S97: Kwat Kwat

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 
Kwat Kwat


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Kwat Kwat
Tindale (1974)
Quart-Quart, Emu Mudjug tribe, Pikkolatpan (where ['pik:or] = emu).
O'Grady et al (1966)
Other sources
Quart Quart (Robinson) Kwat Kwat (Tindale) [Hagen 1997:79] Kwatkwat [Cooper & Urry 1981:81] Quarta Quarta [Bowe & Morey 1999:5] Kwart Kwart [Clark 2005] Whroo [Lloyd 1985:1]
Quart Quart Kwat Kwat, Quart Quart, Emu Mudjug tribe, Pikkolatpan

Previously Kwat Kwat was incorporated into S40 (formerly 'Bangerang / Kwat Kwat / Waveroo'). However, very little is known about this name and sources vary as to its status as a language name and its identity with respect to other groups. Some sources have treated Kwat Kwat as a distinct language variety. Clark (1996) treats Kwart Kwart (S97) as a 'subdialect' of Waywurru S89, though in later publications he changes his position, linking it to Yorta Yorta D2. The nature of this link, however, is not clear. In Clark (2005) Kwart Kwart is termed a variant of Yorta Yorta, which could mean a dialect or an alternative name. Clark (2005) says his view is supported by Bowe and Morey (1999) but they say that Kwat Kwat is a 'sub-group of the Yorta Yorta/Bangerang macro-group' (p.5, fn. 7). Clark (2011) calls Kwart Kwart 'a cognate' of Yorta Yorta, but it is not clear if he means the names are cognate or the language varieties are related. Bowe (2002) admits the possibility that 'Kwat Kwat / Quart Quart / Quarta Quarta' may be a slight variation of the name 'Yorta Yorta', though she seems to lean towards it being a dialect rather than an alternative name.

All sources acknowledge the uncertainty of this name and many surveys omit it entirely (Dixon 2002, Oates and Oates 1970, Capell 1963). Bowe (2002:140) points out that, without language data, it is impossible to know 'whether Quart Quart "language" was a dialect, or a set of dialects, of the macro-language grouping Bangerang/Yorta Yorta, or a dialect of some other language, though the former seems to be the most likely.' Lloyd (1985:1) mentions the name 'Whroo' (referencing Andrews 1920) which he says is 'a group of the Kwat Kwat, a branch of the Bangerang', noting that Lake Moodemere was their gathering place. Andrews (1920:35) locates the Whroo at Wahgunyah, a couple of kilometres to the north of Lake Moodemere. While Whroo may appear to be a permutation of the name Waveroo/Waywurru (S89, but previously treated as part of S40 with the former reference name Bangerang / Kwat Kwat / Waveroo), and the location would fit, Eira (2016 p.c.) suggests that 'whroo' is simply cognate with 'wurru/wurrung' meaning 'mouth' or 'language', a common component of language names in Victoria, and thus likely a mistake. (Note that there is a place called Whroo, though it is over 80 kilometres to the south-west of Lake Moodemere.)

Robinson (in Clark 2003:160), the earliest source for Kwat Kwat, considered it a subgroup of Waveroo, but contemporary sources tentatively link it to Yorta Yorta D2 as either a subgroup (Hagen 1997), dialect (Bowe 2002) or alternative name (Clark 2011). Eira also notes (2016 p.c.) that she has studied the Pallanganmiddang records (identified by the contemporary Waywurru S89 community as Waywurru language) and they are not Yorta Yorta (D2) or Bangerang (S40). She suggests including Whroo as a possible alternative name for Kwat Kwat (S97) on the basis of Lloyd's description.


  • Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation. 1989 [1982]. Aboriginal archaeology of the Albury-Wodonga region. Albury, NSW: Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation. (p ALB)
  • Andrews, Arthur. 1920. The first settlement of the Upper Murray, 1835 to 1845 : with a short account of over two hundred runs, 1835 to 1880. North Sydney, NSW: Library of Australian History. (B A565.18/F1)
  • Bowe, Heather & Stephen Morey. 1999. The Yorta Yorta (Bangerang) language of the Murray Goulburn: including Yabula Yabula. Pacific Linguistics C-154. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. (RS 40/5)
  • Clark, Ian. 1996. Aboriginal language areas in Victoria: a report to the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages. Melbourne: VACL.
  • Clark, Ian D. 2003. Place names and land tenure: windows into Aboriginal landscapes: essays in Victorian Aboriginal history. Ballarat, Vic: Ballarat Heritage Services. (B C593.37/P2)
  • Clark, Ian. 2011. Aboriginal languages in north-east Victoria - the status of 'Waveru' reconsidered. Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 2-23. (S 37.7/10)
  • Cooper, Carol & James Urry. 1981. Art, Aborigines and Chinese: a nineteenth century drawing by the Kwatkwat artist Tommy McRae. In Aboriginal history, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 80-88. (S 99/2)
  • Hagen, Rod. 1994-97. Yorta Yorta native title claim: report on anthropological and socio-historical issues. (MS 4982)
  • Lloyd, B.E. 1985. Rutherglen, a history of town and district. Wangaratta, Vic: Shoestring Press. (B L793.08/R1)
  • 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.
Potential data
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

... their country extends to near Colyer's (Robinson, in Clark 2011:6) ... from thence towards the junction of the Ovens (Robinson, in Clark 2011:6) ... the Albury-Wodonga region (Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation 1989 [1982]:2) ... the Lake Moodemere Aboriginal Reserve near Wahgunyah (Cooper & Urry 1981:81).

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    
Text Collection    
Manuscript note: 
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005)          
Dixon (2002)          
Wurm (1994)          
Walsh (1981)          
Oates (1975)          
Wurm (1972)          
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966)