S52: Thawa

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
ABS name
Horton name
Yuin (Thaua/Thawa)
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Thawa, Thauaira, Thurga (language name applies also to tribes as far north as the Wandandian), Thoorga, Du:rga, Durga, Dhu:rga, Tharawal (of Howitt, 1885:811), Tadera-manji, Guyanagal (lit. southerner), Guyangal-yuin (['uin] == ['juin] = man), Murring (inland term means 'men,' see Wandandian tribe), Katungal (sea people, a general term), Baianga (tomahawk people), Paiendra (error for Paienbra), Paienbera ('tomahawk people,' name applied to inland hordes by southern tribes).
O'Grady et al (1966)
Thawa, Thauaira, Thoorga, Thurga, Tadermanji, Tauaira, Guyangalyuin
Other sources
Yuin, Thaua/Thawa, Dhurga, Djiringanj, Dyirringan, Thaua, Walbanga, Wandandian, Baianga, Dhu:rga, Du:rga, Durga, Guyanagal, Guyangal yuin, Guyangalyuin, Katungal, Murring, Paienbera, Paiendra, Tadera manji, Tadermanji, Taua, Tauaira, Tharawal, Thauaira, Thoorga, Thurga, Dhawa

Wafer and Lissarrague (2008:101, 107) link Thawa and Jiringayn S51 as dialects of the 'Southern Coastal' variety of their 'South-east NSW ("Yuin") language group'.

Neither Eades (1976) nor Besold (2012-13) mention a dialectal relationship between Thawa and Dyirringan.

Besold (2012-13:3), remarking on the difficulty of drawing definitive conclusions about the language situation in this area, says that 'even recent statements such as 'Thawa is distinguished from Jeringan (Djirringanj) but Jeringan and Thoorga (Dhurga) S53 are closely related and are variants of a single language' (Biamanga Gulaga Final Report, 2005) cannot be confirmed based on the language analysis presented in this study.'

Besold indicates that language data for Dhaawa (S52) is limited to woedlists, with very little grammatical information; the data indicate Dhaawa (S52) shares more features with Victorian languages and inland south east NSW languages (2013: 2).


  • Besold, Jutta. 2012-13. Language Recovery of the New South Wales South Coast Aboriginal Languages. Australian National University, PhD thesis. (R01524 MAR)
  • Capell, Arthur. 1963. Linguistic survey of Australia. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.
  • Clark, Ian. 1996. Aboriginal language areas in Victoria: a reconstruction. Melbourne: Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages.
  • Dixon, R. M. W. 2002. Australian languages: their nature and development: Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Eades, Diana. 1976. The Dharawal and Dhurga languages of the New South Wales south coast: Australian Aboriginal Studies, Research and Regional Studies 8. Canberra: AIAS.
  • Liston, John. 1993. The Thaua language: an Aboriginal pictionary from the New South Wales far south coast. The Country Area Program, South Coast. Department of School Education.
  • Oates, William J. and Lynette F. Oates. 1970. A revised linguistic survey of Australia: Australian Aboriginal Studies 33, Linguistic Series 12. Canberra: AIAS.
  • Mathews, Robert Hamilton. 1902. The Thoorga language. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of QLD 17:49-73.
  • 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.
  • Wafer, Jim, and Amanda Lissarrague. 2008. A handbook of Aboriginal languages of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Nambucca Heads: Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

Along the coast of New South Wales from Bermagui northerly to Jervis Bay (Mathews 1902 Thoorga Language).

From north of Merimbula south to Green Cape; west to the scarp of the Dividing Range (Tindale 1974).

The locations given by Mathews and Tindale above contradict locations identified by Eades (1976) and Clark (1996), which are adopted by this database


John Liston, Robert Mathews
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 (songs) - unclear status
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005)          
Dixon (2002)   SOUTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES GROUP New South Wales south coast group Thawa Thawa
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan Yuin-Kuric   Thawa  
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan Yuin-Kuric Yuin Thawa  
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Yuin-Kuric Yuin Dhawa  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Yuin-Kuric Yuin Dhawa (Djiringany)  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Yuin-Kuric Yuin Thaua