilaroi or Gamilaraay were a large and powerful language group occuping territory extending from as far south as Murrurundi on the Great Dividing Range, to Tamworth, Narrabri, Moree, Boggabilla, Mungindi, Collarenebri, Walgett and Gunnedah into what is now Southern Queensland. Sub-groups are recorded as including the Kwiambal, Weraerai, Jukambal, Pigambul/Bigambul and Coonbri. See New England's Aboriginal Languages for a map.

There is a degree of confusion about the meaning of the language. The on-line Gamilaraay dictionary states:

The name Gamilaraay consists of two parts: gamil meaning 'no' and araay meaning 'having', that is 'the people who have gamil for no'. This method of naming people after their word for 'no' is widespread throughout New South Wales and Victoria; for example, the western neighbours of the Gamilaraay, the Yuwaalaraay, say waal for 'no'.

By contrast, the Northern Regional Libary based at Moree suggests that name comes from the word Kamil or Kumil meaning main soul.

The Library site also records on language:

Some languages are very similar when the boundaries are close. For example, the Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay language have similar words because the boundaries defining their land were very close. After settlement Aboriginal people were instructed not to speak their own language, they were forced to learn and speak English, and their language was suppressed for many years.

Today, Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay language programs have been introduced into schools to re-introduce and learn the language to Aboriginal children. Children from throughout the North West at Walgett, Boggabilla and Goodooga are now learning their language.

Kamilaroi Posts

3 November 2006, New England Australia - Introducing Mining. Includes material on the Moore Creek Axe factory that supplied stone tools across Kamilaroi lands.

21 June 2007, Gambu Ganuurru, or Cumbo Gunnerah of the Gunn-e-darr tribe. Information about a Kamilaroi leader who pre-dated Euopean colonisation.

12 August 2008, New England's Kamilaroi people - web search August 08.

17 December 2008, New England's Aborigines - The work of Professor Peter Austin on linguistics contains links through to the history of research into the Kamilaroi language. Professor Austin's work also provides details on Australian indigenous languages that sets a helpful context for thought about the New England scene.

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