C26: Gudanji

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Ngandji (valid alternative), Kutandji, Kudandji, Gudanji, Koodanjee, Gundangee, Godangee, Koodangie, Kutanjtjii (of Iliaura. fide Yallop), Kudenji, Nganji, Ngangi, Nandi, Gnanji (false transcription), Angee (tone deaf to initial ng), Anga, Kakaringa (of Tjingili, means 'easterners').
O'Grady et al (1966)
Other sources
Gudanji, Gudandji, Godangee [<ozbib>Top End Handbook$7745</ozbib>] Kooringee (Staionmaster 1895), Koodangie (Mathews 1900), Godangee (Basedow 1907), Goodanji (Hale 1960), Gudandji (Capell 1963, Aguas 1968, Chadwick 1971, Blake 1990), Kutandji (O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin 1966), Kotandji (Tindale 1974) and Kutanji (Avery 1990) [<ozbib>Nordlinger 1998:6$4377</ozbib>] Godangee (Power) [<ozbib>Basedow 1907$7584</ozbib>] Kudanji [Papulu Apparr-Kari Aboriginal Corporation]
Gudandji, Ngandji, Gurdanji, Kotandji, Kurdanji, Kotandji; Anga, Angee, Gnanji, Godangee, Gundangee, Kakaringa, Koodangie, Koodanjee, Kudanji, Kudenji, Kutandji, Kutanjtjii, Kutandji; Anjee, Goarango, Goodanji, Gurandji, Koodanjie, Kuarandji, Kurandji, Kutanji; Gudandji, Kutanji, Gurdanydji, Gurdanydja; Kotandji, Anga, Anjee, Garindjari, Gudendji, Gurdandji, Gurendji, Kauarindarri, Kauarndhari, Kawarandari, Kawarandjari, Kawarindjara, Kawarindjari, Kudandji, Kudandyi, Kurtanji, Kwarandji, Nandi, Ngangi, Nganji

Gudanji (C26) is one of three dialects including Binbinka N138 and Wambaya C19 of the Wambayan language group, which belongs to the Ngurlun sub-group in the Mirndi language family of non-Pama Nyungan languages (Harvey, 2008:1-3). Harvey says Gudanji (C26) is extremely endangered (2008:4).

The Mirndi language family consists of two geographically non-contiguous groups on the Barkly Tableland in the Northern Territory: Western Mirndi, with two languages 'Jaminjungan' (see Jaminjung N18 and Ngaliwurru N19) and Nungali N28; and Eastern Mirndi, with three languages, Jingulu C22, Ngarnka N121 and the Wambayan language group. The Wambayan language group and Ngarnka (N121) are in turn two languages which form a genetic group that Harvey calls 'Ngurlun' (Harvey, 2008:1-3).

Earlier writers call Wambayan the 'McArthur language', after the river which forms part of the territories affiliated with Gudanji, Binbinka and Wambaya (Nordlinger 1998:5 and Chadwick 1989:1-2). Nordlinger's description of these two non-contiguous but related language groups is similar: the first consisting of Jaminjung N18, Naliwuru N19 and Nungali N28 located in the geographic west and the second in the geographic east the 'West Barkly' set consisting of Jingili C22 along with the 'Eastern Group' of Ngarnga N121 and the McArthur language (see above) (1998:4).


  • Chadwick, Neil. 1989. The relationship of Jingulu and Jaminjungan. MS 2833.
  • Harvey, Mark. 2008. Proto Mirndi: a discontinuous language family in northern Australia. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Nordlinger, Rachel. 1998. A grammar of Wambaya, Northern Territory (Australia): Pacific Linguistics C-140. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Tindale, Norman B. 1974. Aboriginal tribes of Australia: their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits, and proper names. Berkeley: University of California Press/Canberra: Australian National University Press.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

Along the head of the coastal slope from Tanumbirini south-east to approximately the heads of the MacArthur River, Kilgour River, and Walhallow; to the west to the head of Newcastle Creek and to the south as far as Anthony Lagoon (Aguas 1968:10).

Head of coastal slope from Tanumbirini southeast to about head of McArthur River; at Old Wallhallow; at Mallapunyah; west to head of Newcastle Creek; south to Anthony Lagoon and Eva Downs. Before 1900 they were pressing northeastward into Binbinga territory (Tindale 1974).

