N32: Wulwulam

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)
Wulwullam, Agiwallem, Agigondin (eastern horde), Agrikondi, Aggrakundi, Wolwongga, Wulwanga, Wolwanga, Wulwonga, Woolwonga, Oolwunga (not of Mathews), Oola-wunga, Agikwala, Agiqwolla [sic), Agoguila, Aquguila.
O'Grady et al (1966)
Other sources
Wulwulam (Spencer 1914:6-7, 199-200), Wailwullam (Spencer Fieldnotes, Museum of Victoria) [Harvey 2003:295]
Beriguruk, Aggradundi, Aggrakundi, Agigondin, Agikwala, Agiqwolla, Agiwallem, Agoguila, Agrakundi, Agrikondi, Aquguila, Awinmil, Awinmul, Awinnmull, Giyuk, Oolawunga, Oolwunga, Peron Island, Wia willam, Wilwangga, Wolna, Wolonga, Wolwanga, Wolwongga, Woolwonga, Wulna, Wulnar, Wulwanga, Wulwonga, Wulwullam, Wuna, Wailwullam, Oola wunga, Gunwinyguan.

Wulwulam is a non-Pama Nyungan language spoken in the region between Jawoyn N57 and Warray N25, two closely related Gunwinyguan languages (Harvey, in Evans, 2003:285). Wulwullam (~ Wailwullam) (N32) was documented Spencer in 1912; his short list of nominals indicates a noun class system with vowel-initial class markers, similar to Warray (Harvey, in Evans, 2003:295-7).

There has been some confusion between Wuna N29 and Wulwulam, and it is likely that some of items described as being on Wulwulam are actually on Wuna.


  • Harvey, Mark. 2008. Non-Pama-Nyungan Languages: land-language associations at colonisation. AILEC 0802.
  • Harvey, Mark. 2003. Western Gunwinyguan. 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.
  • 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.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

Head of Mary River; west to Pine Creek (the southern and western hordes, Agikwala and Awinmil, were apparently formerly separate tribes that amalgamated after the decline of their numbers, following contact with Europeans); south nearly to Katherine; east to the headwaters of the South Alligator River (Tindale 1974).

Pine Creek, Burrundie, Mt Wells, and Yam Creek. They met the Warray about Brock's Creek (Spencer fieldnote according to Harvey 2003:295). The south-western neighbours of the Wulwulam were the Wagiman...According to Warray and Wagiman people Hayes Creek and Butterfly/Dougas Gorge are in traditional Wagiman country. To the south-east, Spencer states that the area from Pine Creek to Katherine was associated with the Jawoyn language. However, in the early 1900s, while the area around the upper Ferguson river was apparently associated with the Ngarlahmi dialect of Jawoyn, the area immediately to the south of Pine Creek on the Cullen and mid-Ferguson was associated with the Dagoman-speaking Gayn-jiwortbort clan. Wulwulam appears to have bordered diecretly onto Jawoyn in the west. The upper Mary River above Moine appears to be associated with the Jawoyn language (Harvey 2003:297 - information provided by Merlan).

... the upper McKinlay and Margaret rivers (Harvey 2007 p.c.) There is little precise information on the affiliations of Wulwulam. In his 1912 fieldnotes Spencer records that the territory of the Wulwulam included Pine Creek, Burrundie, Mt Wells, and Yam Creek. However, it is more likely that Pine Creek was associated with Dagoman, with Wulwulam affilations coming in close on the north.. He records that they met the Warray about Brock's Creek. The few other older sources which describe the boundary between the Warray and their south-eastern neighbours locate the boundary in the Brock's Creek - Grove Hill area. The zone of change from Warray to Wulwulam was between Howley and Brock's Creek.The upper Margaret drainage above and including its junction with McCallum was associated with Wulwulam. There was no other information on the affiliations of this variety in 2007. The northern boundary is extrapolated from the ecological zone change from mostly hill country (Wulwulam) to mostly plain country (Uwinymil). In the east, affiliations may have extended to include Mary River homestead, but this area could have been affiliated with Jawoyn (Harvey AILEC 802).


Gavan Breen
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 More than 10 3
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005)          
Dixon (2002)   ARNHEM LAND GROUP Jawoyn-Warray group Wulwulam Warray Harvey (1986) possible further dialect: Wulwulam (or may be a distinct language)
Wurm (1994)          
Walsh (1981)          
Oates (1975)          
Wurm (1972)          
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966)