Dharumbal language

The Dharumbal language is spoken in the Rockhampton region of Central Queensland.

The following Dharumbal 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 Dharumbal language body chart  (PDF 258.0 KB)

English Dharumbal
Ankle wul
Arm marra
Belly banna
Belly button guana
Blood guma
Body gabal
Bone rillu
Bottom bunthi and mulla
Chest ngamba
Chin anu
Ears binang
Elbow gulgul
Eyebrow dinan
Eyes dili
Face wutha
Feet/foot dina
Fingers balngnan
Forehead yali
Hair manam
Hand malla
Head ngatha
Heart dalgu
Hip yuli
Kidney rindu
Knee bikal
Leg dumu and gal
Lip munu
Liver gipa
Mouth dangga
Neck bimbi
Nose nunta
Nostril yuna
Shoulders nirrgal
Skin nhuman
Teeth yira
Thigh dharha
Thumb murrgin
Toes dalgayu
Tongue dalang
Wrist dandha

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. The following provides details on additional sources of information regarding the Dharumbal language.

References and Further Reading

Selection of resources on Dharumbal language available through State Library; some of these may also be available in your local Library.

Curr, E. M. (1887) The Australian Race: its origins, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia and the routes by which it spread itself over that continent. Melbourne: John Ferres Government Printer. RBF 572.994 cur
Holmer, N. (1983) Linguistic Survey of South-Eastern Queensland. Canberra: Australian National University. J 499.15 HOL
Holmer, N. (1988) Notes on Some Queensland Languages. Canberra: Australian National University. J 499.15 HOL
Howitt, A.W. (reprint) (1996) The Native Tribes of South-East Australia. Canberra: Australian Studies Press. [Available online through SLQ]
Huf, L. & McDonald, L. (1993) Sin, sweat and sorrow: the making of Capricornia Queensland, 1840s-1940s. Rockhampton: University of Central Queensland Press. GSB 994.35 1993
Richardson, N. (1982) The Fitzroy River region: guide to anthropological and archaeological research. Brisbane: Department of Aboriginal and Islanders Advancement, Archaeology Branch. S 994 016
Ridley, W. (1866) Kamilaroi, Dippil and Turrabul: languages spoken by Australian Aborigines. Sydney: Government Printer. RBJ 499.15 rid
Roth, W. (1898) The Aborigines of the Rockhampton and surrounding coast districts. Cooktown: Queensland Home Secretary’s Department, Office of the Northern Protector of Aboriginals. Microfilm. FILM 0714
Terrill, A. (2002) Dharumbal: the language of Rockhampton, Australia: Pacific Linguistics 525. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. J 499.15 TER
Thozet, A. (1866) Notes on some of the roots, tubers, bulbs, and fruits used as vegetable food by the Aboriginals of northern Queensland, Australia. Rockhampton: A Thozet. [Available online through SLQ]
Ulm, S. (2006) Coastal themes: an archaeology of the Southern Curtis Coast, Queensland. Canberra: ANU Press. G 994.01 2006

Community Organisations

There are several local Aboriginal Community organisations working with language and cultural heritage in the Dharumbal language region, including the following:

  • DARUMBAL PEOPLE ABORIGINAL CORPORATION RNTBC (DPAC) 133 Dee Street North Rockhampton Qld, 4701
    t (07) 49 213324, f (07) 49 267 457, Email: darumbal.enterprises@bigpond.com
  • Nicky’s Cultural Services (Darumbal Elders & Darumbal Language Keeper) C/o 133 Dee Street North Rockhampton QLD 4701
    email: nicky.hatfield@bigpond.com

Language Centre

This centre supports language activities in Central Queensland from Rockhampton to Maryborough and west to Longreach and the NT border.

  • Central Queensland Language Centre, Gidjarjil Aboriginal Development Corporation Ltd, 53 Walker Street [PO Box 2773], Bundaberg. Q 4670
    t: (07) 4130 7700 e: cqlanguage.centre@gidarjil.com.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

SLQ Indigenous Languages Webpages
SLQ Indigenous Languages Blog

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