D27: Yuwaalaraay

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
ABS name
Horton name
Kamilaroi (Juwalarai/Ualarai)
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Yualarai, Yualloroi, Yowaleri, Uollaroi, Youallerie, Yualari, Yualai, Yualeai, Yerraleroi, Yowairi, Yuolary, Eu-ahlayi, Yourilri, Youahlayi, Jualjai, Juwaljai, Yuwalyai, Wallarai, Wolleroi, Walleri, Woleroi, Wollaroi, Gingi (name of a station on bank of Barwon River opposite Walgett), Brewarrana tribe ([u'al] = ['wol] = ['wal] means 'yes'; the correct Ualarai negative is ['wongo]; Radcliffe-Brown was in error in recording 'yual' as meaning 'no').
O'Grady et al (1966)
Other sources
Jualrai [Holmer 1983] Yowalleri [Barlow 1873] Yowalri [Quinn 1897] Wallarai [Mathews]
Kamilaroi, Juwalarai/Ualarai, Euahlayi, Gamilaroi, Guyinbaray, Juwalarai, Ualarai, Walarai, Weraerai, Wirajarai, Yuwalarai, Jualrai, Yualarai, Yualloroi, Yowaleri, Uollaroi, Youallerie, Yualari, Yualai, Yualeai, Yerraleroi, Yowairi, Yuolary, Eu ahlayi, Yourilri, Youahlayi, Jualjai, Juwaljai, Yuwalyai, Wallarai, Wolleroi, Walleri, Woleroi, Wollaroi, Gingi, Brewarrana tribe, yuwalaray, yuwalaraay

The language name is constructed with the word yuwaal 'no' + proprietive suffix -araay which indicates a characteristic 'having' or 'with', thus 'yuwaal-araay' or 'no-having'.

There are just a few words which are recorded as different in Yuwaalaraay D27 and Yuwaalayaay D54, while there are many more differences between these two language varieties and Gamilaraay D23. Therefore linguistically, but not socially, it is established that Gamilaraay D23, 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 D66 and Gawambaraay  D39 are also dialects of the same language as Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay and Yuwaalayaay (2008: 216).


  • Austin, Peter, Corinne J. Williams and Stephen Wurm. 1980. The linguistic situation in north central New South Wales. In Papers in Australian Linguistics 13, 167-180. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Dixon, R.M.W. 2002. Australian languages: their nature and development. Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Oates, Lynette F. 1975. The 1973 supplement to a revised linguistic survey of Australia. Armidale: Armidale Christian Book Centre.
  • 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.
  • Williams, Corinne J. 1980. A grammar of Yuwaalaraay: Pacific Linguistics B-74. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Wurm, S. A. 1972. Languages of Australia and Tasmania. The Hague: Mouton.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

It appears to have extended southwards to near Walgett, and northwards into the basin of the Moonie River (Williams 1980:3)

Tindale (1974:199) says that the territory did not extend this far north, but gives no basis for this statement. To the west the boundary fell between the Culgoa and Birrie Rivers, and extended eastwards almost to Collarenebri. Within this it is not possible to define an exact boundary between Yuwaalaraay and Yuwaaliyaay. There is, however, some evidence to suggest that Yuwaaliyaay territory was predominantly to the north of the area, and Yuwaalaraay to the south. between Lightning Ridge and Naroon Lake (Austin, Williams and Wurm 1980:169).



Yuwaalaraay Language Program
St Joseph's Primary School (PO Box 125), Walgett, NSW 2832. Ph: 02 6828 1060
Lightning Ridge Central School. Ph: 02 6829 0511
Boggabilla Central School. Ph: 02 07 4676 2104
Goodooga Central School, Ph: 02 6829 6257
Coonabarabran High School, Ph: 02 6842 1099
New England Institute of TAFE, Tamworth - Indigenous Programs. Ph: 02 6768 2411

Gamilaraay Yuwaalaraay Guladha

See also Gamilaraay D23.


Arthur Dodd, Fred Reece, Gerhardt Laves, Priscilla Strasek, Mark MacLean, Anna Ash, John Giacon, Amanda Lissarrague, Janet Mathews, Corrine Williams, Norman Tindale, R.H. Mathews, Fr Ernest Worms, Stephen Wurm
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 Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Text Collection Small (20-100 pages) 2
Grammar Small grammar (100-200 pages) 3
Audio-visual More than 10 3
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available (unclear content)

Williams, Corrine. 1980 A grammar of Yuwaalaraay: Pacific Linguistic B74. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.


Ash, Anna, Giacon, John, and Lissarrague, Amanda. 2003. Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay & Yuwaalayaay dictionary. Alice Springs: IAD Press. Giacon, John and Nahtan, David. 2009. 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)          
Dixon (2002)   CENTRAL NEW SOUTH WALES GROUP Central inland New South Wales subgroup* Yuwaalaraay | Wiraiari Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) Williams (1980) further dialects: Yuwaalaraay, Yuwaaliyaay (Euahlayi), Gunjbaraay, Gawambaraay, Wirayaraay (or Wiriwiri), Walaraay | Wiradhurri (or Wirratherie or Wirradgerry or Waradgery or Woradgery, etc.) H. Hale (1846), Günther (1892) possible further dialect: Wiraiari
Wurm (1994)          
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan Wiradhuric   Yuwaalaraay Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) [dialects: Gamilaraay, Northern Gamilaraay, Guyinbaraay, Gamilaraay, Wiriyaraay, Gawambaraay, Yuwaaliyaay]
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Wiradjuric Main Wiradjuric Yuwalarai  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Wiradjuric Main Wiradjuric Yuwalarai  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966)