Butchulla language

The Butchulla language is spoken in the Hervey Bay region inland towards Maryborough and Mt Bauple; as well as along the Fraser Coast, including Fraser Island. Butchulla was also documented as Badjala, Badjela, Badtala, Batyala, etc.

The following Butchulla language words are included on the Gambara Gamu Biyu body chart poster – use the language pen to hear and practise saying the words.

Aboriginal sounds

In pronouncing Aboriginal words, there are some sounds which are quite different to English and require practice.

'dh' is different to English - it is pronounced with the tongue at back of teeth.

'dj' is similar to English - it can be between ‘j’ and ‘ch’.

'ng' is one sound in Aboriginal languages and is different to the 'n' sound in English - it is closest to the 'ng' sound found in singer.

'nh' is different to English - it is pronounced with the tongue at back of teeth.

'ny' is one sound in Aboriginal languages and is different - it is closest to the 'n' sound found in onion.

'rr' is a rolled 'r' sound similar to a Scottish 'r'; at the end of a word it may sound like ‘d’.

Download the Butchulla language body chart  (PDF 197.4 KB)

English Butchulla
Arm gining
Belly boo-loo
Blood gakki
Bottom gundar
Chin yikkal
Ears binang
Elbow gundi
Eyes miil
Feet/foot djinang
Fingers bi
Hair dala
Hand biri
Head gam
Hip ganim
Knee djeemee or burruu
Leg djerang
Lip/s dhambur
Liver gunang
Mouth djang’ga
Neck ganna
Nose mooroo
Shoulders waalil
Skin gubar
Teeth nyiling
Thigh djerang
Toes birri-dhinang
Tongue djunam

Learn more about Butchulla!

ABC Open has a Butchulla lullaby sung by Joy Bonner: https://open.abc.net.au/posts/butchulla-lullaby-34kf2hh

For items in the State Library collections relating to Butchulla, click here.

Further information

To discover more about the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander languages on the Body Chart, contact your local Library or Indigenous Knowledge Centre.

Language Centre

Korrawinga Aboriginal Corporation is a community organisation based in Hervey Bay that works with Butchulla language. Current language projects including music, songs, stories and dance relating to Butchulla Nation as well as related languages and dialects. The State Library holds many of these products in their collections as well as Virtual Books in Butchulla language.

Korrawinga has also extended their projects through partnerships with local organisations, e.g. University of Southern Queensland as well as promoting Butchulla language learning through the local newspaper (Fraser Coast Chronicle).
A recent initiative has been Butchulla Ambassadors who promote Butchulla language and culture in the community as well as conduct Welcome to Country and traditional games activities in schools.

  • Korrawinga Aboriginal Corporation (Hervey Bay) 347 Scrub Hill Road Pialba 4655 Phone:  (07) 4124 6908 Email: korra@bigpond.net.au

State Library of Queensland

For further information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages at the State Library of Queensland, please contact:
kuril dhagun, State Library of Queensland
Stanley Place, South Brisbane Qld. 4101.
PO Box 3488, South Brisbane Qld. 4101.
t: (07) 3842 9836            f:   (07) 3842 9893

Library membership

Become an SLQ member now to access our services, collections and facilities.

Library Shop online

Discover an eclectic range of books, gifts, reproduction prints and more at the Library Shop.