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The Wiradjuri are an Aboriginal tribe made up of a number of Aboriginal clans in central New South Wales , Australia. Most Wiradjuri clans have lived in the towns of Condobolin , Peak Hill , Narrandera and Griffith since the 21st century . Other significant populations are found in Wagga Wagga and Leeton and smaller groups in West Wyalong , Parkes , Forbes , Cootamundra , Cowra and Young .


The Wiradjuri are the largest Aboriginal tribe in New South Wales. Before the British colonization they inhabited an area of ​​about 60,000 square kilometers in this Australian state, which stretched from the Blue Mountains in the east to Hay in the west, in the north to Nyngan and in the south to Albury . Your country is called either South West Slopes, Central and Southern Tablelands, Capital Country, and Riverina . The Wiradjuri have lived in this area for 40,000 years.

The Wiradjuri tribal area is referred to by them as the land of the three rivers. These are the Wambool River, later renamed Macquarie , the Kalare, now called Lachlan , and the Murrumbidjeri, today's Murrumbidgee . The Murray River formed the southern border that goes from woodland to open grassland and extends to the eastern border.

The land occupation by the Wiradjuri can be traced through the carved trees and their campsites. Scattered trees are mostly found on the Macquarie River and Lachlan River in the north and less on the Murrumbidgee in the south. Campsites were continuously occupied by small groups seasonally and were set up on river plains, in flat land and on rivers.

Norman Tindale quotes Alfred Howitt , who mentions some of the local groups of the tribe, for example the Narrandera (prickly lizards), Cootamundra (Kuta-mundra) Kutamun turtles, Murranbulla or Murring-bulle (maring-bula, two bark canoes (German: two Canoes made of bark)). Their dialects were different in some areas, particularly around Bathurst and near Albury. The Wiradjuri can be recognized by the fact that they form a cohesive group that hold a cycle of ceremonies and form a ring. This cycle of ceremonies forms the context of the Wiradjuri clans, which are scattered over a wide area.


In the summer, the Wiradjuri fed on crayfish and fish in the river, such as the Murray cod , a species of cod. During periods of drought, they ate kangaroos , emus, and food that they gathered around the land, including fruits, nuts, yams , roots, and tubers. The Wiradjuri traveled to alpine areas of Australia in the summer to eat the cute caterpillars of the Bogong butterfly .

Wiradjuri languages

The Wiradjuri language was extinct in everyday life, but it was reconstructed by one of the early Europeans, an anthropologist , reports Stan Grant, an elder of the Wiradjuri, a member of the Wiradjuri Elderly Council and also John Rudder , who researched Aboriginal languages in Arnhem Land . It is part of the small Wiradhuric language of the Pama-Nyungan language family. The name of the city Wagga Wagga comes from the Wiradjuri word Wagga, which means crow; to speak of the plural of crows repeat the word and Wagga Wagga means "place of many crows".

European settlement

The clashes between European settlers and Aborigines were violent from 1821 to 1827, particularly around Bathurst. The loss of fishing grounds and other important areas, the killings of Aborigines was answered with attacks with spears on cattle and drovers. There was still some fighting in the Mudgee area in the 1850s . European settlement continued and the Aboriginal population declined.


The Wiradjuri call themselves Wirraaydhuurray and differentiate between northern and southern pronunciations of their own names. The name is derived from wirraay and means "no" or "not", and its suffix -dhuurray or -juuray means "have". The Wiradjuri saying wirraay was considered a characteristic of their language and some other Aboriginal tribes in New South Wales to the west of the Great Dividing Range . They were also named after their own word for "no".

The name is spelled in 60 different ways, for example: Waradgeri , Warandgeri , Waradajhi , Werogery , Wiiratheri , Wira-Athoree , Wiradjuri , Wiradhuri , Wiradhurri , Wiraduri , Wiradyuri , Wiraiarai , Wiraidyuri , Wirairai'yarra , Wirashuri , Wiratheri , Wirracharee , Wirracharee ' , Wirrathuri , Wooragurie .

Wiradjuri culture in literature

The short story Death in the Dawntime , which was published in book form, happened among the Wiradjuri before the Europeans came to Australia. It contains significant features of the Wiradjuri folklore and tradition, such as the Ngurupal . This is a ritual in the Waradjuri tribal land that can only take place at a meeting place of female Wiradjuri who have previously been initiated as men. The place is forbidden to women and uninitiated women. Some of the dialogues in this story are in the Wiradjuri language. "Death in the Dawntime" was written by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre , a British author who spent years in the Australian outback and came into contact with Aboriginal cultures.

In the novels Bryce Courtenay and Jessica , the plot revolves around Wiradjuris. Jessica's best friend is from the Wiradjuri.

Major Wiradjuri

Individual evidence

  1. Wiradjuri (NSW) ( Memento from July 20, 2005 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Wirajuri Country ( Memento from November 19, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  3. THE WIRADJURI PEOPLE ( Memento from July 29, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  4. AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM'S ABORIGINAL COLLECTIONS: WIRADJURI ( Memento of September 13, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  5. Macquarie Aboriginal Words (1994): Macquarie Library, pp. 24, 79-80.

Web links