E86: Turrbal

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
Thurawal (Turrubul)
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Jagara (Turubul), Undanbi (Turrubul)
Tindale (1974)
Jagarabal (['jagara] = no), Jergarbal, Yagara, Yaggara, Yuggara, Yugg-ari, Yackarabul, Turubul (language name), Turrbal, Turrubul, Turrubal, Terabul, Tor-bul, Turibul, Yerongban, Yeronghan, Ninghi, Yerongpan, Biriin (see explanation under Jukambe) for Jagara. Undumbi (['dan] = man), Oondumbi, Mooloola (name of a river), Turrubul (language name), Turrbul, Churrabool, Djindubari (horde on Bribie Island), Djuadu-bari, Jooaduburrie, Bo-oobera, Dippil (language term applied to this and sometimes to the Kabikabi tribes people-a general term in southeastern Queensland.) for Undanbi.
O'Grady et al (1966)
Other sources
Turrbul, Turubul, Turrabul, Toorbal, Tarabul [Watson 1943]
Turrbal, Thurawal, Turrubul, Durubulic, Jagara, Undanbi, Turrbul, Turrabul, Toorbal, Tarabul, Jagarabal, Jergarbal, Yagara, Yaggara, Yuggara, Yugg ari, Yackarabul, Turrbal, Turrubal, Terabul, Tor bul, Turibul, Yerongban, Yeronghan, Ninghi, Yerongpan, Biriin for Jagara, Undumbi, Oondumbi, Mooloola, Churrabool, Djindubari, Djuadu bari, Jooaduburrie, Bo oobera, Dippil for Undanbi

Watson (1943:4-5) treats Tarabul (E86) as a group name for speakers of Yugarabul E66. Tindale treats Turubul as a language name which is spoken by Jagara E23 and Undanbi E94. Steele (1984) treats Yuggera E23 as a language group which includes Yuggera, Turrbal, Jandai E19 and Gowar E26 languages. There is a small word list by Jackson (1937).

Jefferies describes Turrbal as the group name for people in the Brisbane area speaking an unnamed Yagara E23 dialect. It is probable the name was also used for an alliance of Yagara speakers including the Turrbal and others south of the river as far as the Logan River (August 2020 p.c.).

'The word tarau refers particularly to loose stones, and the name Taraubul is evidently derived from the geological nature of the Brisbane area, the formation of which is almost entirely of brittle schist’ (Watson 1946:5). This English-based rendering of the people name 'taraubul' can be aligned with a common cognate: /dharru/ meaning ‘rocks, stones’ + the suffix /-bul/. Lauterer (1891) described his ‘grammar of Yaggara’ as ‘the language of the Yerongpan tribe on the ‘sandy country’ between Brisbane and Ipswich’. This group extended along the river directly opposite the Turrbal and it is likely the two geological designations act as a convenient and ready way to distinguish the two Yagara-speaking groups.


  • Dixon, R. M. W. 2002. Australian languages: their nature and development: Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Jackson, George Kenneth. 1937. Turubul tribe vocabulary. PMS 5354.
  • Steele, John. 1984. Aboriginal pathways in southeast Queensland and the Richmond River. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press
  • Watson, F. J. 1943. Vocabularies of four representative tribes of south eastern Queensland, with grammatical notes thereof and some notes on manners and customs; also a list of Aboriginal place names and their derivations. Brisbane: Royal Geographical Society of Australasia.
Potential data
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

Tarabul group of the Yugarabul tribe, whose territory included the site of the City of Brisbane. (Watson 1943) On the Brisbane River (Ridley 1866). The Turrbal langauge was spoken as far inland as Gold Creek or Moggill, as far north as North Pine, and south to the Logan (Steele 1984:121). Located on the north side of the Brisbane River in places such as the present-day CBD, Spring Hill, New Farm, Bowen Hills, Toowong, St. Lucia and Moggil (Jefferies, p.c. August 2020).

Lauterer, D J. 1891 ‘Report to the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, Brisbane'.

Petrie, C.C. 1904  Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland . St. Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Press, 1992

Sharpe, M., 1985. ‘Bundjalung Settlement and Migration’ Aboriginal History Vol. 9 (1):101-119

Watson, F.J., 1946. Vocabularies of four representative tribes of south eastern Queensland. Brisbane: Royal Geographical Society of Australasia.

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    
Text Collection None 0
Grammar None 0
Audio-visual None 0
Manuscript note: 
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005)          
Dixon (2002)   CENTRAL EAST COAST GROUP   Turubul (or Turrbal) Yagara further dialects: Turubul (or Turrbal), Janday, Moonjan
Wurm (1994)          
Walsh (1981)          
Oates (1975)          
Wurm (1972)          
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966)