E23: Yuggera

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
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).
O'Grady et al (1966)
Yagara, Turrubul, Yackarabul, Jinibara
Other sources
Jagera [Native Title claim] Cateebil (Meston) [Steele 1984:140]
Yugara, Yagara, Yuggera, Gowar, Jagara, Koenpul, Ngugi, Nunukul, Turrubul, Biriin, Djanda, Jagarabal, Jandai, Jergarbal, Jinibara, Jinibarra, Nighi, Terabul, Torbul, Turibul, Turrbal, Turrubal, Turubul, Yackarabul, Yagarabal, Yagarabul, Yaggara, Yerongban, Yeronghan, Yerongpan, Yiniburra, Yugarabal, Yugg ari, Yuggara, Jagera, Tor bul, Ninghi, Quandamooka

Yagara is the language name for a number of different varieties, including Moondjan E21, spoken by Nunukul (E21) people and Jandai E19 spoken by Goenpul (E19) people on Stradbroke Island as well as the unnamed dialect spoken by Turrbul E86 people. The name Yagara (E23) is based on the negative yagar(a) ‘no’. Tindale wrongly attributes Jagara as a group name and Turubul E86 as the language name (1975:169);  Steele (1984) treats Yuggera as a language group which includes Yuggera, Turrbal, Jandai and Gowar E26; Jefferies (2011) argues that Gowar (spoken by Ngugi (E26) people) is more closely related to the Bundjalung language group.

'Yagara-speakers, whatever their dialect, were well aware of the fact that all spoke the same language, indicating that ... [all of the people] ... along the south side of Moreton Bay and all along its shores to Amity Point use the word Yug-ger-a-bool to signify their respective dialects.' People associated with Lytton and South Brisbane used the same word (Harper, 1894). 

Other sources indicate that the Moreton Bay region and the people of the area are known as Quandamooka. This is a grouping that consists of Yuggera and Koopenul in the Cleveland area; Nunukal (E21) and Goenpul (E19) peoples from Stradbroke Island; and Ngugi (E26) from Moreton Island.

Yagara (E23) has a small distribution by comparison with the large language sub-groups that surround it i.e. Wakka [E28], Kabi [E29], and Bundjalung [E12]; its genetic affinities lie with the Eastern Queensland Border languages (Wafer and Lissarrague 2008: 332-349), sharing significant vocabulary with Bigambal D34 and other EQB language varieties.


  • Bannister, D.D., 1984. Papers on the Aboriginal languages of Queensland. John Oxley Library, Brisbane.

  • Harper, E. 1894 [letter to editor] The Queenslander 01-09-1894

  • Steele, John. 1984. Aboriginal pathways in southeast Queensland and the Richmond River. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press.
  • 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, J. and Lissarrague, A. 2008. A handbook of Aboriginal languages of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Nambucca Heads: Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative.

Potential data
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

... in the "Sandy country" (Yerongpan) between Brisbane and Ipswich (Lauterer 1895 P 6088). Brisbane River from the Cleveland district inland to the Dividing Range about Gatton; north to near Esk; at Ipswich (Tindale 1974). Ipswich and the districts to the south (Fassifern) and west (Lockyer), as far as afield as Cunningham's Gap in the Fassifern District and Murphy's Creek at the head of the Lockyer Creek (Steele 1984:85 citing Meston). Yagara was spoken along most of the Brisbane River from the foot of the ranges to Moreton Bay including on North Stradbroke Island (but not Moreton Island) and along the North Pine River at the northern end of the Bay (Jefferies, p.c. August 2020).

Ridley William
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 Less than 20 pages 1
Grammar A few articles 1
Audio-visual Less than 1 1
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005)          
Dixon (2002)   CENTRAL EAST COAST GROUP   Yagara Yagara further dialects: Turubul (or Turrbal), Janday, Moonjan
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan Durubulic   Yagara  
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan Durubulic   Yagara  
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Durubulic   Yagara(bal)  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Durubulic   Yagara(bal)  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Waka-Kabic Miyan Jagara