S62: Kuringgai

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
Awabakal [Cameeragal]
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
O'Grady et al (1966)
Cameragal, Cammerraygal
Other sources
Gari-Gari (2004), Caregal (Hunter 1793), Carigal (Capell 1970), Karikal [Wafer & Lissarrague 2008] Kuringgai, Guringai [Kohen & Steele 2009:224]
Cameeragal, Awabakal, Kameraigal, Karikal, Garigal

Not to be confused with Guringay E95 from the mid-north coast, a language variety associated with Gathang E67, Birrbay E3 and Warrimay E2.

Kohen (1993) suggests the term 'Kuringgai' (S62) was an invention of Fraser (1892) based on an early Dharruk S64 grammar. Note the possessive suffix -gay in the Sydney language (Troy, 2019:26).

Attenbrow (2010:34) indicates there is no evidence for a separate Guringai (S62) language. She identifies the coastal dialect of Darug S64, in other words Eora S61, as being spoken in the area identified as Guringai (i.e. the north shore of Port Jackson) by Capell (1970).

Lissarrague (2006) treats Kuringgai as a people name, describing the Hunter River– Lake Macquarie language S99 as spoken by people now known as Awabakal S66, Kuringgai (S62), Wonnarua S63 and possibly Geawegal E1. In her later work (Wafer & Lissarrague 2008:160-164),  Kuringgai (S62) is treated as the name of a dialect (which they call Karikal) of the Hunter River– Lake Macquarie language S99. Their analysis concludes that the language variety spoken by Karikal (S62) belongs to the Hunter River– Lake Macquarie language S99, not Darug S64.

Wafer and Lissarrague (2008:162-163) distinguish between Fraser's 'super-language' usage of 'Kuringgai' (1892) and Capell's (1970) reference regarding a language spoken from north Sydney to Tuggerah Lakes on the Central Coast.

The evidence suggests Kuringgai was spoken in the Central Coast region, extending south to Brisbane Waters. Wafer and Lissarrague summarise the case made by Smith (2004) which resolves the confusion regarding Kuringgai and Gameraigal: the latter is based on a place name in north Sydney, 'Gameray' (see also Attenbrow 2010), but there is no language data associated with people who originally lived there. The language generally associated with north Sydney is the one spoken by Bungaree and his people, who were from the region to the north of Broken Bay and moved to north Sydney in the early nineteenth century. They were speakers of the dialect now called Kuringgai (S62).



  • Attenbrow, Valerie. 2010. Sydney's Aboriginal past: Investigating the archaeological and historical records. Sydney: UNSW Press.
  • Capell, Arthur. 1970. Aboriginal languages in the south central coast, New South Wales: fresh discoveries. Oceania 41(1), 20-27.
  • Fraser, John ed. 1892. An Australian language as spoken by the Awabakal, the people of Awaba or Lake Macquarie. Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer.
  • Kohen, James. 1993. The Darug and their neighbours: The traditional owners of the Sydney region. Blacktown, NSW : Darug Link in association with Blacktown and District Historical Society.
  • Lissarrague, Amanda. 2006. A salvage grammar and wordlist of the language from the Hunter River and Lake Macquarie. Nambucca Heads: Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative.
  • Powell, Michael and Rex Hesline 2010. Making tribes? Constructing Aboriginal tribal entities in Sydney and coastal NSW from the early colonial period to the present. Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society 96: 2, 115-148.
  • Smith, Keith Vincent. 2004. Eora clans: A history of Indigenous social organisation in coastal Sydney, 1770-1890. MA thesis, Department of Indigenous Studies, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Troy, Jakelin. 2019. The Sydney Language. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies 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.
  • Wafer, Jim, and Amanda Lissarrague. 2010. The Kuringgai puzzle. In Indigenous language and social identity: papers in honour of Michael Walsh, eds B. Baker, I. Mushin, M. Harvey & R. Gardner. Pacific Linguistics 626. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
Potential data
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

... bounded on the south side by the Hawkesbury River, which separated them from the Sydney or Cammeray tribe (Mann 1886 as cited in Wafer & Lissarrague 2008:163).

... from Tuggerah Lakes to Brisbane Water, and perhaps extending a certain distance west along the northern side of Broken Bay (Wafer & Lissarrague 2008:164).


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 None 0
Audio-visual None 0
Manuscript note: 
not available
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Pama-Nyungan Worimi   Awabakal [Cameeragal] Awabakal [dialects: Awabagal, Cameeragal, Wonarua]
Dixon (2002)   CENTRAL NEW SOUTH WALES GROUP Awabagal/Gadjang subgroup* Cameeragal Awabagal Threlkeld (1834) further dialects: Cameeragal, Wonarua
Wurm (1994)          
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan Yuin-Kuric Iyora Guringgai (Kuringgai) Dharuk [dialects: Guringgai (Kuringgai), Iyora]
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Yuin-Kuric Kuri Gameraigal, Guringgay  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Yuin-Kuric Kuri Kameraigal  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Yuin-Kuric Yuin Kameraigal