There was no precise information on the limits of Gudanji associations in 2007. The following places were associated with Gudanji: McArthur River Mine, Cape Crawford, Mallapunyah Springs. It is likely that Kiana homestead was associated with Gudanji, but this was not certain (Harvey AILEC 0802).



  • Tindale, Norman. 1974. Tribal boundaries in Aboriginal Australia. Canberra: Division of National Mapping, Department of National Development.
  • Nordlinger, Rachel. 1998. A grammar of Wambaya, Northern Territory (Australia). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Breen, Gavan. 2003. The Barkly: Wanyi and Garrwa comparative data. In The non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia: comparative studies of the continent's most linguistically complex region, ed. N Evans, 425-462. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Harvey, Mark. 2008. Non-Pama-Nyungan languages: land-language associations at colonisation (ASEDA 802).
Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981): 

Ngajumaya (A3 ) in Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981).


Names of the language and different spellings that have been used:
Gudandji (AIAS), Kutanji
Classification of the language:
Djingiluan (Jinguluan) Family,, Wambayan group
Identification codes:
Oates '73: 30.1c
AIAS: C.026
Present number and distribution of speakers:
Brunette Downs, Borroloola, Elliott
Milliken, 1972 -- 80
Black, 1979 --
People who have worked intensively on the language:
Chadwick continues study of the Barkly languages.
Practical orthography:
None established. Wampaya or Jingilu orthography probably suitable.
Word lists:
Hale, 1966; Aguas, 1968.
Grammar or sketch grammar:
Aguas, 1968 (fragmentary)
Material available on the language:
Aguas, E.F. 1968. Gudandji. Papers in Australian Linguistics No. 3. Pacific Linguistics A.14:1-20. (vocabulary of about 130 words, phonology, fragmentary grammar)
Breen, J.G. Kutanji field notes. (about 1 hour tape-recording, transcription).
---------- 1974. Gudanji. 8p. ms. (pMs 204, AIAS)
Chadwick, Neil. 1975. (Basic data (morpho-syntactic) analysis: Djingili, Wambaya, Gudandji, Binbinga and Ngarnga). 48p. ms. Canberra.
---------- 1979. The West Barkly languages: an outline sketch, pp.653-711 in Australian Linguistic Studies, ed. by S.A. Wurm Pacific Linguistics C.54.
Gillen, F.J. 1894-98. Notes on some manners and customs of (Australian) Aborigines, 1894-98. 5vol. ms. folio notebooks. Sydney University. (comparative table of 200 words, English-Arunta, Kaitish, Waramangu, Chingili, Umbaia, Gnanji).
Hale, Kenneth L. 1966. Barkly word list. 7p. mimeo. Dept. of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. (15 March 1966)(113 words in 4 languages)
Literacy material:

Kathy Menning (comp.) and David Nash (ed.) 1981. © IAD Press

AIATSIS gratefully acknowledges IAD Press for permission to use this material in AUSTLANG.

Estrella Chesney, Neil Chadwick, Katherine Regional Aboriginal Language Centre, Papulu Apparr-Kari Language Centre
Indigenous organisations: 
Year Source Speaker numbers

Speaker numbers were measured differently across the censuses and various other sources listed in AUSTLANG. You are encouraged to refer to the sources.

Speaker numbers for ‘NILS 2004’ and ‘2005 estimate’ come from 'Table F.3: Numbers of speakers of Australian Indigenous languages (various surveys)' in 'Appendix F NILS endangerment and absolute number results' in McConvell, Marmion and McNicol 2005, pages 198-230 (PDF, 2.5MB).

Type Documentation Status Documentation Score
Word list Less than 20 pages 1
Text Collection None 0
Grammar A few articles 1
Audio-visual Less than 1 1
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) West Barkly     Gudanji Gudanji [dialects: Binbinka, Ngarnga]
Dixon (2002)   MINDI SUBGROUP East Mindi subgroup* Gudandji Wambaya Nordlinger (1998) further dialects: Gudandji, Binbinka
Wurm (1994) Djingili-Wambayan Wambayan   Gudandji  
Walsh (1981) Djingili-Wambayan Wambayan   Gudandji  
Oates (1975) Djingili-Wambayan Wambayan   Gudandji  
Wurm (1972) Djingili-Wambayan Wambayic   Gudandji  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Wambayan     Kutandji