Gia people

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The Gia were an indigenous Australian tribe of the state of Queensland. Some doubt exists as to their distinct identity, and little is known of them.


The Gia spoke Giya/Bumbarra, which, along with Ngaro, belonging to the Proserpine subgroup of the Great Maric Languages.[1]


According to Norman Tindale, the Gia's lands extended over some 1,600 square miles (4,100 km2) of land from Bowen to St. Helens and Mount Dalrymple.Inland they reached the Clarke Range. They were present at Proserpine, Gloucester Island, and Repulse Bay.[2] The Yuibera people lay to their south.

Earliest description[edit]

In response to inquiries made by Edward Micklethwaite Curr, Sergeant B. Shea, a resident of the Gia area, provided a sketch of the natives of his district.[3] He identified them as the Bumbarra tribes. He provided the names of the tribal divisions: those applying to men were Karilla and Whychaka, while women belonged either to the Denterbago or Helmerago, Marriage was contracted when girls reached the age of 12.[4]

Some doubts[edit]

Tindale registered this as a distinct tribe, directly south of Port Denison but this has been questioned.[5]

Alternative names[edit]

  • Kia.
  • Bumbara,[a] Bumbarra.

Some words[edit]

  • wina. (fish)
  • pigina. (mosquito)
  • kroopulla. (fly)
  • worniwoma. (black woman)
  • yaboo. (father)
  • yanga. (mother)
  • koloona. (young man)
  • kutha. (old man)
  • kummi.(old woman)
  • korea.(head)
  • dilli. (eye)
  • wolloo. (ear).[4]
  • dongalla. (excrement)
  • nikkana. (food)
  • kangoola. (thirsty).
  • wangalla.(boomerang)[6]


  1. ^ Bumbara is a toponym, and Tindale thought it might refer to a horde of the Gia people[2]


  1. ^ Dixon 2002, p. xxxiii.
  2. ^ a b Tindale 1974, p. 168.
  3. ^ Shea 1887, pp. 4–7.
  4. ^ a b Shea 1887, p. 4.
  5. ^ Barker 1995, pp. 29–30.
  6. ^ Shea 1887, p. 7.


  • Barker, Bryce (1995). The Sea People: Maritime Hunter-gatherers on the Tropical Coast: a Late Holocene Maritime Specialisation in the Whitsunday Islands, Central Queensland. Pandanus Books.
  • Davidson, Daniel Sutherland (1938). "A preliminary register of Australian tribes and hordes". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 79 (4): 649–679.
  • Dixon, Robert M. W. (2002). Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development. 1. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-47378-1.
  • Shea, B. (1887). "From port Denison to Cape Gloucester" (PDF). In Curr, Edward Micklethwaite (ed.). The Australian race: its origin, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia and the routes by which it spread itself over the continent. 3. Melbourne: J. Ferres. pp. 4–7.
  • Tindale, Norman Barnett (1974). "Gia (QLD)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names. Australian National University Press.