From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Ngarluma are an Indigenous Australian people of the western Pilbara area of northwest Australia. They are coastal dwellers of the area around Roebourne and Karratha inland to the Millstream-Chichester National Park.


The Ngarluma language belongs to the Ngayarda branch of the Pama-Nyungan family. It is a highly inflected suffixing language, with, unusually, a Nominative-Accusative case-marking system, with verbs inflected for Tense, Aspect and Mood.[1][2] The Ngarluma on contact with whites and distant tribes appeared to have reserved their grammatically complex language for conversations among themselves while adopting a simplified version when interacting with strangers.[1]

There are an estimated 20 full speakers most of grandparent age, and a shift appears to be underway towards to the adoption of Yindjibarndi[3]


It would appear that the Ngarluma adapted quickly to the developing pearling industry along the northwest coast, perhaps travelling down to get work at Cossack 300 miles south. This hypothesis is based on the fact that the vocabulary list provided to a priest in 1875 by two Dalmatian Italian shipwreck survivors, Michele Bacich and Giovanni Iurich, after they returned to Italy, appears to be a creole with a strong but simplified component of Ngarluma. It is thought that they were extended hospitality for 3 months by the Yinikutira people who had picked up the creole from indentured Ngarluma labourers in the pearling industry.[1]

Kinship system[edit]

The Ngarluma people have a four group skin system.


Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Meakins 2014, p. 369.
  2. ^ McConvell & Simpson 2012, p. 162.
  3. ^ Dixon & Deek 2010, p. 122.