From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Kaurareg people
aka: Kaurarega, Kowrarega, Kauralaig, Kauraleg, Kororega, Korariga, Kauralaigna, Malulaig, Muralug (name of part of Prince of Wales Island), Kokkaiya (group on Yorke Island), Alkaiyana (people of "inside" Turtle Islands), Koiyana (people of "outside" islands), and Muralag (AIATSIS), nd (SIL)[1]
A map of the Torres Strait Islands, with the Kaurareg traditional country located in the middle band of islands
Language family: Pama–Nyungan
Language branch: Mabuiag
Language group: Western Mabuiag
Group dialects: Kalaw Lagaw Ya[2]
Bioregion: Cape York Peninsula
Location: Torres Strait Islands, Far North Queensland, Australia
Coordinates: 10°41′02″S 142°11′06″E / 10.684°S 142.185°E / -10.684; 142.185Coordinates: 10°41′02″S 142°11′06″E / 10.684°S 142.185°E / -10.684; 142.185
Notable individuals

The Kaurareg (alt. Kauraraiga), also the Kauraraigalai, in the modern dialect Kaiwaligal (singular form Kauraraiga, modern dialect Kaiwalaig), are an indigenous Australian group of Torres Strait Islander people who are united by a common language, strong ties of kinship and survived as skilled hunter–fisher–gatherers in family groups or clans living on a number of inner Torres Strait Islands. They are descendants of indigenous Australians who had either settled some 3,000 years ago in Torres Strait, or remnants of pre-Ice Age Australian-Papuans, or both, who had intermarried with Papuo-Austronesian settlers who colonised Torres Strait around 2,800 years ago.

Traditional lands and practices[edit]

The Kaurareg distinguish at least six kinds of tide. Knowing where to hunt and fish, and in which kinds of currents, allows the Kaurareg access to a wide range of seafood. A strong ethic of sustainability means that over-hunting is punished. Kaurareg marine lore teaches "one can only fish successfully when one is hungry".[3]

The story of these people was featured in the SBS television program Living Black.[4]


The Kaurareg speak a dialect of Kalaw Lagaw Ya, an isolate in the Pama–Nyungan family.[2]

United Isles of Kaiwalagal[edit]

In May 1996, the Kaurareg people lodged five native title claims over parts of the following islands:[5]

  • Muralag (Prince of Wales Island)
  • Nurupai (Horn Island)
  • Tarilag (Packe Island)
  • Damaralag (Dumuralug Islet)
  • Mipa (Pipa Islet, also known as Turtle Island)
  • Yeta (Port Lihou Island)
  • Zuna (Entrance Island)

Administered by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and the Torres Strait Regional Authority, the Kaurareg declared their independence from Australia in 2002,[6] after regaining native title over their ancestral land. They call their lands the United Isles of Kaiwalagal.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dousset, Laurent (2005). "Kaurareg". AusAnthrop Australian Aboriginal tribal database. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Language information: Kala Lagaw Ya". Australian Indigenous Languages Database. AIATSIS. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "Customary law and lore of the coast". Coastal and Marine Studies in Australia - Module 14. Marine Education Society of Australasia. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Clarke, Allan. "Kaurareg". Living Black. SBS Television. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  5. ^ The Kaurareg People’s native title determinations: Questions and answers (PDF). National Native Title Tribunal. 2001. p. 1. ISBN 0 642 26208 X. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Separatist moves in Torres Strait". Radio Australia. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Kaurareg People Declare Independence from Australia". Cultural Survival, Inc. 2002. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 

Further reading[edit]