Gugu-Badhun (Y128) has been classified as a member of the 'Upper Burdekin group' along with Warrungu Y133 and Gudjal E60 (Sutton, 1973 in Breen 2009:243). Sutton speculates the meaning of the language name is something like 'proper speech', based on the word /gugu/ 'speech' and cognates in Djirbal Y123 /badjun/ 'proper' and in Guugu-Yimidhir Y82 /budun/ 'very' (1973:15).
It is believed that the Gugu-badhun flourished in areas ranging from the west of Ingham and Abergowrie almost to Einasleigh, with a concentration around the Valley of Lagoons area north west of Townsville (Gugu-badhun language CD ROM). The Gugu-Badhun inhabited the upper Burdekin (on both sides of the river), north to Meadowbank, Glenharding and Wairuna Stations, where they had their border with the Warungu. Their southern border was the Clark River, about where it joins the Burdekin. There they met the Gudjal (also known as Gur(i)djal). These three tribes, running north to south, formed something of a unity. On the west the Gugu-Badhun met the Agwamin (north-west), the Wamin (due west) and possibly the Mbara (south-west), along the Great Diving Range... On the east they met the Njawaygi, probably just west of the mountain range that separates the dry country of the inland from the wet forests of the coast (the Seaview Range). They may have met the Wulguru or Bindal in the south east about the Star River, but it is likely their territory did not go further than Ewan in that direction, where they probably met the Gudjal (Sutton 1973:14-15).
A Gugu-badhun language CD ROM is produced in 2005.
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).
Sutton, Peter. 1973. Gugu-Badhun and its neighbours: a linguistic salvage study, Macquarie University: MA.