AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
Mudburra language
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Mudbura, Mudbara, Mudbera, Mudbra, Mudburra, Moodburra, Mootburra, Madbara, Mulpira (Iliaura name).
O'Grady et al (1966)
Mudbara, Mudburra, Moodburra, Mootburra
Other sources
Mudburra, Mudbura, Mutpura, Mutpura; Madbara, Moodburra, Mootburra, Mudbara, Mudbera, Mulpira, Mudbura; Moodburra, Mudbra, Mutburra, Mudburra; Mudbura, Madbara, Mutpurra

McConvell (2006 p.c.) distinguishes three dialects of Mudburra: Eastern Mudburra C31, Western Mudburra C36, and Kuwarranyji C35; Karranga C33 is also a possible dialect of Mudburra. See also Pinkangarna C21.


  • Green, Rebecca, Jennifer Green, Amanda Hamilton-Hollaway, Felicity Meakins, David Osgarby, Rob Pensalfini, Pharlap Dixon, et al. 2019. Mudburra to English Dictionary. Canberra, A.C.T: Aboriginal Studies Press.
  • Sutton, Peter. 1995. Country: Aboriginal boundaries and land ownership in Australia. Canberra: Aboriginal History Inc.
  • 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: 

... as we moved north they were increasingly mixed with sites of dual Mudbura/Jingili identity, particularly along Newcastle Creek and Bucket Creek. Only in an area north and north-west from Newcastle Waters homestead were there sites that were linguistically identified as Mudbura only (Sutton 1995:106). Armstrong River and upper Victoria River junction (n.n. ['Tjambutjambulani]), southeast of Pigeon Hole Station; south to Cattle Creek; west to the Camfield River and eastward almost to Newcastle Waters; north to Top Springs. Dwellers in the dense scrub country near and west of the place ['Murandjai] on the so-called Murranji Track (Tindale 1974).

Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981): 

Tjupany (A31 ) in Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981).


