N21: Larrakia

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
Larrakia language
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Larrakia, Larakiya, Larakeeyah, Larrakiya, Larrak-eah, Larrakeeyah, Larrakiha, Laragia, Larragea, Larrekiya, Larrakeeha, Larreekeeyah, Larikia, Larrikia, Larrikiya, Larriquia, Binnimiginda (coastal hordes), Gunmajerrumba (inland hordes), Marri (a southern horde).
O'Grady et al (1966)
Larrakia, Larrakeah, Larrakeeyah, Larrakiha, Laragia, Larragea, Larrekiya, Larreekeeyah, Larikia, Larrikia, Larrikiya, Larriquia
Other sources
Gulumirrgin (the name used by Larrakia speakers themselves), Laragia, Larragia, Larrakia, Larekia, Larrekiya, Larrikiya, Ngandalagarak (the name used by their south-eastern neighbours, the Warray) [Top End Handbook] Larrekiya [Basedow:1907:1] Larrakeah (Foelsche 1882), Larikia (Coppinger 1883), Larrakia and Larragea (Curr 1886), Larrikiya (Mackillop), Larrakia, Larrakiha, Larrikia, Larrakeeha, and Larreekeeyah) (Parkhouse 1895) [Basedow 1907:1]
Larrakiya, Gulumirrgin, Laragia, Larakia, Binnimiginda, Gunmajerrumba, Laragai, Laragiya, Larakeeyah, Larakiya, Larikia, Larragea, Larrakeah, Larrakeeha, Larrakeeyah, Larrakiha, Larreekeeyah, Larrekiya, Larriguia, Larrikaa, Larrikia, Larrikiha, Larrikiya, Larriquia, Marri, Woolsoongah, Larragia, Larekia, Ngandalagarak Larrakeah, Larrak eah, Gulumoerrgin

Larrakia is a non-Pama Nyungan language from the Darwin region of the Northern Territory.

Larrakia (N21) is an exonym (a name given by outsiders), but is commonly used in modern times by Larrakia people. Gulumoerrgin (N21) was an endonym (a name used by the people to refer to themselves and their language) in times past.

This database uses Larrakia as a term that is commonly used, and documented in early historical sources (Michael Walsh, pers. com. 2018). Larrakia people are often referred to as 'saltwater people'.

The Larrakia had a vibrant traditional society based on our close relationship with the sea and trade with neighbouring groups such as the Tiwi, Wagait and Wulna. These groups shared ceremonies, songlines and intermarried. <http://larrakia.com/about/the-larrakia-people/ >


  • Evans, Nicholas. 2003. Introduction: Comparative non-Pama-Nyungan and Australian historical linguistics. In The Non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia: comparative studies of the continent's most linguistically complex region, ed. Nicholas Evans, 285-303. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Larrakia Nation <http://larrakia.com/>
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

Darwin (Top End Handbook). Darwin and the surrounding area including Cox Peninsula (Harvey PMS 5822).

From Finniss River and Fog Bay northeast to about Gunn Point west of the mouth of Adelaide River; inland to a point 10 miles (16 km.) north of Rum Jungle; at Darwin, Southport, Bynoe Harbour, and Howard River (Tindale 1974).

... a territory extending southwards between the Howard River on the east and the Finniss on the west, a subdivision or a clan, the Marri, having a local distribution near the mouth of the Blackmore River and forming the southern boundary at about twenty-five miles inland (Basedow 1907:1).

The general associations were from the mouth of the Finniss to around Point Stephens. Inland associations included all drainages into Bynoe and Darwin Harbours. The Vernon Islands were associated with Gulumoerrgin. Eastward limits: The eastern boundary is based on examination of place names. The distribution of apparently Gulumoerrgin place names as opposed to apparently Wuna place names matches to the ecological opposition between forested country - Gulumoerrgin, and grassland - Wuna. Southward limits: The boundary at the mouth of the Finniss River is based on statements by Aboriginal witnesses in the Kenbi Land Claim. The boundary in the area of the old North Australian railway and east to the Adelaide River is based on statements in early colonial reports about the southern boundary of Gulumoerrgin, and the statements of Warray informants about the northern boundary of Warray. The boundary between the mouth of the Finniss and the area of the old North Australian Railway is extrapolated. It is based on the ecological zone opposition between the wooded hill country on the southern shore of Bynoe Harbour - Gulumoerrgin, and the grassland floodplain of the lower Finniss - Gungarakany (Harvey AILEC 0802).

The Larrakia people are the traditional owners of the Darwin region. Our country runs from Cox peninsula in the west to Gunn Point in the north, Adelaide River in the east and down to the Manton Dam area southwards. (Larrakia Nation ,http://larrakia.com/about/the-larrakia-people/>)

Arthur Capell, Mark Harvey, Thomas Parkhouse, Yirra Bandoo Aboriginal Corporation, Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation
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 Medium (100-200 pages) 3
Text Collection None 0
Grammar A few articles 1
Audio-visual 1-10 2
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available

Mark Harvey. Larrakia dictionary, ASEDA 0774.

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Laragiyan     Laragia  
Dixon (2002)   DARWIN REGION GROUP Limilngan Wulna areal group Larrakiya (=Gulumirrgin) Larrakiya (=Gulumirrgin)
Wurm (1994) Laragiyan Laragiya   Laragiya  
Walsh (1981) Laragiyan Laragiyic   Laragiya (Larakiya)  
Oates (1975) Larakian Larakic   Laragia  
Wurm (1972) Larakian Larakic   Larakia  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Larakian Larakic   Larakia