Aboriginal groupings of Western Australia

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An overview of Australian Aboriginal kinship groupings within Western Australia, 1979. Tribal Boundaries map based on Norman Tindale's 1974 map. It was published in Western Australia: An Atlas of Human Endeavour by the state government.[1]

  • Perth Type: Matrilineal moieties and totemic clans. Patrilineal local descent groups. Includes Amangu, Yued, Whadjuk, Binjareb, Wardandi, Ganeang and Wilmen.
  • Nyakinyaki Type: Alternate generational levels similar to Western Desert type, with patrilineal local descent groups. Includes Balardong and Nyakinyaki.
  • Bibelmen type: Patrilineal moieties and patrilineal local descent groups. Includes Bibulmen and Minang.
  • Wudjari type: similar to Nyakinyaki except they have named patrilineal totemic local descent groups.
  • Nyunga type: similar to Wangai with two endogamous named divisions (Bee-eater and King fisher), in which marriage took place within one's own division but children were in the opposite, modified from the Western Desert system. Includes Nyunga.
  • Nganda type:Patrilineal totemic local descent groups, no moieties or sections. Includes Nganda and Nandu.
  • Inggadi-Badimaia gtype: Sections not well defined, Patrilineal totemic local clans grouped into larger divisions. Includes Inggada, Dadei, Malgada, Ngugan, Widi, Badimaia, Wadjari, and Goara.
  • Djalenji-Maia type: Sections corelaed[check spelling] with kin terms, Matrilineal descent groups. Includes Noala, Djalenji, Yinigudira, Baiyungu, Maia, Malgaru, Dargari, Buduna, Guwari, Warianga, Djiwali, Djururu, Nyanu, Bandjima, Inawongga, Gurama, Binigura and Guwari.
  • Nyangamada type: Sections with indirect matrilineal descent, with patrilineal local descent groups. Includes Bailgu, Indjibandji, Mardudunera, Yaburara, Ngaluma, Gareira, Nyamal, Ngala, and Nyangamada.
  • Galamaia-Gelago type: Like Nyunga, but practising circumcision. Includes Galamaia, Ngurlu, Maduwongga, and Gelago.
  • Mirning Type: Patrilineal local totemic descent groups, No moieties or sections. Similar to the Western Desert type. Includes Ngadjunmaia, Mirning.
  • Kimberley peoples - in the Kimberley region - speaking a variety of languages and affected from the 1870s onwards, represented today by the Kimberley Land Council.
  • Garadjeri type: As for Nyangamada. Includes Garadjeri, Mangala, Yaoro, Djungun, Ngombal, Djaberadjabera, and Nyulnyul.
  • Bardi type. Patrilineal local descent groups, no moieties or sections. Includes Warwar, Nimanburu, Ongarang, Djaul Djaui.
  • Ungarinyin type: Patrilineal. Includes Umedi, Wungemi, Worora, Wunumbul
  • Ngaanyatjarra - occupying the Central Desert region - and being much less affected than the other Aboriginal groups of Western Australia.


  1. ^ N.T. Jarvis (Ed) Western Australia: An Altlas of Human Endeavour 1829-1979. Education Committee, WAY 79. Education Department of Western Australia. 1979: Page 32.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bates, Daisy (1985) The native tribes of Western Australia (edited by Isobel White). Canberra : National Library of Australia. ISBN 0-642-99333-5
  • Davidson, Daniel Sutherland, (1938) An ethnic map of Australia Philadelphia : American Philosophical Society. p. 649-679 Reprint of Philadelphia : Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 79, no. 4, 1938. and A preliminary register of Australian tribes and hordes, by D.S. Davidson. Philadelphia (Pa.), 1938. Published by the American Philosophical Society.
  • Douglas, Wilfrid H. The Aboriginal Languages of the South-West of Australia, Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, 1976. ISBN 0-85575-050-2
  • Green, Neville, Broken spears: Aborigines and Europeans in the Southwest of Australia, Perth: Focus Focus Education Services, 1984. ISBN 0-9591828-1-0
  • Haebich, Anna, For Their Own Good: Aborigines and Government in the South West of Western Australia 1900 - 1940, Nedlands: University of Western Australia Press, 1992. ISBN 1-875560-14-9.
  • Tindale, Norman B. (1974) Aboriginal tribes of Australia : their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits, and proper names (with an appendix on Tasmanian tribes by Rhys Jones). Canberra : Australian National University Press. ISBN 0-7081-0741-9

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