Names of the language and different spellings that have been used:
Moodburra (RLS), Mootburra (Terry), Mudbara (T), Mudbura (AC, SAW, O'G, RLS, AIAS), Mutburra (Ray)
Possible dialects:
1. Kwaranga (Chadwick), Kwarandji (T)
2. Pinkangarna
Bin-Gongina (RLS), Bingongina (T), Pinkangana (Chakravarti), Pinkangarna (McConvell, Nash)
Virtually nothing is known of Pinkangarna.
Classification of the language:
Northern Western Desert type, Ngumbin subgroup
Identification codes:
Oates '73: 59.1 (Pinkangarna, 1 Cr.)
AIAS: C25 (Pinkangarna, C21)
Capell: C19 (Pinkangarna, C8)
Present number and distribution of speakers:
Elliott, Wave Hill, Katherine.
No remaining speakers of Pinkangarna.
Milliken, 1972 -- 280
Oates, 1973 -- at least 30 fluent speakers at Elliott, probably 40 or more altogether
Black, 1979 -- 50-250
People who have worked intensively on the language:
None. McConvell, Nash may resume work.
Practical orthography:
None established. Gurindji orthography probably suitable.
Word lists:
Hale, McConvell, Curnow, Leeding, Ray, Nash.
Grammar or sketch grammar:
Sketch: Parrish, 1980
Material available on the language:
Capell, A. 1940. The classification of languages in north and north-west Australia. Oceania 10.3:241-272, 10.4:404-433. tbls. maps. (brief comparative vocabularies, grammatical study,
outline phonetics)
---------- 1940. The languages of North-West Australia. Mankind 2.9:325. (analysis of suffixing languages, discusses Mudbura group centred around Wave Hill)
---------- 1952. The Wailbri through their own eyes. Oceania 23.2:110-132. (brief comparative vocabulary in 6 languages)
---------- 1962. Waljbiri grammar, p.15-50 in Some Linguistic Types in Australia. Handbook of Australian Languages, Part II. Oceania Linguistic Monographs No. 7. Sydney: University of
Sydney. (reprints Capell, 1952)
---------- 1971. Word lists: Gurindji or Mudbura. 4p. SIL. (p10708, AIAS)
Chadwick, Neil 1972. Mathew's Chingalee vocabulary: appraisal and comments. Oceania 42.4:276-282. (commentary on Mathews, 1901 vocabulary of Jingilu; includes some Mudbura words)
---------- 1979. The West Barkly languages: an outline sketch, pp.653-711 in Australian Linguistic Studies, ed. by S.A. Wurm Pacific Linguistics C.54. (includes some Mudbura words)
Curnow, Ann. 1971. Mudbra AIAS word list. 19p. xerox ts. SIL. Hale, Kenneth L. 1959-60. Mutpurra and Tyingilu field notes. 27p. ms., ts. (pMs 3034, AIAS)
Leeding, Velma J. 1971. Word lists: Gurindji or Mudbura. 4p. SIL. (p 10708, AIAS)
---------- 1971. Word lists: Mudbura and Ngarinman. 14p. ts. SIL. (p 10707, AIAS)
McConvell, Patrick. 1974. Mudbura texts: tape transcriptions of field-work. ms. (p 10707, AIAS)
---------- 1975. Mudbura vocabulary and sentences. 324p. ms., xeroxed. Wattie Creek.
---------- 1976. The Aborigines of the northern Tanami area, Northern Territory. 22p. xeroxed ts. Darwin. (AIAS)
---------- 1980. Hierarchical variation in pronominal clitic attachment in the Eastern Ngumbin languages, in Australian Linguistic Studies. Papers in Australian Linguistics No. 13, ed. by S.A. Wurm. Pacific Linguistics A.59 (89p. ts. draft 1976)
Nash, David. 1978. Pinkangarna tape transcription. 1p. ts. (about 30 words said to be of Pinkangarna)
---------- 1980. Mudbura word list and tape transcription ms.
Parrish, Lucy. 1980. Mutpurra sketch grammar. (based on field notes by P. McConvell). 11p. ts. IAD.
---------- 1980. Mutpurra word list. (based on field notes by P. McConvell). 10p. ts. IAD.
Ray, Michael. 1976. Gurintji/Mutburra word list for a two-week survey. 8p. xeroxed ms. SIL.
Spencer, Baldwin & F.J. Gillen. 1904. The Northern Tribes of Central Australia. London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd. Reprinted 1969, Oosterhout, N.B., The Netherlands: Anthropological
Publications. (Bingongina subsection terms)
Sutton, Peter. 1980. (Field notes including material on Mudbura and Kwarandji.)
Terry, Michael. 1926. A surgical operation as performed by the Boonarra tribe of northern Australia, and a short vocabulary of the languages of some northern Australian tribes. Man
26:193-194. pls. (short list of words from Mootburra, Coorinji, Manoo and Boonarra)
Literacy material:

Kathy Menning (comp.) and David Nash (ed.) 1981. © IAD Press

AIATSIS gratefully acknowledges IAD Press for permission to use this material in AUSTLANG.

Patrick McConvell, Adam Kendon, David Nash, Katherine Regional Aboriginal Language Centre, Papulu Apparr-Kari Language Centre
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 Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Text Collection Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Grammar A few articles 1
Audio-visual More than 10 3
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available

Green, Rebecca, Jennifer Green, Amanda Hamilton-Hollaway, Felicity Meakins, David Osgarby, Rob Pensalfini, Pharlap Dixon, et al. 2019. Mudburra to English Dictionary. Canberra, A.C.T: Aboriginal Studies Press.

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Pama-Nyungan South-West Ngumbin Mudbura  
Dixon (2002)   NORTHERN DESERT FRINGE SUBGROUP Edgar Range to Victoria River subgroup* Mudbura Mudbura further dialects: Karranga, Pinkangarna
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan South-West   Mudburra  
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan South-West Ngumbin Mudburra Mudburra [dialects: Karranga, Western (Mudburra), Eastern (Mudburra)]
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Northern Western Desert Type Ngumbin (Eastern Kimberleys) Mudbura  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Southwest (or Nyungic) Ngumbin Mudbura  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Southwest Ngumbin Mudbura