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William Blandowski's 1857 depiction of Jarijari (Nyeri Nyeri) people including men hunting, women cooking and children playing near Merbein, Victoria. A form of kick and catch football is apparently being played in the background.[1]

Jarijari (also referred to as the Jari Jari, Nyeri Nyeri, Yarree Yarree, Yarie Yarie, Yairy Yairy or Yari) were a historically significant Indigenous Australian people whose traditional territory was located in the Mallee region of Victoria. Their territorial area covered approximately 4,900km2 from the western bank of the Murray River near the present city of Mildura, centred on the present town of Ouyen and extending south to the present town Hopetown.[2] The tribe were one of two tribes speaking the now extinct Keramin language,[3] though there is some confusion over names.[4]

Jarijari was the tribe's word for "no". It was used to name the tribe because of the frequency of its use in the language.[5]

Traditional Lands[edit]

Tindale notes that the Jari Jari traditional lands were from "Western bank of Murray River from above Chalka Creek to Annuello; south to Lake Korong (Hopetoun) and Pine Plains; northwest to near Redcliffs."[6]

Neighbouring tribes were the Wergaia language group tribes to the south, the Latjilatji to the west and the Dadi Dadi to the east. Accounts of the life of the Jari Jari people were some of the most early documented by explorers and early settlers of the Murray Darling basin.

Map including JariJari territory (in yellow) at the north west


The Jarijari appear to have been in the Murray River valley for at least 40000years.

Major Thomas Mitchell passed through the tribe's territory between June 2 and June 10, 1836, during his Third Expedition. He encountered the remains of a large camp of up to 400 natives with temporary structures. In his journals he writes of having heard and being pursued by local natives, however he appears to have not encountered them directly.[7]

The Blandowski Expedition (1856-1857) was one of the first documented European encounters with the people. Blandowski engaged the local people to document local species and included in his journals the used by the people for two local species of fish - the Murray cod and Trout cod, “Yaturr” and “Barnta”.[8] Blandowski described the Yarree as his "good friends".[9] Notably one of William Blandowski's 1857 illustrations depicted traditional Jari Jari recreation. Blandowski and later Peter Beveridge, in his 1889 account "The Aborigines of Victoria and Riverina" recorded some of the tribe's dreamtime beliefs.[10]

A local Mildura newspaper reports that the last of the tribe, John Mack, died in June, 1918.[11]


  1. ^ (From William Blandowski's Australien in 142 Photographischen Abbildungen, 1857, (Haddon Library, Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge)
  2. ^ Tindale, NB. Aboriginal Tribes of Australia. 1974
  3. ^ "Mediation and agreement making services" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 22, 2012. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Austlang". Austlang.aiatsis.gov.au. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  5. ^ "Murray River Indigenous Culture". Murrayriver.com.au. 2013-08-31. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  6. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20080724164710/http://www.samuseum.australia.sa.com/tindaletribes/jarijari.htm
  7. ^ "Blog Archive » 2 – 20 June". Major Mitchell Expedition. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  8. ^ "Tale of Two Cod (chapters 5-7)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 13, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Blandowski's expedition to the Murray, 1857" (PDF). Museumvictoria.com.au. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  10. ^ Beveridge, Peter, (1889) The Aborigines of Victoria and Riverina: as seen by Peter Beveridge. Melbourne
  11. ^ pg 10. The Mildura Cultivator. 15 June 1918