D23: Gamilaraay / Gamilaroi / Kamilaroi

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 
Gamilaraay / Gamilaroi / Kamilaroi


ABN name
Kamilaroi language (Previously Gamilaraay language)
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
Tindale (1974)
Kamilarai, Kamilari, Kamilroi, Kamilarai, Kamu-laroi, Kaamee'larrai, Kamileroi, Koomilroi, Komleroy, Gamilaroi, Gamilroi, Kahmilaharoy, Kamilary, Gumilroi, Gummilroi, Gummilray, Kimilari, Karmil, Kamil (['kamil] = no), Comleroy, Ghummilarai, Cammealroy, Kahmilari, Kakmilari (typographical error), Cumilri, Cam-ell-eri, Cum-milroy, Cummeroy, Gunnilaroi, K= no), Comleroy, Ghummilarai, Cammealroy, Kahml Duhai, Yauan (mystic language name), Tjake (mystic language name), Tyake.
O'Grady et al (1966)
Gamilaroi, Kamilarai, Kamilroi, Kamalarai, Koomilroi, Gunilroi, Guminilroi, Gumilray, Camleroy, Euhahlayi
Other sources
Peel River language (Hale 1846) [Austin 2008:40]
Euahlayi, Guyinbaray, Juwalarai, Ualarai, Walarai, Weraerai, Wirajarai, Kamilarai, Kamilroi, Kamalarai, Koomilroi, Gunilroi, Guminilroi, Gumilray, Camleroy, Euhahlayi, Gamilray, Northern Gamilaraay, Peel River language, Kamilaori, Kamilari, Kamu, laroi, Kaameelarrai, Kamileroi, Komleroy, Gamilroi, Kahmilaharoy, Kamilary, Gumilroi, Gummilroi, Gummilray, Kimilari, Karmil, Kamil, Comleroy, Ghummilarai, Cammealroy, Kahmilari, Kakmilari, Cumilri, Cam ell eri, Cum milroy, Cummeroy, Gunnilaroi, Kahml Duhai, Yauan, Tjake, Tyake, Gomeroi

The language name is constructed with the word gamil 'no' + proprietive suffix -araay which indicates a characteristic 'having' or 'with'; thus 'gamil-araay' or 'no-having'. It is established that Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay D27, Yuwaalayaay D54 are dialects of a single language. One difference of note between Gamailaraay and Yuwaalaraay is the correspondance between /r /and /y/ in pairs such as maaru – maayu 'well'; muru – muyu 'nose'; biruu – biyuu 'hole' (Ash, Giacon and Lissarrague 2003: 5).

Wafer and Lissarrague make the case that Guyinbaraay D15,  Wirraay-Wirraay D28 and Gawambaraay D39 are also dialects of this language with no name (2008: 216).


  • Austin, Peter, Corinne J. Williams & Stephen Wurm. 1980. The linguistic situation in north central New South Wales. In Papers in Australian Linguistics 13, 167-180. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Ash, Anna, John Giacon & Amanda Lissarrague eds. 2003. Gamilaraay - Yuwaalaraay - Yuwaalayaay dictionary. Alice Springs: IAD Press.
  • Austin, Peter. 2008. The classification of Pinikura, Western Australia. In Morphology and language history, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 298. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • 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.

  • Wyndham, W.T. 1889. The Aborigines of Australia. Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, vol. 23, pp. 36-42. (RS 50/2)
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay area is roughly bounded by Walgett, Goodooga, Mungindi, Goondiwindi, Ashford, Tamworth, Murrurundi and Coonabarabran ... Yuwaalayaay was recorded in the Goodooga - Narran river area. (Ash, Giacon & Lissarrague 2003:5).

Its location is tentatively established as the area between the Barwon and Gwydir Rivers (Austin, Williams & Wurm 1980:169 re Northern Gamilaraay). ... the language once spoken in the central portion of this area from Walgett as far south as Willow Tree on the edge of the Great Dividing Range (Austin, Williams and Wurm 1980:169).

... traditionally spoken over a vast area of New South Wales [...extending] west of the Great Dividing Range, apparently from as far south as near the current town of Murrurundi and the Page River, to the areas where are now located Tamworth, Narrabri, Moree, Boggabilla, Mugindi, Collarenebri, Walgett and Gunnedah (Austin 2008:38).



A year 7-8 Yuwaalaraay-Gamilaraay course was taught at Walgett High and Goodooga Central School in 1999 and 2001. The text book for the course and a wordlist were published early 1999. The language is taught at schools in Toomelah-Boggabilla under a language program which started in 1996. The Summer School for Gamilaraay language was held in January 2007. The University of Sydney ran a Speaking Gamilaraay course in 2006, and in 2008 an advanced Gamilaraay course was run. (Troy and Walsh 2010:179).

Rev. William Ridley, R.H. Mathews, Norman Tindale, Stephen Wurm, Anna Ash, Peter Austin, John Giacon, Amanda Lissarrague, Janet Mathews, Muurrbay Aboriginal Language & Culture Co-operative, Corinne Williams, Bill Reid
Indigenous organisations: 
Year Source Speaker numbers
2004NILSa few?

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 Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Text Collection Less than 20 pages 1
Grammar Small grammar (100-200 pages) 3
Audio-visual 1-10 2
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available

Giacon, John. 1999. Yaama maliyaa, Yuwaalaraay - Gamilaraay: an Aboriginal languages textbook. Walgett, NSW: Walgett High School, Yuwaalaraay Gamilaraay Program.


Ash, Anna, Giacon, John, and Lissarrague, Amanda. 2003. Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay & Yuwaalayaay dictionary Alice Springs: IAD Press.

Austin, Peter and Nathan, David. 1996. Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay Web Dictionary (http://coombs.anu.edu.au/WWWVLPages/AborigPages/LANG/GAMDICT/GAMDICT.HTM).

Giacon, John and Nathan, David. 2000. Gayarragi, Winangali - Find and Hear (an electronic resource available from http://lah.soas.ac.uk/projects/gw/. Includes words, sentences, stories and songs.)

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Pama-Nyungan Wiradhuric   Gamilaraay  
Dixon (2002)   CENTRAL NEW SOUTH WALES GROUP Central inland New South Wales subgroup* Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) Williams (1980) further dialects: Yuwaalaraay, Yuwaaliyaay (Euahlayi), Gunjbaraay, Gawambaraay, Wirayaraay (or Wiriwiri), Walaraay
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan Wiradhuric   Gamilaraay  
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan Wiradhuric   Gamilaraay, Northern Gamilaraay Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) [dialects: Gamilaraay, Northern Gamilaraay, Guyinbaraay, Gamilaraay, Wiriyaraay, Gawambaraay, Yuwaaliyaay]
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Wiradjuric Main Wiradjuric Gamilray  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Wiradjuric Main Wiradjuric Kamilaori  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Wiradjuric Main Kamilaroi